Social Engagement Journey

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Social Engagement Journey: this article explains the concept of Social Engagement Journey in a practical manner. After reading, you will understand the basics of this powerful marketin concept. This article contains a general definition of the concept, practical examples and tips. The Social Engagement Journey was developed by consultancy firm Ant’s Eye View in 2010. Enjoy reading!

What is the Social Engagement Journey?

This model focuses on the steps taken to achieve a fully ‘connected’ organization. These steps are part of a ‘journey’ that an organization can go through to reach this full connectedness. According to the authors, all steps are necessary to come to stage 5, the ultimate stage.

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The Four Stages of the Social Engagement Journey

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Stage 1 – Traditional

Stage 1 of the journey is traditional command and control. One-way communication with customers is the norm, and the various functional units in a company operate relatively independently.

Stage 2 – Dabbling in Silos

The second stage usually involves 1-2 individuals or teams who begin experimenting with social engagement. These mavericks can appear in any part of the organization but are often in marketing or support groups. There may be multiple mavericks in a company, but they are not yet connected to each other. Teams in this stage emphasize direct customer engagement, likely breaking or bending internal rules to make it happen.

Stage 3 – Operationalizing

Stage 3 is when companies begin getting serious about social. A formal team may be empowered to help operationalize social engagement, or there are informal internal communities that drive progress. At this stage, companies emphasize training, policies, measurement frameworks and common engagement platforms.

Stage 4 – Real Results

The fourth stage usually means social engagement is delivering real business results. Executive support is broad, and engagement efforts are built into forecasts and annual plans. Customer listening is the norm, and multiple individuals within business units and functional groups are empowered to engage directly with customers and prospects.

Higher stage

Most companies would feel very satisfied reaching Stage 4, but there is a higher stage of engagement possible.

Social engagement journey, stage 5 - ToolsHero

The Fifth Stage of the Social Engagement Journey

Stage 5 – Fully Engaged Enterprise

The ultimate situation, step 5, is probably nirvana given that many of the tools to achieve this stage don’t exist yet for enterprise-level companies, but we call it the Fully Engaged Enterprise. In it, companies experience breakthrough business results based on deep customer engagement. Customers say things like “You know what I need before I do” and “my life is better because of you,” or “I trust you.” That said, there’s a lot of foundation work to do in Stages 1-4, regardless of technology.

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More information

  1. Huba, J. (2010). The Social Engagement Journey. Retrieved from

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Original publication date: 03/09/2014 | Last update: 10/31/2022

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Bart van der Kooi
Article by:

Bart van der Kooi

Bart van der Kooi is a Digital Marketing Strategist at online marketing agency StormMC. His specialities are Social Media ROI, Social Media Models and Innovation. Bart gives workshops, presentations and keynotes. He is the creator of the website Social Media Models and author of the Dutch book 'Het Social Media Modellenboek'.


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