Back in the day “being where your customers are” was quite literally being on the shop floor. It means something different today, but the principles of customer engagement haven’t changed much even if the space has. You do still want to talk to them, ask them what they’re looking for, help them find it, advise them how best to use it, and ask them if they’re happy. Chances are they will talk to others about your business offering because they received excellent service. Shop floor or digital platform, you still need the personal touch and first impressions are as important as ever.
“People will go where they will go,” says content strategist Troy Lambert (signspan.com), and it’s your job to meet them there. How, though?
Step 1: Ask a question about a pain point
Customers need to know what you’re offering and how they or their lives will benefit from it. This can be done by asking questions pertinent to pain points (Tax guy not working out?) and offering an immediate solution (Our experts offer a 48-hour turnaround time for tax returns). Marketers refer to this as a “hook”.
Step 2: Advertise
Even the best hook isn’t going to work if potential customers don’t see it. You have a message, now it needs to be shared. The best way to do this is by boosting important posts, and for this stage to be successful, you need to do your research. When is your customer most likely to see your ad? Targeted advertising through sponsored (bought media) can be based on demographics (age, gender, race), psychographics (consumer values, personality, interests) purchase history and browser history. This means that consumers with preferences related to your product and/or services are more likely to receive your message than those who don’t, thus eliminating wastage.
Step 3: Make an offer
Introduce your products and/or services with discounts, coupons and special offers. This is a great way to get customers to come back for repeat business and recommend you to others. It also starts a conversation. The customer has come to you via a special offer, and now you can begin to uncover what else they need. To get to your audience you need a message, a place to introduce yourself, and to make them a special offer that starts the conversation. When this is in place you can start to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. This is done by building engagement. We offer some tips:
#1 React fast: Your social media interactions should be more “walkie talkie” than “bullhorn” advises Daniel Tay (socialmediatoday.com). Brands should respond quickly to customer’s comments, whether negative or positive. Personalise the reply (no cutting and pasting stock answers) and don’t take three weeks to post a response, because all that says is “We don’t really care about you”.
#2 Ask for feedback and reviews: you have a pool of potential participants for reviews, offer a little reward if they participate.
#3 Strike up a conversation about what’s trending: this shows you care about the industry you’re in and the community at large, depending on what the topic is. Ask your followers what they’d like to hear about next, so you can focus your next blog or webinar on something they want or need. Do something fun like create a “day”, like National Superheroes Day, which has a great potential for sharing.
#4 Use any feedback you get to recognise your followers. User-generated content is extremely valuable and when reposted strengthens community. Plus customers appreciate feeling valued as a part of a brand’s journey.
Remember, it’s not always about what you want. Of course, garnering leads and generating sales is why you’re in business in the first place. But the digital world is a transparent one, and customers can see bogus or over-the-top claims a mile away. “Social listening” is important, Tay concludes. “You need to focus on what your target audience responds to, not just on what you want to say.” In fact not talking about your brand sometimes could be a good strategy in itself.