How many business social media pages are truly relational and engaging? And yet, when we see successful social media pages, they tend to be pages that are not business pages. Why?

One of the gripes many communication and social media practitioners face is when there is a polarity between what would work on social media, and what would not but gets client approval.

Invariably, those ideas and tactics that get client approval often ends up getting very little traction on social media.

This is akin to conversations. The best conversations are those when two or more people engage in dialogue. The people talk with each other, sharing ideas, bouncing ideas around, and sometimes even with gusto. There is an exchange of information, where information is then distilled and eventually, the people engaged in the dialogue gets wiser and more knowledgeable. Everyone leaves the dialogue richer. This is engagement.

Conversely, imagine a party when one person dominates the conversation, and others in the party are silenced, without the slightest opportunity to contribute to the conversation. This would be a monologue. There will be little interest or engagement from anyone in the party other than the person dominating the conversation. There will be no learning. There will be no engagement.

The trouble all started with clients imagining social media to be yet another unidirectional advertising medium. Social media is not unidirectional advertising. It is a communication medium where conversations are sparked. It is bilateral communication, where there is good and bad. You can moderate the conversation just as you would in real face-to-face conversations for decency and respect, but you do not own the conversation.

Certainly, one can insist on using his social media page only as a unidirectional advertising medium, rather than a platform for conversations. It would just mean there will be very little true conversations or engagement.

At the end of a conversation on social media, much as two or more people engage in face-to-face conversation, the hope is that everyone leaves more knowledgeable, wiser. This would be the engagement we hope on social media, whether it be our own personal social media pages, or our business pages.