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Brian Solis wrote an article about social media that I believe offers some real insight into how large brands are being “antisocial” when it comes to using social media marketing tools. The gist of the article suggests that these companies are using traditional marketing tactics in a more interactive way, which doesn’t really inspire online prospects to pursue their products and services. Is it a good point?

I think so.

One of the most important principles for any business person (whether a sole proprietor or the CEO of a megacorporation) to understand is that everything changes. Some things change faster than others, but everything changes. Particularly markets.

So with that in mind, how has marketing changed? In the last 20 years, it has become necessary for any business that wants to grow to engage with audiences online. That means through social media as well as paid and organic search. But the key word there is “engage.”

Here’s a news flash: Pushing your message out to your followers, fans, and friends is not engagement.

Engagement means that you interact, and to interact with your audience you need a human face. Simply tweeting links to your corporate content under an account that bears your company name is not engagement. I offer you these 5 qualities that describe what a truly engaged social media personality has to offer:

  1. An engaging social media strategy is personable. That means it not only tries to interact with followers, but it involves a human trying to get to know its followers.
  2. It is not self-centered. In other words, you don’t just link to your own content, but you link to other content as well.
  3. The strategy seeks to be a resource of helpfulness. That is to say, the content you link to should hold value in your followers’ eyes, not merely your own.
  4. The personality behind the account is consistent. You cannot build trust among your followers if you are not there every day. Turning it on and off again will drive people away.
  5. You must be reliable. Your social media content must be so valuable to your fans and followers that they come to rely on it.

I’d consider these the five pillars of social media engagement. Do them well and you won’t be antisocial. Do them poorly and you most assuredly will be.

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