Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Digital media has completely changed the landscape for brands to reach, inform, and interact with their audience. The days of slapping an ad in a magazine, on a billboard, on T.V., or on the radio and leaving it there are gone. Now, customers demand ENGAGEMENT and they demand it FAST.
We see many companies making the same mistake over and over again. They post on social media or run a digital ad and they leave it there, just like a billboard. Not engaging with your audience will lead to potential customers driving right by your content on the internet highway without stopping. Not engaging with your audience online is just like taking out a billboard on the side of the road.
How Do You Engage?
1) Be Social
Engaging with your audience is not rocket science. The most important aspect of engaging is to actually engage and to be social. This means that when someone comments on your social media post, comment back at least 90% of the time. When someone shares your content, take the time to thank them, and like their share. If someone mentions your brand, mention them back! Many brands never get involved in the conversations that are happening about them, and those are missed opportunities. You should strive to jump into the conversations surrounding your brand because you can connect further with your audience AND you can better control how you're perceived.
2) Be Natural
We talk about this in Marketing Tip Tea Time at 2:22 - Don't Be A Billboard on our Facebook Page. Talk to your audience as if you're talking to an old friend. You want to build trust and be authentic. Make your audience comfortable by mentioning specific followers, respond to questions and concerns honestly, and build rapport by remembering clients and what's important to them. Be confident, be relaxed, and don't be super selly. No one likes sell-sell-sell messaging. You are more likely to lose followers if more than 10% of your content is a direct sell.
3) Offer Actual Value
Selling is not actual value. Constantly posting product or service pictures is not actual value. Spam is not actual value. Help your audience to solve a problem, make their lives better, entertain them... do really anything OTHER than a direct sell. Come up with creative ways to show that your product or service is beneficial to your audience in a helpful manner. Share articles and other organizations' content to back up your organization. This blog is an example of providing value to an audience. We've developed an article that we believe will help organizations to successfully engage with their customers. No direct sell, no pressure, just good information.
4) Timing is Important
The best time to respond to a comment, share, or other engagement on your digital media is immediately. If you have a chance to respond, do it! Even if you don't know the answer to a question right away, or don't know how to respond, say you'll find out and get back to them. React to the comment so they know that you saw them and come back to answer later. The sooner the better.
In order to get more engagement on Facebook, be sure to post at the right time! To do this:
Go to your organization page
Click on "Insights" in the top menu
Click on "Posts" in the left-hand menu
Look at the graph "When Your Fans Are Online" and hover over certain days to see the time that your audience is on Facebook.
As you can see in the screenshot above, 7:00 PM is the best time to post on Zova Marketing's Facebook Page throughout the week. The most followers are online during this hour, which means that posts are most likely to reach the largest audience!
5) Thank Your Followers
This is a very simple concept: everyone loves to be acknowledged, so when someone deserves acknowledgment, give them a shoutout! When you have a fan that constantly shares your content, thank them. When you have someone who comments on your posts, thank them. When you have a customer who leaves a good review for your business, THANK THEM! Always be thankful for the followers and fans you have and make sure to highlight them. On our show, Marketing Tip Tea Time at 2:22, we frequently thank Aaron's mom, because she's always commenting, liking, and sharing! It doesn't matter who it is, you can always say thank you.
6) Improve Your Website
We would talk about this here, but our good friend Daniel at Daniel James Media wrote an amazing article on his website about this! Check out his blog, 20 Quick Tips to Increase Your Website Traffic Engagement for Great ROI
Here are 5 stats about engagement straight from Daniel's article:
67% of customers say that their standard for good customer experience is higher than ever before. (Salesforce)
73% of customers say that one very good customer experience raises their expectations of other companies. (Salesforce)
63% of consumers say that the best brands are the ones that exceed expectations throughout the customer journey. (Wunderman).
90% of customers think it is important to receive an immediate response to a customer support question. (Hubspot).
85% of consumers won’t do business with a company if they’re concerned about its security practices. (pwc).
This is important. Follow-up is possibly one of the most forgotten aspects of engaging and building a customer relationship. After a customer does anything; buys something, leaves a review, comments, mentions, emails, ANYTHING - you need to send a follow-up. This could be a thank you, this could be a coupon code for them to buy again. It could be a comment, a message, an email, a text, a letter; anything you can do to re-engage them after initial communication. At Zova, we send a Thank You card to every new client. Some of our clients send thank you cards and a coupon code to follow-up. One of our clients sends an "Are You Happy Card" in which they ask the customer if they're satisfied with their purchase. If they are, the letter asks them to leave a review. If they're not, the letter asks them to contact customer service BEFORE they leave a negative review so that they can make it right. There are a million ways to follow-up and it doesn't matter so much how you do its long as you do it.
Here's the Marketing tip Tea Time at 2:22 that aired on August 21, 2020. Aaron and Daniel talk about engagement across digital media platforms and how to drive and build an audience that keeps coming back for more:
What are some ways that you drive engagement with your organization?
Leave your comment below!