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Engagement (ring)

“Engagement”: Be Friendly Because It’s The Right Thing To Do

Engagement (ring)Common rhetoric about how to succeed on social media/networking includes something about “engagement”. As an example, I had a recent chat with John Lusher on Twitter about an article that included a headline and statements about engaging in order to increase your Twitter connections. Here’s the chat (Click on the time/date in John’s tweet to see the entire thread):

In my heart, I believe that being real with social media friends is the way to go. And I won’t stop doing just that. But my day job requires me to provide data for whatever I say. Well, here’s the data.

I run multiple Twitter ID’s for myself and my clients. I decided to create a completely non-engaged Twitter account as an experiment. It has interacted with other accounts and added “engaged” commentary to shares only a handful of times in three years. But here’s how this account has grown in followers over the past two years.


That’s right: this account currently is approaching 78,000 followers on Twitter. And this is how it’s “influence” has grown during that same period.


Is this a good reason not to be real and interact with your connections on social networks? No. If you go to my main/real account, you’ll see that I engage frequently. But the idea that social networking connections are about engagement does not hold up under the evidence that I can find. There are plenty of celebrities and politicians who have purchased followers. They have a high follower count to show for it. And lots of “unengaged” accounts have plenty of followers, too.

But that is not a reason to stop engaging. Even if the common insight is not backed by lots of data, it’s right. Being friendly and real with the people you connect with is simply the right thing to do. So do it.


6 thoughts on ““Engagement”: Be Friendly Because It’s The Right Thing To Do”

  1. I agree with you, Stan. Engaging really is the right thing to do. I’d add that you usually engage in a positive, encouraging, and/or intelligent way that I enjoy. A lot of people engage in a brief or sarcastic way.

    Also, I’m curious about how you measured influence.

    Good post!

    1. Thanks, Linda! Good point about the sarcasm. We can’t assume that all engagement will be positive.
      The influence measure was by a popular tool. As I’m sure you know, every tool that claims to measure influence comes up with a different calculation. I only used the graph here to offer a relative change over time.
      See you soon!

  2. I’m curious what the subject was of your “non-engaged” Twitter account, and how much strategy was used to grow the account. The way you worded it, it seems like you did retweet/share other people’s tweets/content, which is a form of engagement, just didn’t comment on it. Were you using proactive strategies/tools to find more followers, or growing organically?

    Some brands/celebrities/people are popular enough to build a following with little effort, while some have to prove their relevance, and some just have a much more limited niche audience.

    1. I appreciate your curiosity.
      It was not a single subject account and not a celebrity. About 10 tweets and 10 retweets per day. The only “strategy” was following other Twitter accounts. All organic, but as I said almost no mentions or replies.
      Not zero engagement, but very low. Yet it had about the same growth rate as my own and client accounts with very intentional engagement. And certainly not a scientific study. A curiosity of mine with a somewhat disappointing result.

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