The Cluetrain Manifesto states that markets are conversations. They are composed by humans who interact, exchange opinions and create networks and bonds, especially on-line. In order to reach success, an agency or company must promote more than the quality of its offer. It must also enter into contact and create bonds with its targets. How? Through an engagement strategy that will involve individuals with content and initiatives and create relations, trust and a sense of community.
If content or an initiative is successful in terms of engagement, the target has been reached. Value has been provided. A bond has been created. And this allows relations to be developed with users, who will recommend the content to friends and allow it to spread. The final aim is to increase a brand’s authority and give rise to spontaneous forms of viral marketing and dynamics that convert users into clients.
What is an Engagement Strategy?
An engagement strategy is based on a plan of action to keep the interest of users high and provide them with interesting and useful content. The engagement strategy and its actions are mainly played out on social media, the environment dedicated to sharing and interacting, but it can also be reinforced through parallel initiatives on websites, apps and dedicated landing pages, as well as through digital PR, brand advocacy and employee branding activities.
A fundamental part of engagement also addresses employees as they are active users, too, with social spheres of influence based on their roles and characteristics (consumers, clients, influencers). Our engagement strategies identify and exploit social networks within organisations to collaboratively manage relations with stakeholders, starting with employees and their social media presence.
The objective is to shape forms of brand advocacy and create a network of ambassadors that will share the right messages and amplify them on their social channels. Employer branding strategies ramp up brand visibility, build client trust based on a personal approach, and create human relations through passion, empathy and personal creativity. In exchange for this, employees are gratified by the growth of their personal brand, becoming influencers on work-related issues, and being actively involved in the promotion and development of the organization that they represent, which, in turn, brings increased satisfaction, a sense of community and pride in their company. Furthermore, greater visibility amongst colleagues and managers may also open up new career prospects.
Social media strategy
At Cultur-e, social media strategies are based on a social media map and an on/off-line cross-channel synergy. After performing an in-depth data-driven analysis of our client, of the reference target(s), on-line conversations and competitor activities, our social media managers define the engagement strategy by identify strategic objectives, messages and the best-suited content in terms of format, tone, language and style for each channel and each target segment.
The social media strategy is completed with the conception and preparation of events and initiatives to increase involvement, such as contests, challenges, exclusive events, customer care activities and practical advice. The aim is to promote knowledge of the brand, activate networking and active participation – stimulating shares, conversations, discussions and debates – and publish content and personal experiences.
The digital PR strategy is developed hand in hand with the social media strategy to engage media and on-line influencers. Its aim is to promote content on web channels (both proprietary and non), reinforce the social editorial line and activate a network of public relations that will amplify its impact.
At Cultur-e, our digital PR model identifies quality content that will promote brand positioning coherently with strategic objectives. Moreover, it defines the guidelines for the engagement of an on-line network of journalists, bloggers and opinion leaders who are interested in promoting content on information and services. Indeed, especially during crises and attacks on a brand’s reputation, this content is necessary to create debate, balance critical positions and allow users to develop their own opinions.
Monitoring and Evaluation of Engagement Strategy
In order to evaluate the efficacy both of individual actions and of the overall strategy, our engagement strategies also include a KPI monitoring model. The model defines relevant indicators for each channel and initiative, organizing them into specific dimensions (user groups, content, participation, collaboration and assistance) and defining identification tools and objectives.