Engaging with audience goes beyond offering 24/7 customer support or handing out discounts. It’s about making people enjoy your service. Social media makes it very easy to share your thoughts about certain products or businesses. That’s why people increasingly go online to say what they think of brands/companies, explaining why they like them or not.
To make sure you stay on the safe side, you have to mitigate the negativity and multiply the positivity. In order to achieve that, you need to properly build your online presence, keeping your goals and strategy in mind. Here are 7 simple customer engagement strategies to help you connect to your customers and make your brand stand out.
1. Get noticed
Social media is a great platform to let your business off the leash for a while. Places like Twitter or Facebook love personas with a voice. Such people get interest, admiration, and even some viral traction for your company. Use your voice if you have something to say, but if you don’t – let voicey personas & influencers say it for you.
Wendy’s is a great example of a company using the power of Twitter to the fullest extent. This burger chain managed to gain a great deal of attention with its legendary roasts of other fast-food chains.
Source: Wendy’s Twitter
Such social media behavior has gotten Wendy’s much attention. But things have gone farther when a 16-year-old nugget-loving student posted this:
Source: Carter Wilkerson’s Twitter
The tweet blew up almost overnight. Shared by celebrities, corporations, and even governors, it clocked in at over 3.4M retweets. The young man ended up seating on the episode of Ellen’s Show, staring in Katy Perry’s music video, and getting a year’s worth of Wendy’s nuggets for free.
Wendy’s did a great job of engaging with its community on Twitter. They couldn’t buy that kind of publicity. No one can.
The only way to make your brand feel alive is by making it so. There is no other way.
2. Don’t cross the line
Wendy’s followers have got quite a sense of humor, which is no bad. However, there’s a very fine line between sassy and offensive. Almost every social media manager had failed with some pre-scheduled posts appearing in the wrong time and getting wrong interpretations.
Social media users are always on the lookout for something fresh and spicy. Razer’s jokey tweet about Apple offended MacBook Pro users instead of getting them engaged in the discussion.
The original post was deleted, with Razer offering a light-hearted version of an apology.
Source: Razer’s Twitter
This message got even more users angry. As a result, Razer did get some hype, but definitely not the type it was hoping to. This proves that deeming your posts rude, sexist or racist is always easier than understanding your sassy jokes.
Don’t be like Razer – don’t cross the line.
3. Push creativity limits
Humans are intersectional. They enjoy experiencing all at once. They engage with your brand on different levels, even if some of them don’t have any relation to your product.
Don’t pitch your services – tell stories. Using imagery can help you at this stage. Beautiful stories underpinned with imagery that evokes some of the deepest senses helps you hit the end-user.
Photography and videos resonate with human feelings better than texts. MAM Originals does a great job of proving this. The brand creates wooden watches with a modern twist, using influential videos to promote them.
Embed video: https://www.instagram.com/p/BpFZ_g6Fbj7/
For some brands, hiring multimedia artists & animators is expensive. They give up this idea and miss out on the opportunity to stand out. The tricky thing is that you don’t need designers to create engaging videos. Tools like Crello cut the middleman out of content creation. Go through a few articles on their blog, and you’ll get a hold of how they manage to do that.
4. Be human
At the core of everything, it’s important to understand customer needs and show how they relate to your product. This is much easier for consumer brand giants like Nike and much more complex for highly regulated businesses or B2B companies. Even so, it’s always possible to humanize your brand with no need to squeeze it into a fake influencer.
Find a person within your company who is keen on design/marketing/whatever else and turn this person into a natural communicator. Brian Chesky, co-founder, and CEO of Airbnb writes a blog which is incredibly popular on Medium. Brian’s brilliant piece about 7 rejections went viral nearly overnight, making more than 14K people clap in delight.
Go social – but stay human. Let your employees express their opinions, share thoughts, and engage with your audience in a way that suits your brand best.
5. Stay multi-channel
People are ultra-picky in terms of which social media channels to go for. Some opt for a variety of platforms, others use just the best-fitting one. To make sure your social media presence aligns with customer needs, you should be present on a multitude of channels, offering a top-notch user experience across all of them.
Quora has recently introduced its Spaces section – a great opportunity to become a thought leader in your industry. Slack is another not-so-obvious platform that might be worth a shot. Buffer has built up a great community there. Having a channel on Slack lets you communicate with your customers on a human-to-human basis. Many other companies now benefit from this tactic.
Think out of the box to choose the right channels to stick to. Dare to use platforms your competitors miss out.
6. Share customer stories
People are eager to believe other people. That’s why user-generated content performs better than traditional brand messaging. Users enjoy reading customer stories in all possible forms and formats. User photos, testimonials, reviews, and success stories – all these types of content perform incredibly well, connecting your leads with an existing user base.
ASOS takes advantage of using this tactic occasionally.
The brand shares pictures of its customers wearing recently-bought clothes from the shop. This inspires other customers to engage with this brand in hopes of getting published.
Source: ASOS Instagram
7. Go behind-the-scenes
People enjoy interacting with people, not brands. By taking your customers behind the scenes, your brand comes across as alive. This helps you to preserve your brand image, showing people who stay behind your company.
Caterpillar has a great website section – ‘Meet our team’. Each website visitor gets a chance to go through team member stories, explore their role in a company, and get a deep dive into their biographical patterns.
Brands are all about people. By taking your customers behind the scenes, you let them know your company and employees a little better. This builds trust and narrows gap between you and your customers.
The customer engagement quest is never-ending. Though sometimes using all strategies seems overwhelming, the results are most likely to pay off. Start a dialogue, dare to experiment, go beyond your competitors, and count on the results in the long run.