If you head your own business or lead your own brand, chances are you are aware of the crucial part social media marketing plays in your overall marketing strategy. You may even already be aware of the difference between social media management and community management. If that is the case, then you also understand that you must employ community management strategies rather than just social media management.
Now let’s take it one step further and look at community management as just one element of Engagement Strategy. Very quickly and pretty much at the beginning of my way as The Social Fairy, I realized that the way I perceived and practiced Community Management was quite different, and very much broader, than the classic definition of enhanced customer happiness and engagement. I cannot ignore my set of skills and everything I’ve learned along the way working in various positions in the worlds of Website building, Internet Marketing and Content.
I realized I was combining all my skills of Content writing, Social Media management, Community Management approach, Strategic thinking and so much more, to deliver a brand new service to the people I worked with.
In doing that, my clients often get the value and the volume of work normally done by 3-5 positions holders, in one person. Granted, it’s a lot of work, but when one person does it all and does it efficiently, it saves the brand money, time and leads to actual growth without having to hire different people and manage them all together. Imagine what that means for a lean Start-up with hardly any budget…
For a while I still called what I do Community Management. Then I called it “Community Management +” because well… it was more than Community Management. Recently, I came up with the very appropriate term “Engagement Strategy”.
The Strategic process I employ, involves elements of business development like competitive analysis, niche and market research, a complete online presence strategy, online marketing & Community Management strategy, personal online branding for key individuals at the company, Online PR, Investor relations and a lot more.
In effect, in order to execute the marketing plans that come out from the engagement strategy thought process you will need more than one person. You will need content creators, social media managers, community and reputation managers, PR people and that’s just to name a few. It is very rare to find one person that can do all those well. Depending on your brand size and niche the amount of work also changes, and often you will find yourself having to make the decision between hiring several people to create and run your in-house marketing department, or outsourcing the marketing to an agency that can do all that for you. Trouble is, most agencies are focused on the services and, while you may have a dedicated account manager, you will not have control or knowledge of who does what for you. Many agencies also employ people with different skills and expertise (so they will have a social media manager, a content writer, a performance/PPC specialist and that’s about it) but they do not always all work on your account.
The unique and holistic approach of Engagement Strategy basically means that whoever does your online marketing (be it me or one of the people I personally select and train) makes sure everything is covered and that you really do get all the services and activities that you need to hack the growth of your brand.