How will you ensure that your social marketing engagement is on target to support your brand’s marketing priorities?

A lot of B2B social media marketers struggle with how to sustain the social engagement of their Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with the target audience. I’ve done a good amount of work in this area and have built an approach I call social ecosystem mapping. In this post I’ll share the inputs required for building a social map. I’ll also provide you some tips on how to organize your social coverage model, selecting the best suited SMEs for engagement and how to support them with content.

Taking the time to build a social map will position your SMEs not only to represent their expertise but also to express brand/product value in the exchange. Ultimately SMEs will be well supported to sustain social engagement long term with the target audience as brand evangelists.

Social ecosystem mapping

Here’s an outline of the steps to build an informed engagement plan based on social research and marketing priorities


1. Prioritize the idea/message for which you want to be known based on your business priorities and marketing objectives
2. Monitor the dialogue by conducting social monitoring research based on the key topics of contextual relevance
3. Analyze research findings and use the insights to inform your engagement plan and set priorities

Now you’re ready to build a map of the social ecosystem based on these insights.

By topic map out:

1. Communities and top domains for targeting

2. Influencers/Authors that are considered leading authorities in the dialogue

3. Select the best suited internal SMEs for engagement. You will want to choose those that are well positioned to provide sought after expertise and can provide business value in the exchange. (There will likely be multiple SMEs, try to map them to support the outreach based on their ability to support the progression stages mentioned in #6 below)

4. Determine the SMEs enablement requirements based on an assessment of their social readiness and develop support

5. Evaluate content requirements; determine the assets required to support SMEs in their ongoing dialogue.

6. Select assets. It’s best to map the assets out by the progression path of the dialogue. For example classify assets based on consideration stages: Awareness, Consideration, Interest, Evaluation, Final Selection, Sale and Post Sale

7. Prepare assets for digital distribution, optimizing content for search, content tagging etc.

8. Determine an editorial calendar. Timing and cadence. This will need to be built based on your content develop process.

With this social ecosystem mapping complete, you are now ready to provide it as guidance to your team of SMEs. I have found SMEs to welcome this kind of engagement guidance. It helps them to focus their time and effort in social where they will provide the most value. It also ensures that their outreach is aligned to your brands business priorities and marketing objectives. Supporting them with content at each stage ensures that they are on brand/on message. If they follow the map, they will be well positioned for effective long term engagement that will drive business outcomes.

9. Activate SMEs to establish & build relationships in targeted communities, top domains and with key influencers.

Relationship building on-line takes time. With this map SMEs will focus their efforts on nurturing the most important, high value relationships in the target segments. Ultimately, if influencers receive value from your SMEs they will become advocates & foster advocacy on behalf your brand sharing with their followers & extended networks.

10. Ongoing monitoring and measurement is imperative to ensure that you stay abreast of changes in the social ecosystem. Providing you an understanding of what’s working or not working in the engagement model. Be prepared to take action based on what the measurements are telling you. Make necessary adjustments. Measure if these adjustments have a positive or negative impact. Social ecosystems are dynamic so you will want to be fine tuning your engagement model on a regular basis.



This post first appeared at: Targeted social media marketing engagement – Building Social Brands | Building Social Brands.

About Susan Emerick

Susan Emerick is recognized by industry leaders as the foremost authority on building, implementing, and measuring successful advocacy programs for leading brands.

Susan is the co-author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth: How to Transform Teams, Empower Employees, Integrate Partners and Mobilize Customers to Beat the Competition in Digital and Social Media – A must read for anyone striving to build brand advocacy.

Prior Susan led global enterprise social business and digital marketing programs for IBM where she led the technology giant’s social media strategy including social media listening and planning, brand engagement guidelines, social media governance, policy and measurement standards.

She serves on the advisory board of Social Media Today and is an active member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association where she serves on the Research and Measurement Council, and in 2013 she co-authored the WOMMA Influencer Guidebook. In 2011, Susan was named to the elite iMedia Top 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators.

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