Social media has wrought changes that require PR professionals and marketers to engage authentically with a wide range of stakeholders, across numerous channels and devices.
Call it the Dawn of Agile Engagement.
Communicators’ success in this rapidly evolving era depends on effectively targeting their audiences and infusing messaging with audience insights gleaned from social conversations. And speed matters more than ever in this real-time world. Increasingly, leading brands are calling on many departments to answer the call for agile engagement.
It turns out that empowering more enterprise employees to engage can produce more timely and authentic interaction across a greater number of engagement points.
Streaming your brand with agility
Just how far brand management has come – and how quickly it has changed – is requiring unprecedented agility. The evolution of traditional, new, owned and earned media has led cutting edge communications professionals to the practice of brand streaming. That is, real-time, always-on communications to promote your brand across a full range of media – from your most coveted news outlet to the most vocal blogger in your market – bringing your best videos, white papers and other owned content to share across Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.
Listening at all times
“Active listening is where opportunities for agile engagement take shape,” says Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s Vice President of Social Media.
Listening (on the left side of Figure A) involves pulling in what’s being said by relevant sources about brands, people, trends and topics; analyzing it all; and then using these insights to develop communications strategies. But listening is not a one-time affair; it involves the essential monitoring of your brand’s Social Echo on an ongoing basis to uncover new opportunities, as well as areas for improvement.
Customizing content for optimal relevance
With the insights gained from active listening, the next step in the agile engagement process is to create and optimize content to engage more effectively with various audiences. Customizing content ensures optimal relevance to the many subsets of your audience.
This often means not only targeted messaging, but producing it in multiple formats for consumption across multiple channels and via multiple devices
Measuring on an ongoing basis
Measurement, the sixth component of agile engagement, need not be thought of as the final step in this process. Rather, it is the linchpin perpetuating the ongoing cycle of agile engagement.
By keeping a close eye on the results generated by your campaigns, you can gauge areas of success in order to build on these successes in the future, and also assess areas of weakness that can be further refined moving forward.
Finding efficiencies in agile engagement
New efficiencies are emerging as another upside of agile engagement. For example, it reduces reliance on paid media, enabling you to use it more selectively – not as the core of all campaigns, but sometimes as an accelerator for owned media produced in-house and released into social networks. And you can test ideas for paid media in the social sphere.
Discovering new opportunities to unify departments and brands
Because so many parts of the enterprise are engaging in social media today – from PR to marketing to customer service, human resources and more – collaboration has become an imperative.
PR and marketing professionals each have something valuable to offer the other. “PR can learn a lot from marketing about measurement, and then adapt marketing techniques that help PR quantify its impact,” says PR Newswire’s Meranus. On the other hand, the marketing department can learn from PR’s strengths in earning media, which, after all, date back to the days when it was mostly a matter of pitching stories to newsmen.
Conclusion: exercising agility in communications leads you to constant – and effective – engagement
The evolution of media is requiring much higher levels of agility in listening, creating content, targeting influencers, engaging and interacting, distributing brand messaging and measuring the results. Approached systematically, these six continual cycles of activity can form a framework for effectively planning, preparing and leveraging communications – a framework that helps communications professionals make the transition from a pattern of campaigns to the practice of ongoing engagement.
There is a saying that “chance favors the prepared mind.” With an agile engagement framework in place, communicators can be in a constant state of preparedness, and reap the benefits of effectively streaming their brand in a real-time world.
Source: www.prnewswire.com; June 4, 2012.