Developing a Social Network Engagement Strategy: Step 2

In my previous post from last week, I talked a little bit about how businesses should start thinking of social networks more strategically, and covered the first step: a Social Network Analysis.

The second step is the creation of an Engagement Plan. Much like shopping, thchess.jpge analysis is the part to pick the networks that you think will work with your business objectives, and then the engagement plan is more like the dressing room: where you define the specific networks that engagement should take place in.

Since this series is focused on social network engagement, I’d like to add that this engagement plan can and should include other areas of engagement (with blogs, microblogs, and social bookmarking sites, etc).

With that being said, the main areas of this plan (as they apply to social network engagement) should include:

  • Network recommendations: While the social network analysis revealed many possible networks for engagement to take place within, the engagement plan narrows down the specific and most beneficial networks to place focus within. In my opinion, it is better to have fewer networks with more meaningful engagement, than have a ton of social network profiles and efforts scattered across each. That is why I typically try to keep engagement efforts to no more than 3 networks, unless it is needed strategically.
  • Specific Engagement Approach Recommendations: This part of the plan outlines the opportunities that exist within each network, and provides recommendations of the engagement approach that should take place regularly within each. This helps a company embrace an approach that gives to the community regularly and connects with users through specific network applications.
  • Overall measurement tactics: Measurement tactics should be outlined and aligned with overall campaign goals of this effort. Since social network engagement is largely a brand-building initiative, measurement is likely to be more qualitative in nature (through positive audience reactions and feedback)- however conversion percentages and other types of engagement can be measured. However since this is still so new, many companies are applying the “just doing it to do it” approach in social network engagement, making measurement nearly impossible to quantify.

Though these three steps are just a glimpse of what goes into an engagement plan, I hope that it shows the level of strategy needed to make social network engagement successful.

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to add? I’d love to hear them 🙂

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