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Social Media and Customer Engagement

Given the visible impact of Web 2.0 in marketplaces around the globe—or more correctly, the marketplace of the globe—social technology is now considered a “given” in business. So many have assumed that social media and a presence on the Social Web are “must haves” that a sort of land rush to build communities and create brand outposts in places like Facebook and Twitter has resulted, too often without fully understanding the long-term organizational impact and the business opportunity that these efforts—done in a systematic manner—actually offer.

This chapter tackles the basics of what makes social business work. For a lot of organizations—including business, nonprofits, and governmental agencies—use of social media very often begins in Marketing, public communications, or a similar office or department with a direct connection to customers and stakeholders.

This makes sense given that a typical driver for getting involved with social media is a slew of negative comments, a need for “virality,” or a boost to overall awareness in the marketplace and especially in the minds and hearts of those customers increasingly out of reach of interruptive (aka “traditional”) media. In a word, many organizations are looking for “engagement,” and they see social media as the way to get it. The advent of Web 2.0 and the Social Web is clearly a game-changer, on numerous fronts.

Given the rush to implement, and the opening focus on marketing specifically versus the business more holistically, many “social media projects” end up being treated more like traditional marketing campaigns than the truly revolutionary ways in which a savvy business can now connect with and prosper through collaborative association with its customers.

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As a result, the very objective—engagement, redefined in a larger social context—is missed as too many “social media campaigns” run their course and then fizzle out.

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