The Concept of Social Engagement

‘Social Engagement’ is a new buzz in the field of marketing. Though the concept has existed for a long time, it has gained momentum only recently. Firms have started considering it as the key to success. Social engagement in the simplest terms means ‘engaging with the society’. Firms have understood that without connecting to the society, it is almost impossible to survive and flourish. But this concept is often misunderstood as ‘social media’ or ‘social marketing.’ Social engagement is rather a broad term and it encompasses these terms. Social media is only a tool for social engagement. Social engagement rather can be understood as a means to accomplish business objectives through connecting to the society in some or the other way. It is not only a marketing tool but a complete business tool. Sometimes people also misinterpret it as an internet-based activity but that is not true. Social engagement involves a holistic approach to reach to the target market.

Rise in Social Engagement

The two basic reasons for the growing popularity of social engagement as a business tool include:

  • Globalization: The firms are going global and in order to be successful in global markets, they need to identify and connect to the local market.
  • Increasing Competition: The increasing numbers of supplements available in the market make it mandatory to differentiate and promote the offering. Social engagement does it.

Benefits of Social Engagement

Once a company connects to the society, there is no end to the benefits bestowed upon it. Regular interactions with the society in general through any means help the company to:

  1. Understand the demand better
  2. Develop better offerings
  3. Improve product innovation
  4. Improve customer value
  5. Gain brand recognition
  6. Strengthen customer relationships

Social engagement is a very helpful strategy especially for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) as these firms get an opportunity to become visible socially.

Tools for Social Engagement

The firms can connect to the society in numerous ways but mostly these tools come under three broad categories:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities
  • Social media marketing
  • Localizing the business model

Guidelines for Effective Social Engagement

Social engagement if carried out properly as a business strategy can lead to winning results for the company but at the same time, if it is not carried out effectively it will only result into adding to costs and spoiling the company’s image. In current market scenario, the firms should confirm about the following while designing their social engagement strategy.

  1. The social engagement activities must adhere to the business vision and objectives
  2. Social engagement strategy should be drafted considering its corporate impact as well as social impact.
  3. The social engagement strategy should be flexible so that it can easily be changed according to market dynamics
  4. There should be a blend of social engagement tools in the strategy
  5. The message to be conveyed should be designed very accurately
  6. Though social engagement involves spreading a social message but target consumers should be well defined
  7. There should be regular review of firm’s social engagement strategy

The Case Study

As far as localizing their business model is concerned, Sony Corporation is one of the prominent examples of social engagement. When the company introduced its range of electronics in China, it faced the tough challenge of changing Chinese consumers’ perception about expensive Japanese electronics. The company adopted social engagement strategy to identify and understand Chinese consumers and modified its business model according to them. The company also secured local management resources and redefined its value chain and is now a huge success in China.

References

  • D’Costa, A. (2012). Globalization and Economic Nationalism in Asia. UK: Oxford University Press.

Ankita Agarwal

Analyst at Project Guru
Ankita is working with the editorial board of Project Guru as a Research Analyst and Writer. With Masters in Commerce and Business Studies, Ankita learned much of what she knows about management through experience. She has previously worked in various financial institutions like Birla Global, HDFC Ltd. and Citi Financial. She is self-motivated and writes for the Knowledge Tank section of Project Guru. She has authored more than 80 articles so far in Human Resources Management, Strategic Management, Finance and Marketing. She likes to pen her thoughts about the latest issues gripping these areas across the world.

Related articles

  • Social Engagement at Sony Corporation The Sony Group, a leading multinational and a world leader in electronics is one of the most prominent examples of social engagement.
  • The role of non-monetary costs In recent years economists have recognized that monetary price is not the only sacrifice consumers make to obtain products and services.
  • Emergence of social network marketing in India Social network web portals like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus YouTube, Pinterest and blogging platforms enable followers to “post”, “tweet”, “retweet” or “repost” comments instantly. Messages are viewed by other visitors. Thus, social network websites work as a source for word of mouth […]
  • Review websites are a great way to socialise a business This article explores the reasons behind the fading away of traditional way of searching in comparison with to the rise of trends in increased usage of review websites, reasons behind such rise, and role they play in influencing consumers’ decisions.
  • Blogs as a tool for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Blogs have gained increased prominence as a search engine optimisation (SEO) tool. However, not much of the mainstream media recognises this fact.

Discuss

We are looking for candidates who have completed their master's degree or Ph.D. Click here to know more about our vacancies.