I know this week’s guest, Carlos Gil @CarlosGil83 is going to fire up #SMXChat with his passionate insights on social marketing and, especially, on the often over-used and misunderstood concept of engagement. Carlos is a social brand strategist who has worked with retail brands like @SaveALot, @WinnDixie and @WinnDixieLatino. As is often the case, it was a tweet conversation that lead to inviting Carlos as our guest this week, but it was this video: What Retail CEOs Need to Know that really fired me up with questions about how brands approach the crucial social marketing concept of ENGAGEMENT. Because you know I often refer to myself as an ‘engagement specialist.’ And to me, the principle applies and scales from individual brands to global brands.

So as you’re preparing yourself for #SMXChat this week, take a few minutes to watch Carlos’ video. Start at around 2:50 if you’re in a hurry and want to get to the good stuff, To Wit:

Engagement is a common buzzword in Brand social marketing. But do Brands define and understand what engagement means to customers? The rush to exploit social marketing as as a demand and lead generation vehicle has kind of gotten in the way. Remember: Using social to broadcast content and drive likes and shares is ADVERTISING people, not ENGAGEMENT. Brands that engage via social use conversation to acknowledge customers with personalized contact. In order to resonate and connect with customers, content needs context and timing. Think about that as you develop your engagement plan. And consider how to educate Brand executives about how customers rely on social networks when considering purchases. Because precious few businesses and brands have internalized and culturalized social media engagement in ways that really touch customers and engender brand loyalty and advocacy.

Enough said, right? We’ll see you all at #SMXChat on Tuesday, February 3 at 3 PM EDT, 2 PM CDT, and 8 GMT.

Q1) In your experience, how do businesses and brands define ‘engagement’?

Q2) Is there a generational aspect (positive/negative) to how brands view ‘engaging’ with customers?

Q3) What do customers (and potential ones) expect from brands when it comes to engagement?

Q4) What role does content (and context, and timing) play in engaging with customers? When, where, and how?

Q5) Social is mobile. Social is mobile. How do the latest tech gadgets encourage engagement?

Q6) How do you tell brand and biz leaders that they’re doing it (engagement) wrong?