I recently threw my hat in the ring for a role as a Social Media Producer at a prominent local media outlet. Now, I know it’s a crap-shoot putting yourself out there for social media roles, especially if you’re middle-aged and making a perceived career change. The description of the role caught my fancy, though. To paraphrase, it noted that the role was to be focused on engagement. Well, that’s right up my alley! I thought. The employer asked for a resume and a list of successful ‘campaigns’ that the applicant has been involved with. And there, my friends, was the red flag.

Being the optimistic type, however, I figured that a creative, sort of social media-style approach to the application might catch the eye of someone that really understands the word ‘engagement’ in the context in which it’s used in marketing and social media circles. My cover letter read: ‘Please don’t read my resume.’ I encouraged them to follow my social media and digital footprint. Check out my engagement style. Talk to my social media contacts. Anyone of them, I said!

Now before submitting my application (via that dreaded black hole of job applications, the Application Tracking System), I also did a little research in this organization’s social media and digital footprint (only top numbers):


Followers: 32K

Following: 422


35K ‘Likes’


Followers: 1,800

Following: 58

Get the picture? Okay. Call me old school. Does this seem like a recipe for engaging people? Could be, I guess. Yet I’m continually skeptical of organizations and businesses/brands that have large followings with disproportionate levels of reciprocal engagement. Do you have to be following folks to be engaging with them? Not necessarily. But if you’re not, exactly how do you discover what people are saying? And, if you’re not reciprocal in following and engaging, well, that’s not very personal on the engagement scale, is it?

So, here’s my personal take:

We hear a lot of buzz around social media topics like human to human and ‘personalisation’ of contacts and content, but it seems like brands and individuals making the most noise about this are consistently the ones ignoring the principle themselves.

Making it personal means, if only for a moment or two, creating a one-to-one connection. It’s that feeling when you’re certain that someone ‘gets’ you, that you are understood. Or you understand someone! What value does a Twitter or Facebook ‘like’ carry? I guess, for that matter, does a personal feeling add to brand value? Perhaps, we figure out how we align our metrics-orientation with soft-side added for me, it’s personal value. Because until we do, we’ll continue to endure the endless broadcast of brand messages with little or no feelings that we can to relate to.

P.S. I was not called for an interview for the Social Media Producer role. My only ‘campaign’ was #SMXChat! 🙂 So you all are stuck with me.

Q1) What does being personal on social media mean to you?

Q2) Does a personal touch add value to brand social media? Why & how?

Q3) Do you think businesses & brands miss out if they’re not following individuals back? Why wouldn’t they?

Q4) How do you translate being personal to adding value? Can it be done?

Q5) Some professionals (Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, etc.) have an aversion to social media, because it’s ‘too personal.’ What do you say to that?