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  • severinacartwright

Social media engagement strategies vs social media presence: Do you know the difference?

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Although 91% of marketers ask themselves “What are the best ways to engage my audiences on social media?” (Stelzner, 2020), B2B organisations lack an understanding and knowledge of how to strategically engage their stakeholders (Foltean et al., 2019; Iankova et al., 2019). One of the major reasons for this is the hesitancy to take advantage of new communication platforms, thus resulting in a major strategic conundrum within the B2B sectors.

Research suggests that creating high customer and stakeholder engagement on social media brings a stronger customer relationship (Cartwright et al., 2020). With business relationships and networks being the core within B2B marketing, it is the natural assumption that social media would be the perfect tool to incorporate within organisational engagement strategies. It is, therefore, crucial to understand which strategies to adopt and which ones to avoid. Thus, how social media engagement strategies are implemented to manage business relationships.

This thought leadership piece talks about the benefits of four different strategic B2B social media engagement approaches for managing business relationships (Cartwright et al., 2020). The full academic article can be found here.

1. Call to action strategy

Organisations pursuing a call to action strategy centrally manage social media activities in a division within their organisation. As a result, the content is created ‘in-house’ rather than by an external agency. The strategy is mainly focussed on acquiring new customers rather than on actually engaging audiences. The benefits of adopting this type of strategy are the reach of a wider audience and achieving faster a follower base. Additionally, content can be generated quickly, re-posted by the marketing department and re-shared accordingly. This results in raising awareness of the organisation and encouraging a wider-audience to follow the social media site of that organisation.

2. Dissemination strategy

The organisations that pursue this type of strategy are generally slower in adopting social media channels. The reason behind this is that their engagement approaches aim to develop and sustain relationships with their stakeholders. Thus, creating tailored (often informal) content that targets key (usually pre-existing) audiences are the main goals of organisations. The benefit of adopting this type of social media strategy is higher engagement rates online. In other words, knowing the target audience often results in better communication and engagement, and ultimately in stronger business relationships.

3. Thought leadership strategy

This type of strategy can be implemented when organisations aim to utilise the knowledge and expertise of their staff and broadcast it to a wide audience within their industry. This type of engagement strategy requires management by a larger pool of employees. The benefit of adopting this type of approach is the highly valuable content that creates increased levels of engagement. The content is relevant and timely, thus resulting in continuously engaged audiences on social media.

4. Co-creation strategy

This type of strategy focusses solely on developing and sustaining strong relational links within multiple but highly specific audience networks. Organisations who pursue co-creation strategy usually operate in niche industries that are highly regulated. Key audiences are known within the industry and they often collaborate and co-create value for each other. The benefit of co-creation strategy is a strong online relationship due to a well-defined audience. The engagement levels are also high between existing connections, thus resulting in strong business relationships.

This short introduction of the four strategic engagement approaches within B2B organisations shows how diverse engagement could be. There is no right or wrong engagement approach for any organisation. On the contrary, every engagement strategy needs to be tailored accordingly to meet organisational objectives, implement available resources as effectively as possible and most importantly, create engagement with the right audience(s). Although this sounds rather straight forward, organisations often struggle to successfully engage their key audiences and create dialogue online. However, with the current pandemic, an increasing amount of organisations convert to social media. More to follow on this topic: Social media adoption in a pandemic driven world. Don't miss out on content and subscribe to my blog.

More details about the four strategic approaches can be found here.

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