Engagement as a Strategy to Be and Stay Competitive

In a recent article Michael Brito wrote that  community management must be considered a strategic imperative. In execution this might be certainly the case, but not community management must be considered as an imperative, but Engagement must be. Read further why engagement has to be your strategy.

In the current environment of a global economic downturn, new and global competition, deleveraging, the increasing power of the consumer, transparency, business models and new technologies and solutions, businesses have to adapt faster than ever before to become and stay viable.

It may sound counter-intuitive but the human capital is more important than ever, employees are the true competitive advantage in businesses and on the other hand, consumers are getting more demanding. Consumers need to be persuaded, it’s not as easy as decades ago in a product focussed environment.

People are not a part of the ‘mechanical processes’ that happen in businesses, people direct and control processes, they take action on anomolies and so on.

Due to social media, transparency and the understanding of the importance of the human capital, conversations and communication in all this is key. As a company, you are your conversations! Social media technologies amplify those conversations, be it in a positive way but also a negative way.

This is where the community manager kicks in, below in the article you will find a great infographic that shows the many hats a community manager has, but before going there, what is the outcome of conversations?

Engagement performance

Conversations drive engagement and engagement drives performance. I’ve done a lot of research in (employee / stakeholder) engagement and more and more studies show the effect of engagement in relation to business outcomes.

Gallup for instance shows a performance related boost of 240% when both employees and customers are engaged. Most importantly is to remember that the workforce engages with customers that create the bottom-line results for you as a company.

Community managers have an important interface role between external stakeholders and internal stakeholders.

Pick your community managers carefully

Lominger has shown that interface roles can increase their performance heavily when people have the right competencies to achieve high-performance that adds extra value to the bottom-line.

Another reason why community managers are key to engagement as a strategy, is that social business, which could be seen as a construct where engagement is the foundation, is enabling a resilient and agile organization. Read my elaboration on social business as enabler here.

Community managers or those that are responsible for social media in the organization need to find sponsors and educate the organization why social media as vehicle is important. People do business with people, and engagement is your strategy!