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The Secret to Engagement on Social Media

I don’t profess to be an expert, guru, thought leader, innovator, influencer or any other kind of social media fill-in-the-blank (In fact, those designations should never be self-described – people who call themselves these things are missing the point).

I do spend a lot of time on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter (because that’s where my people are, ok?), and I think I’ve cracked the code to being successful at both of them. With a Klout score (as of this writing) of 75, I guess I’m doing something right.

>>That’s not to say that Klout scores really MEAN anything. It’s just one way to measure how one social media user stacks up against other social media users. The general rule of thumb is that anything over 70 is really good.<<




What I’ve noticed about the really big and really important people on social media – people like Guy Kawasaki, or Shelley Kramer, or Peg Fitzpatrick or Elisa Camahort Page – is that they use a lot of their social media coin (influence, time, space) sharing content that isn’t theirs. When I see them pop up on my Facebook news feed or my Twitter stream, I want to see what they’re recommending because I know it will be:

1. useful
2. interesting
3. educational
4. provocative
5. all of the above

I’ve made a conscious effort to do the same thing. Of course I share my blog posts and posts from Midlife Boulevard, too. But I mix them up with lots of other things – articles, memes, other blogs that catch my attention, random thoughts that I hope will start conversation (some are more successful than others).

In other words, I try to make my social media…social.

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This is the secret to engagement on social media!


This doesn’t mean that you need to stop sharing your own content on a regular basis. Of course you should share your work. Your friends and fans expect it and look forward to reading what you write and hearing what you have to say.

But in order to get engagement, you need to be generous. You need to help others get exposure for whatever it is they’re doing – writing, influencing, motivating, promoting – almost as much as you need to promote yourself. Without loyalty from friends and fans, you and your blog will be just another wispy vapor cloud in the vast universe that is the internet.

Here’s the number I’ve seen frequently: 80% of your shared content should come from other sources, and 20% should be yours. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. That’s because it is.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be one of those bloggers with hundreds of thousands of page views a month. If it hasn’t happened yet after 3 years of hard work, it probably never will. And truthfully, it may never happen for you, either.

It takes a lot of time and energy and even more luck to get numbers like that. BUT you can still have clout (the real kind), influence and social media cred with a small but mighty following and loyal readers.

Think of Facebook and Twitter  like giant sandboxes. The more you share your toys (influence, time and space), the more the other kids will share theirs with you. And if you do it correctly, you won’t get sand thrown in your face.

Please note: these social media engagement tips are completely my opinion based on unscientific observation of many people over thousands of hours spent online. Your opinion may differ, and that’s ok. That’s the beauty of social media. 

Sharon Greenthal

Sharon's blog, Empty House Full Mind, focuses on observations of the world from the midlife empty nest. Sharon is the Young Adults Expert on Sharon writes for the Huffington Post and Purple Clover. Sharon is the mother of two grown children - a daughter, 26 and a son, 24. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Instagram: sharongreenthal

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Thursday 31st of July 2014

Sharon, in my day job I work as a content manager and I couldn't agree more with this! In fact, "content curation" is a huge topic these days--it's all about finding, sorting, and sharing the best possible material online with your community, whatever that may be. In fact, this past Monday I moderated a Twitter chat on that subject. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you the link.

Sharon Greenthal

Thursday 31st of July 2014

Yes, please do Karen.

Mary Buchan (@MidLifestyleRN)

Wednesday 30th of July 2014

Thank you for this excellent and informative content.


Wednesday 23rd of July 2014

Sharon, great information here. I know so many bloggers who live on a one way street! Thanks for passing on the tips and hints!

Susan Williams

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014

You are VERY generous in your sharing! I really appreciate that about you!

If I'm going to share, I try to make it something that I believe that is truly worth other's time. I hope to bring them something thought provoking, or entertaining, or at least smile-worthy.

Audrey Van Petegem

Wednesday 23rd of July 2014

Guess what I am going to do right now! I am sharing this on all my platforms! Thanks for sharing!

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