True engagement is the only thing that matters online


Check out the latest blog post from CEO of the Made in Group - Jason Pitt.

In this blog post, I want to discuss why the social endorsement buttons have so much power over us and how to think beyond the 'likes' and attain 'true engagement'. 

I posted a poll last week asking people what they most dislike about LinkedIn. Engagement pods: fake audience (44%)?, automated LinkedIn requests (38%)? or political discussions (19%)? - (correct as of sun 22nd, still 4d to run)

As the social media platforms developed, social media partially undermined the early success at connecting small groups of people with the introduction of the link/endorsement button. Social media giants capitalised on the human need for validation and endorsement from people outside the inner circle. 

However, there is a yearning and need for people to connect beyond likes online; we need more meaningful connections. We need to create depth to these relationships. The purpose of the social media platforms was to facilitate this need. However, there is an apparent conflict of interests between the business interests of the social media companies and those initial principles. In many, ways LinkedIn is the last social media platform that still has a degree of trust. However, this is steadily at risk of erosion from the dark arts of unethical practices, including engagement pods manipulating the algorithm, clickbait content that has no real value, and automative messages and invitations.

True Engagement 

What is true engagement, and why is it important? True engagement is talking to a relevant audience in a way that transcends the technology itself. A recent example I can use is our virtual breakfast morning; for each event, we take a photo of the delegate, post it online and then tag those people into the post. We usually get between 20-50 likes, and the majority of those engagements are from people that attend the event or are likely to participate in one of these events. These likes form real connections and validation of a genuine relationship. Is it essential is that 100 irrelevant people like your post? I honestly do not believe it is. If your post has only five likes or comments and it's all authentic engagement, it eats superficial attention for breakfast.

I wrote this blog post to introduce some thought leadership and hopefully innoculate some of the business community into understanding the difference between real and fake/superficial engagement online. 

Platforms such as Instagram are awash with fake influencers and people who misleadingly market themselves or their companies. Indeed there are several companies online where you can buy thousands of followers from only £9.

If an SEO company describes underhand ways of building an audience, run a mile. Why? Because when you deal with an unethical business, you move resources away from ethical companies. In the long run, this harms your business and the wider community.

It's up to all of us and especially in business, to do our due diligence. It's vital for the health of the business community that resources get managed by people with innovation, a good offering and integrity—lack of integrity fuels every inequality and problem in society. Celebrate your authentic engagement; no matter how small, you can become a leader in this respect!

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