This year CMSWire closely examined the different ways companies are approaching web engagement management (WEM). From the iPhone to the iPad to mobile browsers, applications and beyond one thing became clear: engagement environments extend far beyond the desktop. As well, organizations had more to compete with in order to win the attention, never mind the hearts and minds, of their audience. Here’s a review of the key WEM ideas and lessons learned in 2010.

1. Multichannel Engagement

So many platforms, so little time. In 2010, we saw the emergence of multiple, new channels. From the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid to the iPad, Kindle and the devices they inspired, content lives and breathes across many different platforms. Ideally, the user should be able to travel seamlessly between each without missing a step, unaware that though the platform may change, the content is presented in a way that is customized.

Creating content for multiple channels in one thing, managing it all is another. As these technologies evolve, content management has to catch up, and fast. In addition, organizations can no longer ignore standards and best practices and are strongly encouraged to produce, publish and police guidelines that optimize content and experiences.

2. Social Engagement

Engaging users across social media platforms has become a full time job. Not only do you need to participate, you need to be able to monitor and analyze the chatter. In 2010, we highlighted tools that make it easier for you to monitor your company’s reputation while keeping an ear out for potential pitfalls or valuable critique.

But social engagement is not just about media; it’s also about developing and cultivating personal relationships. Through blogs, wikis and social profiles, companies have a plethora of ways to showcase their talents and quirks, aimed at building loyalty and maintaining transparency.

3. Customer Experience

It was previous thought that the flashier the website, the more engaged and impressed the customer would be. But overtime we learned that the two don’t necessarily equate. In order to cultivate a customer experience that results in a desired behavior, web sites should seek to simplify, rather than complicate the online experience.

The web used to be about one-way communication. Now we're all a bubble in conversations. It’s not just what you’re saying, but what others are saying about you, around you and to you that matters. By engaging in conversations, the customer experience is no longer contained within the pages of your website. Monitoring bathroom walls, as well as the society pages becomes a crucial aspect of a company’s communication strategy as well as customer relations management.

4. Personalization

By using real-life consumer interactions and applying them to online situations, we learned the importance of personalization. Going far well beyond standard demographics, companies can begin to hone in on their target customers. It used to be that knowing one’s likes or dislikes was for the Dating Game, but now interactive technologies can gather fascinating pieces of info, which can be used to create the whole user, not just parts of him.

The other side of personalization belongs not to the customer, but to the company or brand. In order to persuade visitors to browse, shop and buy, there needs to be a convincing story.

A brand’s persona

must resonate with a prospective customer, client or user. In order to develop a story with which users can identify, companies need to do their research.

5. Optimization

Once you’ve developed ways to manage the different web engagement strategies, it’s crucial that you have solutions in place to analyze it all. Doing something just to do something is very web 1.0. Measuring, testing and analyzing customer, multichannel and social engagement is what’s required.

In 2010, we profiled tips and tricks designed to make the process easier. Knowing how to test is just as important as knowing what to test and why. By clearly defining the goals of pages on your site, be it mobile or web, measuring outcomes can be much more effective. As well, knowing them in advance, can guide design decisions before a site altogether. By accepting that your web site is never a finished product, but a work in progress makes adapting web optimization practices easier in the long run.