Around 2015, ‘engagement’ became one of the main buzzwords in personal and business branding. And it’s remained a main buzzword since. But what exactly is engagement? Why is it important? And how do you do it effectively? These questions are what we’ll be tackling today.
Engagement is how you interact and connect with your ideal customers. This can be both past and potential customers, as well as the general market.
Engagement is important now more than ever because there’s a lot of noise out there. Every day, the average consumer is bombarded with advertisements. On television, social media platforms, websites, mobile applications, advertisement messages are everywhere. But advertisements speak to your audience. Engagement speaks with them. There’s a big difference.
This is why engagement is so effective at building audience trust and relationships, understanding customer needs, and even creating raving fans who spread the word about your products and services.
It’s how you interact with customers, your general audience, team, and collaborators.
Engagement gives your business a chance to form solid lasting connections. As we emphasized in the Brandview Framework,connections drive customer relations and influence buying decisions. This is internal and external engagement. Internal being the engagement within your organization and external being everyone else.
Let’s focus on the external. That is, engagement with your audience. This is the group of people that include your ideal buyers (potential, current, and repeat).
So, how do you drum up engagement with your customers?
First, we’ll look at an example of a business doing an outstanding job. Then we’ll break down the fundamental steps to effective engagement.
What does effective engagement look like?
The fast-food restaurant chain, Wendy’s social media messages and campaigns stand apart from their competition. They may struggle in other areas, but not in terms of social media engagement. Their messages are often funny, relatable, and interactive. They’re not speaking to their customers, they’re engaging with them. The difference shows.
How to successfully engage with your customers
1. Define your intention – What is the purpose of the engagement? Get specific.
2. Strategize – create a solid strategy for how and when you will engage with your audience.
3. Use what you have – Do you already have an online brand community? Tap into that community. They’re already there and have signed up to be a part of your ‘Village’, your community.
Want a few more ideas for customer engagement?
• Interactive Emails – many businesses think the purpose of emails is to sell products and services. Selling your offers is an indirect email intention. Your direct intention is to first engage. Through engagement, you build trust, inform, educate, or even inspire. This encourages interaction and influences buying decisions. You can also use email to open a conversation. Depending on your business, and whether you have a team in place, you can encourage email readers to respond with feedback, comments, or questions.
• Social media campaigns centered around interaction. From Facebook groups and pages to Instagram and Twitter hashtags, social media offers plenty of engagement opportunities.
• Community initiatives such as Forum. Think online forums are a thing of the past? You’d be incorrect. There are still thousands of active online forums. They do require maintenance and resources to manage the content, but they can be a thriving platform for engagement.
• In-person events – In this digital age, we sometimes forget that in-person connection remains the most effective way to engage with people. Your market, your ideal customers are still people, not numbers on a screen. Live interaction is typically more effective than digital interaction.
So, what will you do to drum up engagement in the coming months? Create a solid plan with clear intentions and get started. Engagement isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a necessary component of your branding strategy. It’s effective, and it works to boost your business and brand.