What is engagement? Conversation? Compelling content? Jason Falls has posted twice in the past week about what defines it, raising a quick reaction from Rachel Kay, Mashable has an entire subsection dedicated to it,  – but what’s the consensus?

Merriam -Webster’s definition: Something that engages, emotional involvement or commitment, to attract and hold by influence or power.

Jason Fall’s definition: Engagement is communicating well enough that the audience pays attention (he also notes – rightly so - engagement is not a goal. It’s a result.)

Brian Solis’ definitions:

  • Engagement is defined by how a brand and consumer connect and interact within their networks of relevance.
  • Engagement is measured by takeaway value, sentiment or feelings, and resulting actions following the exchange.

Facebook’s definition: Anyone clicking anywhere on your post is considered an “Engaged User”

We all use the word “engage” about 100 times a day (make that 1,000 times now that I think about it) – but what do we mean? When speaking with clients – we are usually referencing Facebook’s definition – engaging = interactions.  Does this mean that you cannot consider something engaging unless you feel compelled enough to click on it? If I read a post, but don’t comment or share it, was I not engaged? Where does WOM fit into this measurement?

Of course everyone wants tangible parameters to define their compelling content – did it get shares? Views? Comments? If engagement isn’t defined as such - we can’t prove its worth, or our own for that matter.

I personally love this line from Bernhard Warner, “engagement is the new currency for social marketing effectiveness” – I think it hits the nail on the head of what engagement has evolved into for anyone evaluating social media.

So in conclusion – what’s the consensus? What defines engagement? Take your pick from the above, but in the end – it’s a numbers game – which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it is what it has evolved to. Here to being engaging!