The Five W’s of Social Media Engagement


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Social media is transforming the digital experience into a human experience. Buyers have more influence than ever before. They are informed by online, offline, mobile, and of course each other on social media websites.

Naturally, many organizations are still trying to crack the code on engaging target audiences in social realms. A recent report from BtoB Marketer suggested that 93% of B2B organizations are utilizing at least one social media website for customer engagement. Yet, Gleanster research data suggests the vast majority of organisations do not see demonstrable benefits from these efforts. This begs the question: How do organizations determine if and when to use social media for inbound and/or outbound engagement? The answer is, they don’t. Or, they don’t do a good job vetting out the best practices and most appropriate execution of social media campaigns. Even Top Performers struggle to execute social campaigns with purpose, measurement, and structure.

A good rule of thumb for marketers is to apply the 5 W’s to any decision to engage on social media:

  • Who?: Who is your target audience? What channels do they engage on – is it appropriate for your brand to build a relationship on these channels? Who is accountable for managing social media engagement within the organization?
  • What?: What is your message to these individuals? How will you engage them in a unique and different way? What makes your customer experience compelling? What is the overall goal for social media engagement (communication, problem resolution, product innovation, brand monitoring, etc.)
  • When?: When is the most appropriate time to engage on these channels? (Hint: It’s probably not just during “business hours”.) How do you ensure the organization can actively monitor and stay on top of inbound engagement, brand sentiment, and issues?
  • Where?: Which channels are most appropriate for your organization. Just because every advertisement seems to have a Facebook icon these days, that doesn’t mean Facebook is the right medium for your organization. Really think through which channels you need to engage customers in and develop policies to guide and standardize those engagements.
  • Why?: Why do we believe these particular channels are most appropriate for the organization?

Don’t just jump on the social media bandwagon because your competitors are, or because your target audience seems to be out there on social websites. There are compelling reasons to engage target audiences on social media, but there are really compelling reasons to be smart about your organizations approach.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


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