I feel so lucky. I have the best social media fan and loyal brand advocate one could ever hope for.

It’s my 11 year old niece. Every time I post my latest meal on Instagram or share a Facebook status update, she is there to give me a thumbs up, share my post and of course plenty of emoji hearts and hand claps. I mean she is after all 11 years old so emojis are her standard vocabulary.

But this got me thinking, is her sharing and liking of my posts true engagement?

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All over, you hear the social media chatter about engagement. It isn’t about the number of followers you have anymore, it is about the number of engagements you have every day, week, or month. Engagement is an easy word to throw out there. It sounds great, but what is it really?

Is Engagement a retweet? Is it a comment on your blog? Is it a passing dialog on Twitter?

These are the things that we use to calculate our engagement scores. These are how we define our return on investment. But, are they really engagement? Are they worth the time and money? Engagement isn’t only commanding the attention of a follower, but it is also capturing their efforts.

Dictionary.com defines “engage” as willing to become involved. A retweet may symbolize effort and action, but does it really insinuate real involvement? Social media allows us to create communities of engaged individuals. BUT….people don’t usually engage around other people. They engage around ideas.

Its fairly easy to get lots of numbers in social media, but do you have tribe? Does your tribe all relate to ideas that are shared rather than people or companies. Apple doesn’t have a tribe because they are a good company, they have a tribe because they represent the idea of thinking differently. What do you represent? Who are you engaging?

People share content for intrinsic and emotional reasons. But businesses are trying to get people to share content for economic reasons.

We have to change our mindset about what this is all about and what’s really driving the economics. We need to discover who shares, how we find them and how we reward them. We don’t need to build traffic, we need to build trust with the people who are creating economic benefits for our business.