Engagement Isn’t Always Easy

On January 6, 2009, in Social Media, by Josh Hallett

Building on the topic I started yesterday about social media monitoring and engagement, let’s dig a bit deeper into engagement and response.

Heading into Mplanet 2009, the four major topics are: Brand Building in a digital world, Connecting with empowered consumers, Marketing mix in a fragmented world & Global marketing on a borderless planet.

Engagement at the organizational level bridges two of those topics….let’s call it ‘Connecting in a Fragmented World.’ However, the fragmentation is internal.

It’s always fun when a blogger says a company just doesn’t get it because they won’t respond to an issue or complaint. If they only knew what was going on internally.

Responding online gets really tricky when you deal with large organizations with a number of different business units. I know that customers don’t care about internal organization charts, but they’re still a reality in corporations.

From yesterday’s post, it doesn’t matter if there is a Centralized of De-Centralized approach to social media monitoring. An issue is flagged and somebody else has to respond, somebody in another business unit.

First off, there might not be open lines of communication between the units. If there are, it’s often at a high level. I can just see one SVP asking another SVP at a direct reports meeting if somebody can respond to a blog post.

The task is now to track down the proper person and reach out to them…and just like you, they’re very busy. Not only do you have to convince them to take the time to respond, you often have to counsel them on the why, what and how. That education process is often the major pain point.

Some organizations are taking a proactive approach and attempting to develop internal ambassadors within business units to lead the charge, but once again that take time…not to mention finding the right people for the job. Just because somebody is eager (and has a personal blog) doesn’t mean they’re the prime candidate.

Another side of this is the agency association factor. What I mean by this is those of us that work on high profile client projects are also associated with the brands.

In two cases last year issues came up online and I had people e-mail me directly, first off asking if we knew anything about the issue, secondly asking if we could help. In both cases, I had to say, that’s two or three business units away. We can try to communicate with the right people, but it will be hard. Not really the best answer, but it’s a reality you need to deal with.


2 Responses to Engagement Isn’t Always Easy

  1. Tac Anderson says:

    I’m really enjoying this series. Were you listening in on my conf calls recently? :)
    I work primarily in the Imaging and Printing division and I mostly get questions about laptops through Twitter. I might now 5 people total in the Personal Systems Group. It would require me to move mountains to get an answer to a PC question. But like you said, that’s not the customers problem.
    Fortunately we are trying to develop cross functional groups to try and address these problems, but it doesn’t happen over night.
    Great insight, thanks for the posts.

  2. Josh Hallett says:

    Tac, that’s exactly what I’m talking about….you work for HP so you should be able to answer ALL my HP questions :-)

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