In the world of social media you can’t automate engagement.

social engagement conversationIf you want to understand how social media works, have a look at how you use it in your personal life.

You use it to keep in touch, let people know what’s happening in your life, and keep up with what’s happening in their lives.

It’s like an always-on, totally connected, interactive, multimedia round-robin letter. Best of all, the totality of content created by individuals on social media is comprised not of the original updates, tweets and posts created, but of the feedback and interaction that follows. Write 5 lines of family news and within a few hours you’ll have 20 lines of comments and feedback.

Now look at how companies and organizations use it.

Putting aside a few exceptions, most companies use social media as a broadcast channel. They use it to let you know about their super-duper products and services. And the totality of their content is comprised mostly of the original update, tweet or post.

After all, how many people want to follow up with comments and feedback when a company posts an update about its latest Widget 4.2.3?

Meanwhile, the gurus advising these companies keep whispering the word “engagement” in their client’s ears. “Social media is all about authentic engagement!” “You have to engage with your audience!”

This is not what clients want to hear. Actually engaging with one’s audience is not only tiresome, but a big drain on resources and budgets. And if they really and truly wanted to engage with their audience, they would have to post interesting content, not just thinly veiled pitches for the stuff they want to sell.

So they then hire some drones who create profiles and pretend to be real people who just happen to be wildly enthusiastic about the company’s products. “Wicked awesome!” “I just bought this and I loooove it!”

Or they cozy up to industry influencers and connectors, paying or bribing them to spread the “good news” about their company.

And so it goes.

The trouble is, you can’t automate true engagement. Nor can you manufacture it.

If companies want their prospects or customers to truly engage with them, they have to post content that’s really worth talking about and sharing.

And this, I think, is where there is an opportunity for a whole new generation of social media writers and marketers.

As soon as companies and organizations discover there really is no alternative to being real, they will have an urgent need for writers who can not only write content that is worth talking about and sharing, but who can also become truly empathetic voices for the companies they write for.

This next generation of social writers will be deeply engaged with both their client companies, and those companies’ audiences. They will be advocates for both sides of the conversation.

Smart companies are already looking for writers with these skill sets. Less smart companies…well, they’ll figure it out soon.

Related program: How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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