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How to Encourage Customer Engagement Online
by Startacus Admin
Encouraging Customer Engagement Online
The online world is no longer an entity separate from the offline world. Even the most enlightened of Buddhist monks probably sneaks a peak at his smartphone every now and then (the Dalai Lama is on social media, after all). Businesses in particular, need to get with the times and adopt a serious online presence if they want to reach their full potential audience. There are plenty of ways to do this, from simple and easy things that take a few minutes out of your day, to more involved campaigns. Here are a few ideas on how to get started.
Twitter is the social media platform that sees the most interaction between users. Perhaps because it is quick and easy to respond to 140 characters with the same, people tend to respond to Tweets more than, say, Facebook posts (including retweeting).
Twitter chats are real-time conversations, most commonly at a scheduled time and using a hashtag specific to that conversation. The conversation can be about pretty much anything, but it should be interesting and, ideally, informative. Although you can start a discussion about whether the new Star Trek was better than the last one, it would probably be more beneficial to base the conversation on something relating to your business.
Have a clear idea of what you are hoping to get from the conversation and tailor it according to this. Engage with as many people taking part in the conversation as you can, have questions at the ready for when it starts to slow, and don’t be afraid to follow if the conversation gets off topic (but, equally, don’t be afraid to bring it back on topic).
Imagery and video
Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram, and Periscope are great ways to give your customers a look behind the curtain. As we have discussed in the above articles, this kind of look at the real people behind the polished façade of the business can do no end of good (unless you’re an awful person). Nobody likes a faceless corporation, and while your startup probably doesn’t qualify as such, letting your customers see that you and your staff are just ordinary people with the same interests and hobbies and sense of humour as them will help create an all-important connection.
Broadcast from events you’re attending, involve your customers in office parties and the like, give them an early look at a product before it launches, or just give updates and make them feel invested and involved in the company and its progress.
A good way of bringing online engagement into the real world is by offering free stuff. For example, a café might offer a free coffee or muffin to customers going in and quoting a word or phrase given out on social media. It’s a simple thing and doesn’t have to cost your business much (customers are likely to buy a coffee to go with their free muffin anyway), but can bring in new customers and increase your social media following in the process.
Not every startup has a physical location for customers to visit, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use this tactic. Perhaps tie it in with a Twitter chat, offering something to everyone who takes part. Or make it a part of your videos or Snapchat – creating a kind of treasure hunt via Snapchat has worked for businesses in the past.
User generated content
User generated content is a good way to both increase the amount of content on your site, interact with new and existing customers and, you might guess from the title, encourage customer engagement.
User generated content can start with the simple and obvious writing of articles, guest blog posts, etc. But the most useful and engaging way to go about it is, as is usually the case, by being unique. Get users to raise awareness of your brand by doing things that are interesting, fun, and rewarding for them. A base of engaged and loyal users can be better than the best team of marketing professionals. Here are some ways big brands have made the most of user generated content – perhaps your startup won’t be seeing the kind of returns these giants have, but we can certainly learn from them.
Be down with the kids
Show that you are still hip and groovy and such like by keeping up with current trends. At the moment, Pokémon Go is probably the best example. People playing Pokémon Go travel all over the place collecting Pokémon in the augmented reality app. ‘Pokéstops’ are brick and mortar locations where players can collect…stuff for the app. Restaurants, cafés, and the like can do extremely well by embracing this and advertising that Pokémon can be found inside, offering discounts to players working up a thirst and hunger, etc.
Again, if you do not have a physical shop, even something as simple as posting a picture of a Pokémon you found in the office can create interest. This is, of course, a fad that will pass, but keeping up with things like this will always be a good way of encouraging engagement.