Customer Engagement Strategies to Grow your Brand14.08.19
A good brand, new or established, is one that develops brand loyalty and therefore has lots of returning customers. The key to developing this loyalty is to engage your customers. Take a look at these effective multi-channel strategies:
Millennial audiences are savvier than ever as to a brand's authenticity, values and intentions. They are hyper-aware of living in a consumerist society where companies are constantly trying to sell to you - and instead they want to be persuaded to follow a brand, not just a product, that will build a relationship with them and nurture meaningful experiences. This generation will engage with a business on their own terms. In the dark times of Brexit uncertainty, it is more important than ever for brands to distinguish themselves from competitors and show customers what they mean to them.
1. Share customer stories and posts on social media
People nowadays want to be the storytellers, not just the readers. In this era of 'me', which has grown rapidly with the advancements of social media, the consumer is just as much their own independent brand as the ones they are buying from. Companies therefore need to collaborate with this army of individuals in order to appeal to them. People are much more likely to engage with content that involves consumers like themselves, rather than just your brand's messaging. This type of content is proven to be more relatable and more trustworthy.
Use social media to share your customers' stories or posts, and likewise they will promote you more with @ mentions. Vary the style of user-generated content that you encourage, from user-submitted photos to reviews and testimonials. This strategy also helps to demonstrate your brand's appreciation for your existing customers and creates a dialogue of mutual appreciation. For a consumer-facing event, distinguish an event hashtag that the guests can all use to post on social media, and then share their content to spread the attention even further.
For example, Away is a company that have seen staggering growth online thanks to sharing UG content featuring their suitcases and general travel photos. They currently have over 500k followers on Instagram and hundreds of people use the hashtag #travelaway in hopes of being featured. ASOS use a similar technique of occasionally sharing pictures of their customers wearing clothes from the store, which further promotes the brand's renowned relatability. It's consumer-focused techniques like this that have secured ASOS as the UK's best online shopping site.
2. Create opportunities for direct communication
When customers are able to directly communicate with your brand, it is easier for them to engage with you. Enhancing the ease in communication will undoubtedly increase your engagement rate and allow for your customers to connect with you more often and freely.
Events are a fantastic way to get that face-to-face contact. Not only do they help brands to fully understand their customer's personas and needs, but they also show customers that there are real people behind your brand. People are more keen to interact with human beings rather than just a company voice - that's why it's important to try to infuse personality into your online and print tone of voice where possible. A live experience is also more memorable and impactful than any other type of online marketing or flyering, both of which can easily get lost in the saturation of businesses trying to be heard. It takes away the chance of someone getting disheartened due to their comments being lost in a post or their message being responded to slowly - aspects which community engagement managers should guard carefully to maintain brand followers.
3. Exchange rewards with actions
Rewarding your customers when they take a certain action can enable you to form a positive feedback loop. Consumers will be keen to interact with you if they are getting something in return - be it special offers, discounts or coupons - and this will also increase the likelihood of repeat purchases and positive associations.
Some companies, such as M&S, even reward loyal 'Sparks' members with an exclusive invitation to a press preview of the new collection. Twice a year these guests get a first look at items, presented beautifully in an out of store venue space, and this strengthens the joy they feel about their brand membership and the items on offer. Other retail outlets such as H&M might use a reward scheme in order to attract sudden hype and media attention - they occasionally throw events involving music artist collaborations whereby H&M followers will have to win a ballot to gain coveted entry.
4. Have a bit of fun
Fun is a crucial ingredient to a brand identity and the impression it gives off. After all, are you more likely to want to hang out with your fun friend who'll cheer you up or the always sensible one? Of course, whatever you do still has to fit with your brand style, but it doesn't mean you can't be imaginative. Interactive activities online and in person will help to drive engagement and have your customers looking for their next thrill with you.
Have an idea for an event to engage your customers? Drop us a message!