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Agile Engagement, from the Mouths of the Experts

I have long considered the concept of agile engagement, and what it means to me as a PR professional increasingly moving into the social media realm. As time goes on, it becomes a larger part of my day-to-day role.  So, it was with great interest that I listened in on a recent PR Newswire-sponsored webcast entitled “Agile Engagement Unlocked.” Presenters included Kelly LeVoyer, director of marketing editorial at SAS Software, and Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing, whose discussion centered around the agile engagement construct created by PR Newswire.

Opening up the presentation, LeVoyer kicked off with an introduction of the six main tenets of agile engagement, which include listening and analysis, content creation and curation, audience targeting, message distribution, engagement and interaction, and measurement.

LeVoyer focused on the listen, engage and measure aspects, because she contends that too many organizations, including her own, focus too heavily on the “create” piece of the model.  She maintained that the listening phase was a key process that must be standardized and internalized, and that an organization must be able to assimilate and respond to commentary from the social sphere, as it occurs.

The next piece from LeVoyer’s presentation, which really got me thinking, was the engagement portion.  I think this segment resonated with me so strongly because of the significant evolution of the media over the past decade with the advent of social media platforms and the decline of traditional media outlets.  LeVoyer’s main contention here was that, as an agile communications professional, it is always smart to carry a broad definition of what constitutes an “influencer” in the next generation of media, which includes bloggers, Twitter users, etc.  She asserts that it can be a big detriment to an organization to only engage with people who have a huge number of followers or those with high Klout scores.  Rather, she believes that, by engaging everyone, companies can turn the average customer into a highly credible evangelist.

Finally, LeVoyer wrapped her portion up with a focus on measurement, and provided perspectives on how the listening and engaging stages are meaningless if the measurement stage does not occur.  She believes that, through monitoring all processes and dialogues involved with the engagement phase, companies are in essence, allowing their audiences to create content for them. She also noted that she has little sympathy for companies that complain about difficulties creating content, because if an organization can follow the listen, engage and measure phases, content creation will be easy.

Next up, Valerie Jennings provided a more macro view of her firm’s approach to agile engagement – the main focus of her presentation being the importance of meeting business goals and achieving monetization from social media marketing programs. She was quick to point out that achieving success in this area requires a significant amount of agile thinking.

Jennings focused on several areas of key importance when striving toward success.  These included setting quantifiable and attainable goals, taking full advantage of SEO opportunities (that can be strong indicators of audience behavior), and finally maintaining a thorough understanding of timeframes and sales cycles to set realistic goals to achieve monetization.

While I have provided a very brief discussion of the webcast and agile engagement, I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in learning more to visit the link to listen to the full audio.

Scott can be reached at ssmith@sterlingpr.com. Follow Scott on Twitter @RealAskScott.

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