Engagement, especially online engagement, is key to building loyalty and turning customers into brand ambassadors. And while Millennials and Gen Z may be known for their internet habits, they’re not the only ones looking to engage online. So how can your brand earn that all-important online engagement? Here are some of our top tips…
This one should be obvious, but in order to engage online your brand will need to have a presence there. Nowadays people expect your brand to have a website, and in many cases a Facebook page, to be considered “trustworthy.” That’s not to say you need to be everywhere but do your research and set up camp where your target audience is already active.
Provide Relevant Content
From blogs and newsletters to whitepapers, eBooks, sell-sheets and more. Content should be tailored to your prospects’ needs throughout the buyer’s journey. This helps to establish your brand as an industry thought leader and increase engagement.
Share links to your blog or other content offers on social media and other digital channels, and make it available for download on your website. Have a steady stream of content prospects would find valuable? Invite them to sign up for a newsletter or digest so they can stay in the know. If your content is relevant enough you’ll keep them coming back for more and establish yourself as one of their go-to information sources.
Want to make your content even more engaging? Consider…
Incorporating User-Generated Content
User-generated content isn’t just for B2C brands. B2B brands can join in too. From Instagram photos to product reviews, take advantage of the wealth of content your users are already producing to showcase an authentic point-of-view.
Making It Interactive
Who hasn’t found themselves accidentally playing one of those Google doodle games for hours? Consider incorporating things like interactive quizzes, polls or self-assessments into your content strategy as a way to encourage active participation and engagement with your brand’s content.
Target, Target, Target
One way of the best way to increase your brand’s online engagement? Target only the folks who matter most. One of the great things about digital marketing is the ability to zero in on one (or a couple) highly targeted audience segments. Have a message that only speaks to one group of customers? You’re not alone. There is where those buyer personas you’ve heard so much about come in handy. Use paid search to drive these personas to key pages on your website, segment those email lists and take advantage of paid social media offerings to reach only these folks.
Host Contests and Giveaways
Everyone likes free stuff. Consider hosting a contest or giveaway (bonus points if it’s gated so you can capture those all important leads) to encourage engagement with your brand. You can promote these on your brand’s social media platforms as well as via email and other digital channels.
Participate in Online Conversations
But don’t just jump on any trending hashtag. After all, National Cookie Day may be relevant to Oreo, but it’s probably not relevant to your B2B software company. Make sure the conversations you join are relevant to your brand and your customers. One great way to do this is live tweeting conferences and events to share insights in real time. HubSpot does a great job of this with their annual Inbound Marketing Conference.
Be Accessible and Invite Feedback
There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a brand’s contact information online and not being able to find anything, except maybe feeling like you’re firing messages into a black hole. Make sure you’re responding to any inquiries you receive and consider including options like live chat on your website (like our friends at Facebook) to make it even easier for people get in touch. With so much information at our fingertips nowadays people expect you to be accessible online and off. Have a person or a team of designated community managers who are responsible for managing conversation around your brand (positive and negative) and consider creating guidelines to streamline the process.
Bring the Offline Experience Online (and Vice Versa)
Include your social media handles and website on printed collateral sent to customers, used by your sales team or present at your physical offices. If you’re hosting an event consider live streaming so folks who can’t attend can join virtually, projecting a wall of social media mentions using your hashtag and having Instagram-worthy social media photo ops available for attendees.
At the end of the day, online engagement is all about building relationships and getting people involved with your brand. Questions about how you can put this into practice? Let us know in the comments.
Kaitlyn is Lead Social Media Strategist and an all-weather beach enthusiast. When she’s not creating integrated social media strategies or launching campaigns, you can find her traveling and looking for the best local eats, hopefully at the same time.