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Buying Into Digital Engagement

Senior management has good reasons for being leery of introducing social concepts to the workplace. Social in the workplace tends to draw the attention of the human resource department in a manner that is not always positive. The following is a way to breakthrough this paradigm and reap the benefits that digital engagement can provide.

Social Engagement
Social denotes friendly companionship, community, a club or event. The internet has afforded us new avenues for communicating with friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances. We have social networks and forums dedicated to this purpose. Engagement here is typically casual, friendly, and personal.

SEE: Social Media: Aiming to Create an Experience

So where do educators, businesses, scientist, etc. fit in? Their reason for existing does not necessarily include being your best friend and the communication method should not always be casual. It is really the “social” aspect that stumps many otherwise highly intelligent human beings from seeing the benefits of the “social web.”

Digital Engagement
So what’s the difference between social engagement and digital engagement? Social engagement and digital engagement are not mutually exclusive. Social engagement can be considered a segment of digital engagement simply because it occurs via digital means. Digital engagement lends itself to socializing; however, digital engagement also provides for education and research, business transactions, and consumerism.

The internet is where approximately 80% of the developed world and 30% of up and coming nations spend upward of 60% of their time online and approximately 20% of this time is spent making purchases or becoming an informed consumer in some manner. Sounds like it may be a good business reason to engage. An approach that highlights the benefits of engaging in the digital environment appeals to the business sense and the educational and research needs of the educator. Additionally, you’re not limited in the digital environment to pre-established social networks and forums. An organization is limited only by their imagination for how this space can be utilized to engage their audience.


SEE: 3 Greatest Risks Posed By Social Media


The Buy-in
When we have the right mindset, education, business, etc. versus following a blind lead it’s easier to gain the requisite buy-in. Proposals should include the following:
1) A statement about the activity and the expected outcome e.g. increased enrollment, increased student engagement, increased sales, increased membership, etc.
2) Research concerning an average annual return, what does the average institution or business experience in one year versus three years, versus five years of operating in the digital environment.
3) A cost-benefit analysis that indisputably shows that the benefit of implementation outweighs the costs of non-engagement. Note: if this analysis shows that the cost outweighs the benefits then a program should not be implemented.
4) An initial set of metrics the organization can track during the first year and expected performance as tailored to the particulars of the proposed program.
5) A detailed action plan for implementation including the required resources to successfully execute the program.
6) An exit strategy in case something changes or things do not work out as planned.

Senior management appreciates having the dots connected from concept to the bottom line. A proposal that takes all business aspects into consideration and lets them know what they should expect enables actual reflection on the feasibility of the plan as opposed to becoming hung up on details such as “social,” etc.

About the Author

Maisha Smart, MBA founded Finance and Marketing to help small businesses excel, by bridging the gap between finance and marketing processes. Some of her favorite activities include fine arts, a good debate, and social engagement.

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