Engagement is one of the strongest indicators of consumers’ feelings about your brand. But it’s knowing how to pay attention to it, encourage it, and make it a meaningful part of a media plan or content strategy that’s critical. Below are 8 tips for improving consumer engagement:
1. Rich Media. We all know interactive ads are more engaging than standard banner ads. Content that expands or invites internal clicks that trigger pop-up features that educate or entertain drive a substantially higher engagement rates. If you can spin a product 360 degrees, change colors, shapes or textures, it engages the viewer at a significantly higher rate—adding to the overall customer experience. Key Tip: Ads with internal carousels, sliders, or videos are better performing.
2. Influencers. Developing relationships with influencers is a must in today’s landscape. Influencers who have established credibility with their followers intuitively understand engagement. That’s because they’ve mastered developing content that educates, entertains and/or inspires. Having influencers comment, post, or share your content increases engagement; further, your ability to authentically complement or encourage their engagement helps keep the conversation going. Key Tip: Pick influencers that are consistent and align with your brand.
3. VIP Status or Insider Clubs. Everyone wants in, right? Increase engagement through a VIP Status or Insider Club where highly-loyal customers are given extra TLC, insider information, invited to share insights/feedback, and/or are offered early access to new products. Key Tip: These channels are opportunities to reward your brand loyalists, but not by enticing them through discounts.
4. User-Generated Content. Invite it. Share it. But be selective. And make sure the UG content is on brand. Or, frame your content around a promotion or contest. When it’s done right, customers love it, engage with it, and share even more.
5. Brand-Relevant Contests & Promotions. Developing a contest or giveaway that’s relevant for your brand will always generate substantial engagement—especially if it involves UG content. TOMS gives shoes to those without. Michael Angelo Foods offered people a chance to travel to Italy with their CEO to visit and inspect the vendors he sources ingredients from. Gatti’s Pizza (whose 25-year-old jingle was iconic) challenged fans to give their tune a modern twist and engaged 100,000+ people to vote and comment on 500+ jingle entries. What do these examples have in common? Relevancy. They’re successful because they all directly tie back to their brand—not a random trip to Hawaii. Key Tip: Think creatively on how to develop a contest that is unique to your brand, and people will engage. Remember: educate, entertain, and/or inspire.
6. Landing Pages. Drive customers to landing pages that feel and look like the content they clicked on. Seems obvious, but don’t bait & switch. And don’t assume they know that much about your brand, either. Landing pages should speak directly to the content in the ad, while also helping to pull that customer deeper into your brand experience. Educate them. Give them an opportunity to learn more, ask questions, and get answers. Encourage them to review or rate a product. And no matter what, be sure to make the navigation on the landing page compatible with your website so they can swim through it seamlessly. Key Tip: After your customer hits the landing page, re-target them with even more relevant content that further engages.
7. Reviews. This is a very simple and easy way to engage your customers. It also helps you start a conversation with them—good or bad. Reviews open the door to additional engagement and help you start to stratify your customers. Not only can you can easily motivate and reward happy ones, but you can work with those who have issues or problems and deserve appropriate solutions. Key Tip: Elicit, read and act upon your reviews.
8. Social Moderation. Social moderation is one of the easiest ways to increase meaningful engagement and move a customer from a simple commitment to becoming a full-blown brand loyalist. By encouraging and complimenting customers who make comments and share posts, you’ll be richly rewarded by how much that motivates and transforms their engagement. Key Tip: Be authentic. Stay true to the brand. And don’t overdo it. Genuine appreciation and appropriate encouragement will go a long way.
The ultimate goal of engagement? Building an emotional connection with your brand. Think strategically and your brand will drive which engagement tactics you use. Connect and align them, and you’ll be amazed at how engagement with your brand explodes. Remember: 80% of sales are typically driven by your current customers. Engage them, and watch those sales numbers soar.