Where Are You Along the Continuum of the “Five Levels of Social Media Engagement”?

Just as not all restaurants, auto manufacturers or artists are created equal, not all social media marketing efforts are created equal. Some marketers feel like it’s enough to simply have a Facebook page that serves as a relatively static landing point for curious potential customers. Others spend a lot of time, effort and resources to research and develop sophisticated social media engagement strategies that incorporate multiple social channels—and lead to some quantifiable desired results.

Obviously, we strive to encourage everyone to move into the latter camp; however, we recognize this isn’t always feasible and know that there is a wide spectrum of quality and effectiveness.

Adrian Dayton recently wrote a blog post for Clear View Social on the “Five Levels of Social Media Engagement.” While the post is specific to attorneys and law firms, the framework is well-thought-out and can easily be applied to any business. Here we’ve tweaked the names of the levels slightly to capture the broadly applicable elements of each level.

Level 5: General Corporate Accounts

Level 5 accounts aren’t necessarily inactive, like a rarely updated Facebook or LinkedIn page, but their content is generic and not targeted to any specific audience. Level 5 social media marketers know they should be using social media in their marketing efforts but don’t know quite how to do it, so they do the bare minimum in an attempt to “get by.”

Level 4: Specialized Corporate Accounts

“Firms that understand social media’s use for a strategic purpose will focus the right social media accounts on the right industries,” Dayton writes. These social media efforts are focused on hot topics and specific industries and audiences. The problem? They don’t go quite far enough toward developing a personal relationship that will lead to engagement and, ultimately, loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Level 3: Specialized Individual Accounts

Level 3 social media engagement is specialized and targeted in the same way we’ll see that Level 2 strategies are. The difference is that Level 3 engagement makes use of specific brand ambassadors to serve as the face of the company. This could be the owner of the company for a small- to medium-sized business, or key thought leaders or executives in a larger company. The point is that the audience has a real person they can identify with—rather than a corporate logo or a building.

Level 2: Specialized Individual Accounts Combined with Corporate Web Strategy

Level 2 engagement goes a bit further with the personalization we say in Level 3, to layer on a solid social media infrastructure that really leverages the personal connection. For instance, Dayton writes: “They will specifically build landing pages onto their website to deliver white papers or drive sign-ups for webinars on the topic.” That infrastructure allows for sophisticated coordination, tracking and measuring of social media activities tied to specific offers and outcomes.

Level 1: All Hands On Deck

As the name suggests, Level 1 involves a broader engagement from within the organization. Dayton’s article is specific to law firms and suggests having every attorney engaged in the coordinated social media strategy of the firm. That same strategy could work for consulting firms, accounting firms or other small service organizations. For larger organizations, this broader group will likely be a subset of the whole, so it isn’t literally all hands on deck. For example, a local television station might encourage all of its on-air personalities to participate in social media.


Your industry, your business type, your audience, your specific goals and objectives and, of course, your budget will all be factors that go into considering what Level of Social Media Engagement makes the most sense for you and your audience. A key element here, though, is simply taking the time to ask the question and carefully consider a strategy that will be right for you.


Recommended Reading:

Our book, The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement, contains some in-depth information on the pros/cons and best practice examples for how to use social media (and other) communication tools effectively for customer engagement.

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