Lynne d Johnson



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09.17.13 12:01 PM

Developing An Engagement Framework

Back when I was at Waggener Edstrom, I was working on a developing strategy/recommendations for a software company that was interested in becoming a social business, or as it was sold in (making a social business transformation). When I came onto the project, it had already been handled by another strategist who had done a great job on handling the necessary research and insights necessary to take it to the next level. As well, he had already prepared some high-level recommendations for the company.

When I got onto the project, didn't seem I had a lot of time left on the project to fully develop the types of plans it seemed the company was seeking. A 3-month project was sold in, for what the company needed, someone needed to spend a good 6-9 months (if not longer) on their business to really make an impact. Initially, I didn't let that worry me though. I knew that whatever work I was going to do, had to be grounded in a framework and had to consider other methods of digital communications the company utilized (so as to not simply focus on social, but to connect the dots instead).

So I started with a White Board (as I tend to do when I'm thinking problems through). Starting with the notion that the client wanted to ATTRACT, ENGAGE, and INSPIRE its intended audiences, I came up with this.


I didn't think it was simply necessary for the client to think about how they engage audiences, but more into how they think about inspiring audiences. Engaging me, means simply you have my attention, but if you inspire me, you might actually drive me to do something. So Inspiring content or experiences go beyond engaging ones because they motivate me.

But this didn't seem to be enough. How was the client going to fully arrive at their business goals? They wanted to bring in new business and close deals, and they wanted to get their employees involved in social media. And so, I took it a step further, thinking more clearly about the stages. ACQUIRE, ACTIVATE, ADVOCATE.


I then realized that the framework had to be an amalgam of the two. With the right framework in place, I could apply to any client social media or content marketing problem. And not just specifically in this case. So here's what I finally came up with.

Based on this premise: Social media starts with uncovering your audience(s)’s needs, responding to those needs in relevant channels with engaging content that inspires them and turns them into loyalists and advocates who spread your message, converting them into brand advocates and ultimately sales.

Monitor & listen to your existing audiences and communities (employees, media, influencers, etc.) to uncover their needs and where they are so that you can deliver the right content in the right places.

Engage your audiences by creating compelling targeted content (campaigns, contests, crowdsourcing) tailored to specific audiences on specific platforms and distribute through paid and social media, implementing a process for tagging and SEO to acquire the right audiences in the right channels.

Inspire the audience with content that is provocative, visionary, differentiated, relevant, timely, positions you as a thought leader, fulfils their needs, and has a narrative to drive them to action. Include call to actions to share content, sign up for newsletters, take surveys, etc.

Acknowledge your engaged and inspired audiences via rewards (both tangible and intangible) such as RTs, Mentions, adding to a leaderboard, enabling co-creation (video or text story sharing), sharing in social stories, etc. Empower audiences to spread your story and awareness about your brand so that you can acquire new audiences.

Measure & Learn by setting up dashboards to measure against KPIs, to find influencers, to monitor sentiment, generate leads, and evaluate your messaging and campaigns in case you have to reset the agenda.

This is where your management and optimization comes in. Every few months you need to do an audit, not just looking at your own efforts, but your competitors as well. Also see what your influencers are doing (be they media, customers, employees, etc.). This will all help in developing future and better strategies.

And the cycle repeats.

What do you think? Are there any phases/steps missing from this framework/process?

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