It's Time To Rethink Engagement
Engagement is one of those magical words that we hear a lot about.
There are hundreds of blogs about it, white papers written about it and a few books that dissect the life out of it.
I’ve never been one to shy away from talking about it myself because it is something that you want to achieve.
Engagement is a beautiful thing, but it’s not the goal or the measurement you need.
A couple of things got me to thinking more about engagement lately.
One of the email responses from my post about the lip sync challenge… “I disagree completely with your view about the Lip Sync Challenge. It created a lot of engagement for us.”
A comment shared at the IACP Conference… “The goal of your social media is to create engagement.”
Way back in 1998, I asked Mrs. Burrows to be my wife. She said yes and with that, we began our engagement. Engagement wasn’t the goal of me proposing. A long happy life together was, and still is.
But prior to the engagement several things had to happen.
First and foremost we had to meet and we both had to have the same thought in mind.
We had to be open to starting a relationship and getting to know each other better. We had to take an interest in one another. We learned to trust each other. Our relationship didn’t start with engagement and it didn’t stop with engagement.
"Your community is looking to take an interest in you and you need to be taking an interest in them."
You need to pour into your community and provide them with the belief that they can trust you.
Maybe they get closer to you through your good use of humor. You’re always looking out for them and you put their needs ahead of your own.
If I spent all my time talking about myself when I was building a relationship with Mrs. Burrows, I’m pretty sure she would have stopped being interested in me and our engagement would have never happened.
I’m sure if I ignored people that asked me a question or pointed out a mistake I was making she would have thought, “What a jerk” or “I wonder when he’ll start ignoring me?”
When we had issues come up that were not good for one of us, we shared our concern and added information and data to support our stance.
I spent too much money… she showed me that saving was better for me, and her, in the long run. I ate the wrong foods.
She showed me that better food choices would keep me healthier and stronger longer. (That’s been a 20 year process).
She helped change my behavior. Not by ramming it down m throat, but showing that she really cared for my well being and by doing so, showed me that if I would trust her in knowing what was best for me, I would change my behavior for the better of both of us.
We’ve never agreed on everything and probably never will but we agree on enough that both our lives our better for our commitment to each other.
When we don’t agree, we talk about it and we each share our perspective and listen to each other.
We don’t ignore the other person for our differences, but we respect those differences.
Engagement has led to everything else. Better communication, growth together, positive behavior changes and a long lasting relationship that is built on trust.
Social media engagement is great because it can lead to better communication, growing together, positive behavior change and a long lasting relationship.
You show your community that locking their doors, taking their valuables out of the car, paying attention to their surroundings are all better things for them.
They may show you that they need your help controlling aggressive drivers in a school zone or cleaning up a drug problem in their local park.
You help each other out, you build trust.
Why would you ever consider engagement to be the end all and be all. It’s the follow through where the magic of the relationship is.
Engagement is just the beginning of the long term goal.
This idea that what you put out needs to create engagement is completely secondary to making sure what you put out there is building relationships with the people that matter.
Engagement will be a by-product of relationship building and remember the relationship has to start before engagement means anything.
Oh and everything you do will have an impact on the potential for engagement.
Once you have engagement, then the real story beings to take shape.