Engagement or Community?

“Traditional media is produced for consumption. Today’s media is produced for engagement.” – Jason Falls

One step further… (subscribe to Mitch Joel’s blog here – this is a MUST)

“If I blog, then you comment and I respond, that’s not community. That’s engagement. If I blog, then you comment and them someone else responds to you, those are the first indicators that a community may actually be forming.” – Mitch Joel

Engagement is the first step.

Start a blog. Create a Twitter account. Join conversations with relevant people via a LinkedIn group.

Note: Engagement requires two way conversation. Walls and blogs should allow for comments. You decide on how to moderate these. Pumping out content without dialog won’t get far in social media. Unless you are famous, you will not be successful.

Building an online community is the final objective.

My first taste of the Twitter community. Was asked to buy a substantial gift for a client in a different country. The instructions said “no flowers, no chocolates, no gift baskets….”.

I posed the question in Twitter and had three excellent responses in five minutes. Tickets to an amazing show coming to town, gift certificate to a highly coveted eight course dinner, and a tour in a nearby winery.

I did a little research and chose the tickets. The client loved them. It’s important to note you must have a relevant community for this to work.

It takes time. You must be in it for the long haul to inspire community.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a community of people you trust online? How did you do it?

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  • Nancy Myrland

    Good post Samantha. The engagement part is absolutely key to using Social Media. People who don't engage, discuss, listen and interact don't understand the ability to connect until they do it themselves. Another key is patience. None of this happens overnight, much like any networking we've all been doing in the past. Relationships and trust take time. Have a good week!

  • Samantha Collier

    Thank you for your comments Nancy. Social Media definitely takes patience and persistence. Wishing you a happy vacation in Florida.

  • Nancy Myrland

    Thanks Samantha!

  • Urs.E.Gattiker – @ComMetrics

    Samantha

    While I can easily agree with a blog comment being engagement, claiming that a reply to a comment by another reader means the beginning of a community … gets me to pause.

    For me a good example of a community is the local church. Besides being a member of the association and having the same religious beliefs, as members we may also have somewhat similar values and interests.

    However, I am not sure if a reader's reply to another reader's comment made on a blog post can be the start of people forming a virtual community.

    Does that mean they share similar values and beliefs? This could be a one-off event, whereby the people's virtual paths crossed each other. But they may never cross again.

    I would, however, agree that it represents a higher level of engagement…. than just a single comment.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Samantha Collier

    Good Point Urs,

    I don't think one comment on a blog would be defined as "community".

    When the people that comment interact with each other, and provide many comments over time over different posts, that resembles community to me.

    Good examples of community are Spin Sucks authored by Gini Dietrich and others: http://www.spinsucks.com/. Or Mitch Joel's blog: http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/the-bigger-marketing-shift/

    They both have loyal followers who interact with each other and Gini & Mitch both respond personally to almost every comment. Their community shares a common passion and provide differing opinions, thoughts, etc.

    It will never be a community in the "local church" sense but comes pretty close in the online world.

  • Heidi Cohen

    Samantha–Good conversation. Social media enables engagement which is a first step towards building relationships. It doesn't equal community. It's important to remember social media's 90% lurk, 9% comment and 1% create rule. Therefore people may not comment. This doesn't mean that they may not become members. Just as your local church has members who don't actively participate but are associated with it. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Mark C. Robins

    Sam,
    I wonder are we trying too hard to make traditional explanations fit the new "Wired" Social groups?

  • Samantha Collier

    Heidi,

    Excellent insight re: social media rules. Great blog by the way. Just added it to my RSS reader.

    Mark,

    You nailed it here. The definitions are definitely different.

  • Samantha Collier

    Heidi,

    I especially like this title "Twitter Bait" on your blog. Very catchy title. I need to learn how to create better titles. http://heidicohen.com/how-to-create-twitter-bait/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed

  • Jayme Soulati

    There's no better community-maker on the social marketing scene than Mark Schaefer at {grow}. He is @markwschaefer. I've followed him since day one on Twitter and watched his blog "grow" with an engaged community globally. It's beyond post/comment, it's actually an intelligent place waxing on strategic topics.

    In fact, I've capitalized on Mark's community by making tweeps of my own directly from {grow} and founded The SMB Collective. All of us involved come from relationships I've made via Mark's blog/community.

  • Samantha Collier

    Thanks for the great example Jayme. Just subscribed to your blog as well.

  • Gini Dietrich

    Thanks Sam…and great insight, Urs! At Spin Sucks, we've always had a highly engaged community, but just recently people who comment have just begun drawing people from their own networks into the conversation on the blog. It's pretty interesting to watch. Sometimes there is a string of conversation (yesterday, for example, on the community secret sauce) that doesn't include me, as the author, at all. They're talking to one another and THAT is community.

  • Urs E. Gattiker — @ComMetrics

    Great comments on this blog post.

    I cannot respond to all these insightful remarks:

    Heidi: 90% lurk, 9% comment and 1% create rule.
    I changed this rule to:

    ===> 900-98-1.5-0.5 rule – 900 do not see it, 98 read it, 1.5 share (e.g., Facebook or Twitter) and hopefully .5 write a comment out of 1,000 people 🙂

    ===> http://commetrics.com/?p=9144

    PS. In the last six months I have seen a decrease in sharing and commenting (besides 1 or 2 lines) on several of our own as well as competitors' platforms….. are people inundated with info or getting tired?

    Gini: I see a corporate blog as a great tool to foster engagement between clients and the company. So while clients commenting and discussing with each other is GREAT, I also need to engage with our clients, don't I? I am pretty certain we both agree on this.
    Yes of course, consumer brands versus industrial brands is different.

    Jayme and Mark: No we do not have to fit the virtual to the traditional things per se. But to make it easier for us to communicate it might be beneficial to agree on a defintion if we can. In turn, if you use the word 'community' or bread I know what you mean. And yes, there are different types of communities and baked breds…

    Semantha: I think we are talking about various types of networks with strong vs. weak ties that people develop whilst commenting on each other's work as I have defined here:

    ===> http://commetrics.com/?p=7824

    One has to categorize one's social networks and hope that from commenting and replying to each other on a blog or in a discussion thread like this, eventually a closer relationship develops (e.g., e-mail, phone, etc.)

    For me being a member of a society (e.g., association of…. ) means I am part of a community. And even a group on LinkedIn or Xing ( https://www.xing.com/net/smmetrics ) may result in a type of community where we share similar interests (e.g., the topic of the group we joined), values and so forth…. but the social ties amongst most members will be weak:

    ==> http://commetrics.com/?p=864

  • Heidi Cohen

    Samantha–Good conversation. Social media enables engagement which is a first step towards building relationships. It doesn't equal community. It's important to remember social media's 90% lurk, 9% comment and 1% create rule. Therefore people may not comment. This doesn't mean that they may not become members. Just as your local church has members who don't actively participate but are associated with it. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Samantha Collier

    Thanks for the great example Jayme. Just subscribed to your blog as well.