Engagement is such a buzz word these days and I find myself using it way too often. However, there’s something great about the fact that it’s being overused. What’s happening is that more people are focusing on engagement vs. marketing and finding that this is where they are most successful. When they think about a 2-way relationship for their business, they find that they get better connection with their consumers and more success than straight marketing campaigns. But how is it that we can engage our customers? What do we need to do to form a relationship with them that gives as much as it gets? Here are the 3 pillars of customer engagement that I believe we all need to follow in the business world.
Nothing will beat having a personal relationship with your customers. Even for large brands that make tons of money via online sales, I am (and always will be) an advocate for getting out in front of your customers and meeting them in-person. Host an event, attend an event, set up coffee meetings and dinners. You need to form a personal relationship with your biggest supporters and you also need to use in-person meetings to develop future supporters. You simply cannot create a truly engaging relationship with your customers without meeting them in person.
Another huge component to a 2-way relationship is that there is giving for all the taking you’re doing. No one wants to be yelled at or preached at. Instead, they want to learn and network. What kind of education and connections can you give to your followers and fans that will benefit them? And – don’t forget the golden rule. Do unto others as you would like them to do to you. And by this I mean – no strings attached. Don’t give as a carrot to get people to do what you want. Instead, give freely and you will receive freely too!
Once you meet people in person and share resources with them, you have to keep the conversation going. See what you can do to keep people talking. In this day and age, social media is a great way to do this. Continue the education and connection-making through your blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts, newsletter and more. Interact with people on multiple platforms so they can engage with you where they feel most comfortable. This is a great way to ensure that you will build a strong community full of engaged customers.