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I’ve been pretty open about my ambivalent relationship with social media: Certainly I understand its benefit, and have leveraged various social tools for my businesses, but I don’t quite think social media is the paradigm shift that many claim it to be. I still believe that traditional media has its role, and that savvy entrepreneurs will consider a marketing approach that integrates traditional advertising with social channels.

Given this ambivalence, it probably comes as no surprise that I have a middle-of-the-road approach to the concept of engagement. Some see it as the be-all and end-all of modern marketing; a Facebook like is practically as good as a sale, they might say, which clearly isn’t true. Still others might look skeptically at engagement, assuming it to be close to worthless—and that’s not exactly right, either.

To be sure, I think there is a world of difference between engagement and sales, and I don’t think a retweet or a high-traffic Facebook post is an end unto itself. With that said, I do think engagement can provide you with useful data, as well as affirmation. Engagement may not be the same thing as a sale, but it does suggest that you’re doing something that resonates with people—something that can be converted into a sale, perhaps.

Let me put it this way: My premium steak company, Fuego Diablo, does pretty well with social engagement. Our social media followers enjoy clicking on beautiful pictures of juicy steak, and they like reading our recipes and grilling tips. None of that puts money in our bank account, of course, but it does tell me that we’ve tapped into an audience that wants what we’re selling, and that with the right lead capturing strategies, we can turn them into paying customers.

Engagement is basically energy that’s given to you. On its own, its value is limited—but if you can harness that energy—if you can do something with it—then it can have immense value. Engagement is never my goal, in other words—but it is a resource that I try not to take for granted.