Norman Ng

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

3 Progressive Social Media Engagement Strategies (Part 2)

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2012 at 14:44

Enterprise communications in this decade is likely to witness a strong and continued shift towards consolidating and evolution in social media communications. What this means in 2012 are that it’s not about whether enterprises should / should not adopt social media; but more about the “Quality of the Conversations”, and the extent and depth of stakeholder engagement.

Continuing from the “bottoms up” framework discussed in the preceding blog post, where we advocated enterprises in cultivating “social media” ambassadors to strenghten brand equities; this posts articulates the “HOW” to engage and cuitlvate a community of brand advocates. This will be especially relevant for organisations who already have embarked on the social media bandwagon, with significant efforts and resources put into this areas, and are asking the “What’s Next” in social media?

Essentially, we are looking at 3 progressive levels of engagement strategies, with each supporting varied effects on stakeholder experiences:

Phase 1 (Establishing Presence) – This forms the most rudimentary and basic level of engagement, staking a claim and opening platforms and channels on the social media landscape; with a basic profile. Typically, enterprises post some content, supplementing it’s official info dissemination channels (Think PR 101). But remember, it’s a blue ocean out there, and you’re merely one of the fishes out there…and you’ll hardly stand out if your social media communications stops short here.

Phase 2 (Deepening Relationships) – That’s why phase 2 is essential towards buiding qualitative conversations through sustained engagement efforts, and deploying social media customer relations management (SCRM). It’s about delivering a responsive and timely communications effort, continuing layers after layers of conversations with influencers and participants. It’s at this phase where you’re effectively not merely monologous posts / content contributions – but having quality two way conversations with your key influencers and audiences. 

Phase 3 (Incubating Communities) – We believe in the mantra of “Things Takes Time”, and in this instance, relationships take time to establish and strengthen. This is the ideal steady state in social media communications that enterprises should all aim to achieve, because chances are, your collective stakeholders are more compelled to believe what independent co-stakeholders are talking about you, rather than to the last cent that you’ve spent on a top down MarComm / publicity campaign. This is a phase where you consolidate your key influencers and tell them “folks, we value you, from the bottom of our hearts, and want to internalise you to share with the rest of the community on what you think about our brand and efforts”.

By the time enterprises reach the advanced phase towards incubating communities, they would have harnessed a war chest of brand advocates who would convey your brand as if it was their own, hedging downside reputation risks in times of a PR crisis. 

Moving forward, we should look forward to reflection and consolidating our social media efforts, and build a credible and compelling voice from within, converting brand ambassadors, towards delivering quality conversations in the social media landscape.

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A “Bottoms Up” PR Approach in 2012 – Converting Brand Ambassadors

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2012 at 11:03

Large enterprises always had an upper hand in resources to shell out big budget PR & Advertising Campaigns to drum up their brand identity and reputation. In the all too recent decade, we’ve seen the wake of huge corporate PR disasters (& sometimes even total financial collapse) – from Bear Sterns, BOA, Olympus, United Airlines, Citigroup…the list goes on. 

My point is this – No amount of PR & Advertising spending will fully insulate you from siesmic shifts in corporate branding and reputation in the increasingly democratic information highway. Stakeholders have asymetrical sources of information; people believe more in peer recommendations rather than advertising…PR & advertising ain’t what it used to be, where they were the de-facto go-to folks.

In came the online netizen communities; born and bred in the social media renaissance, with digital voices and at times influential conversations have more impact on a corporate’s brand equity rather than it’s CEO. (Recall the Dave Caroll jingle on “United Breaks Guitar? Well it reportedly caused a $180m stock nosedive in 4 days)

Now imagine “converting” these digital voices and netizens into your brand ambassadors. Yes, that’s the core approach organisations ought to look at in 2012. It’s time they recalibrated efforts and shift resources and commitment towards looking at how to garner online communities, build brand equity, and shape the overall experience of its stakeholders – THE RIGHT WAY….FROM THE BOTTOMS UP.

Because like it or not, conversations will take place irrespective of whether you’ve adopted social media communication channels. Every day an organisation fails to listen to these conversations, and genuinely act or “buy-in” these conversations, is an opportunity forgone to claim a favourable presence in effectively shaping their brand equities.

So in 2012, it’s essential that organisations start to employ deep listening (social media monitoring / analysis), and strategise conversions and build a robust network of influential, engaging and credible brand ambassador base….from the BOTTOMS UP.

In the next article, we’ll discuss how organisations can strategise and convert brand ambassadors.

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