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Published January 27th 2012

Conversation: What Does Engagement Actually Mean?

This article is about a series of conversations sponsored by Brandwatch, covering all facets of social media. To see a full list of the conversations that have taken place, click here for our archive.

Click here to listen to the conversation.

Engagement is a word that’s tossed around in social media spheres so often that it can be difficult to get a proper grasp on its true meaning anymore.

Its overuse has prompted lots of discussion over its practical usage, and Neil Glassman of WhizBangPowWow has taken the opportunity to talk it over with Sword Ciboodle market strategist, Mitch Lieberman.

In an attempt to nail down a working definition, the two discuss different meanings of the word, specifically by breaking the term into two distinct types: sale/marketing and customer.

The sales engagement techniques are by no means new, but have simply transferred into the online space. This pre-sale engagement has been commonplace for decades, through the use of competitions, surveys and other established engagement practices.

The more novel aspects of sales CRM come after the sale has been made. The customer service opportunities made available by social media are incredible, and Lieberman details how businesses can use this post-sale method of CRM for good effect.

He also describes how customers are engaging with brands. Mitch suggests that fans are not actually engaging with the brand itself, but rather each other; they are interacting with other members of that brand’s community.

Next he goes on to pose the difficulties in remaining both impersonal and engaging, a saddle that many companies struggle to straddle. In order to remain professional, some degree of engagement must be sacrificed, which is why we have witnessed the rise of employee interactions on behalf of companies.

This is an invitation to then discuss ‘employee engagement’, a term that is defined by good old Wikipedia as the following:

“Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organization.

Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole.”

Lieberman and Glassman cover a whole range of topics in this conversation, which spans over 20 minutes in length.

To find out what else they talked about, including whether increased employee engagement leads to better customer engagement, click here to listen to the audio recording of their dialogue.

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