The term ‘social media engagement’ seems to trigger a number of reactions amongst different people. In particular, my experience working in client services has brought to light a recurring sequence of emotions. I like to think of them as the four stages of social media engagement acceptance.

The stages of social media engagement acceptance go as follows:

  1. Intrigue – This occurs the moment that engaging on social media becomes a priority for your business.
  2. Curiosity – This reaction is a consequence of human nature’s general hunger for knowledge. You want to know what your competitors are doing when it comes to engaging on social, and how you can rival this.
  3. Apprehension – This is caused by any feelings of concern or uncertainty regarding how to actually engage in an acceptable manner on social.
  4. Excitement – This is the final stage of acceptance and demonstrates readiness to improve your business’ social profile and take on the world of social media engagement.

Now, regardless of whether you do or don’t align with such a reaction, familiarizing yourself with the following top five misconceptions surrounding engaging on social media will only improve your confidence in the space and answer any questions that you may still have.

Misconception #1: Engaging with macro influencers is more important than engaging with micro influencers.

Let’s first highlight the difference between macro and micro influencers. Macro influencers are those top tier influencers with more than twenty thousand followers. Micro influencers have between five thousand and twenty thousand followers, and are considered to be second-tier influencers. Not only are micro influencers more relatable and accessible than macro, they also tend to have a stronger connection with their followers, often sharing common interests. Your business is also more likely to see a return on investment when engaging with second-tier influencers.

Misconception #2: The time it takes for you to engage with a social post does not affect customer awareness of your brand.

We recently presented our research into this topic at the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit, finding that hotels who engaged with guest posts within the first thirty minutes of it being published generate 18.8x more brand advocacy. This brings into play the power of real-time engagement, which, when interacting with influencers in particular, can make sure you don’t get lost amongst their feed. Ultimately, it is up to you to make sure your business has a digital strategy in place to help manage responsiveness on social media.

Misconception #3: Responding to user generated content (UGC) on behalf of your business needs to have a formal tone, as business is formal.

This misconception is one of the most common and couldn’t be further from the truth. Social media at its heart is social. Consequently, when responding to posts, your customers will notice when your tone is too stiff. Indeed, when businesses fully understand their target market, they should be able to find a happy medium between professionalism and informality when engaging on social. Afterall, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Misconception #4: Only your marketing and social media teams should have access to engage with your customers on social.

Anyone who still holds this viewpoint is living in the past. In today’s digitally connected world, social media should not be owned by just one team. It needs to be integrated into the full activities of your business, from marketing to operations and even human resources. The skill of interacting on social is one that all members of your business should acquire, strengthening organization-wide communication channels and demonstrating a customer-centric approach to operations.

Misconception #5: All UGC about your business is viewable in the geotag.

Coming in at number five is the illusion that all UGC about your business on social media can be found by looking at your official geotag. UGC can be attached to a range of channels, such as hashtags, mentions and geotags that you may not even be aware of. It’s important to recognize this so that your business avoids missing significant opportunities to create truly memorable experiences for its customers.

Now that you have been acquainted with some of the top misconceptions surrounding engaging on social media today, how will your business put its best foot forward? My recommendation; be sure to have a fitting digital solution in place to complement your social media strategy and help guide you through the maze that is social media engagement.