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  • Writer's pictureGrace Anne Alfiero

The Engagement Conundrum

By Tatiana Bacchus

When was the last time you authentically engaged with a social media post? What was it about? Can you remember what made you stop scrolling long enough to click, comment or share?

Truth is many of us devour huge quantities of social media without even blinking an eye. For people like me, it’s part of my job. As an actor and independent filmmaker, there is an expectation that I be up to date on the trades and industry news. With shifting mandates and consistent studio restructuring, it’s difficult to know who’s in, who’s out and who’s buying stories.

There are days that I want to put my head in the proverbial social media ground, but in this day and age, it feels like that would be career annihilation. Instead, I find myself signing up for more platforms and trying to figure out what I have to say that feels worthwhile and necessary. 

So, what is engagement? How do you authentically get it? Can you buy it? Is it wrong to co-opt other account’s engagement? As this is a larger conversation than one blog post, this will be the first in a series of blogs about social media engagement. Let’s start with the first question. What is engagement?

Social media engagement is the measurement of shares, likes and comments on a social media post. It's a common metric for determining the effectiveness of a social media marketing campaign. Social media managers study engagement metrics to determine if their audience is paying attention to their content.


If you want to know more, there are countless articles on how to understand social media metrics and how to craft a social media marketing campaign. 

The challenge is that to truly engage with people on social media, it’s not what we feel is worthwhile and necessary that is important. We see that when we post something we are passionate about, but are then confused when that critically important post yields limited views, likes and shares. 

Take these screenshots from my Instagram account as an example. This first one is a post I made that netted deep engagement from excited friends and followers. The catch? That’s me in a trailer for a film, opposite an A-list actor, in a film starring two A-list actors! This is a very sexy post which netted 153 likes and 27 comments. 

This second one, however, is a post about the challenges I had faced trying to bring a feature length documentary about a Haitian master painter to life. The post went one step

further and asked for donations towards the project. By all accounts this post was a dud - just 27 likes and one comment - which also turned into a donation.

I cherish every person who supports my work AND I also wish the engagement around my own film had netted an equal amount of excitement as the previous post did. When I looked back and compared the posts engagement, it led me to ask questions about who my audience was and wonder what they were looking for on my page. The next question I need to think about is, what am I prepared to offer? What is my brand and how much of me has to be available to the world? They are pretty big questions that I am still wrestling with.  

My question to you would be, are you ready? Ready for what, you ask. Well, first of all, are you ready to listen to the people who you are courting? Do you have someone in place to maintain a constant presence once your siren song has them captivated? Do you have the internal expertise or access to external experts who can chop it up around specific topics? Do inclusion and accessibility play a part in your plan?

Finally, are you ready to listen to what your audience says…to be curious about what they are excited about…and prepared to pivot to craft content that addresses what they tell you they are craving? If not and your goal is to achieve real and sustained engagement with your target audience, then let this be the catalyst to prioritize resources to create a plan that allows you to execute a lasting, effective and engaging social media strategy.

Don’t worry if these questions spooked you or gave you an extensive pause. We can reflect on them together as we figure out our way forward and work to engage our core target audiences.


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