Let's pick on one of the social media crowd's favorite buzzword bingo entries: engagement. Amber's thinking about what engagement means, so I'm going to bypass that question and move directly to the follow-up questions. Who is the object of your engagement? Why do want to engage them online? How does your relationship with them affect your engagement tactics?
Is this the party to whom I am speaking?
—Lily Tomlin as "Ernestine"
Engagement—responding, conversing, connecting, sharing—it sounds like a good thing. Whatever you mean when you say it, I'm sure I support it. In the spirit of and not or, I want to suggest that you consider some different types of people you might engage online.
This isn't an academic exercise. In my recent review of social media analysis platforms, I found engagement features with implicit assumptions about the object and purpose of engagement tactics. Click on the Engage button in one product, and you're in a tool for managing responses to customers. In another system, the button takes you to a media relations tool. The different objects require different tools, which will be used by different groups for different purposes.
Before you can decide which one works for you, you have to know what you mean by engagement.
Well, duh. This is probably what everyone assumes engagement is all about—using social media as a channel for building a stronger relationship with customers (past, present, and future). Good stuff, but not the whole picture.
People you value because of their presumed ability to influence others. They may be customers, but the goal and approach are different when you think of them as influencers.
Professional influencers with different motives and expectations. You're probably already engaging reporters, but how does that play out in social media?
You remember these people, right? How do they figure into your social media environment? Did I miss the memo that says that engagement means external?
If you want an answer other than "it depends," ask a more specific question.