One approach is to lower the bar to engagement.
We’re pretty good at lowering the bar. We lower the bar when we reduce the time and effort to participate. We lower the bar when we ask people to do and think less.
The lower the bar, more people trip over it.
Counting the trips (the clicks, shares, likes, comments, posts, views) won’t help you much.
Google+ dropped the engagement bar so comically low you were considered a member even if you didn’t know it. This didn’t help Google+ much neither.
Here’s the problem:
The highest levels of visible engagement solicit the lowest levels of mental engagement.
Those metrics you’re trying to improve are the same metrics which stop us achieving our huge wins. Visible and valuable engagement become opposites on a continuum of long-term impact. Chase visible engagement and you’ll get short-term results.
It becomes a race to lower the bar before everyone else. It’s the race to the most poorest, crowded, and noisiest places of the web. If you take your audience to this place, you’re going to struggle to get them to engage in anything other than meaningless actions.
If you want to increase customer loyalty, improve collaboration and knowledge sharing, create an emotionally supportive environment and strengthen social groups you need to mentally engage your audience.
The opposite is to raise your audience up with valuable engagement.
What Does Valuable Engagement Look Like?
Let’s imagine you’re trying to get people to share knowledge. The race to the bottom would be to shorten and simplify the content into digestible chunks with big sharing buttons and shocking headlines. You could count how many people viewed, liked, and shared.
The race to the top looks for social solutions. Here you seek to understand why people aren’t sharing information today, what information they do share, and gradually work to increase the motivation to share information.
For example, if you better know and like others you work with, if you know who needs what information and when, if your goals align with their goals (and they’re internalized), you will share more information.
Now you can begin working to increase familiarity and understanding of who needs what information (and when). You can work to create goal alignment etc, etc..
The Output Of Engagement
The output of engagement isn’t you sharing a useful piece of information. It’s you wanting to share useful pieces of information in the future because it helps yourself or others, aligns with your motivations, and is part of your own identity.
And this is the fundamental difference between visible engagement and valuable engagement. Visible is designed to make it look like it’s working. Valuable engagement tackles the root causes to achieve the goals you want.
You can spend this precious part of your career lowering the bar with gimmicks or you can raise the bar and do real engagement work that drives results. I hope you do the latter.
Next week we’re opening registration for our first new course in 2 years. We’ve spent 18 months building it. The course is designed to help us get the kind of engagement which achieves long-term results. It combines the psychology with case studies and pathways to achieve big change.
I think you will like it.
You can find more information here: http://www.feverbee.com/AEM.