Business owners are presented with more options and opportunities to connect with their customers than any other time in modern history.
In marketing speak its called Customer Engagement.
The ability to directly engage or communicate with your customers on an individual basis. To drill down even further, the ability to communicate with your customers on a personal or emotional level.
What does this mean?
Good question, for the small business owner the answer isn’t as obvious as your typical marketer might assume. I’ll try to explain with a few real world examples you may using today, if not you can start as soon as tomorrow.
In this article we’re going to discuss the Facebook Like:
We see these everywhere now, like us on Facebook. But what does this really mean for your business? Someone likes your business?
Maybe. But what does “liking” my business “DO” for my business?
The sad answer is really not much anymore.
At one point, the act of liking a business meant whenever the business posted updates it would show up in that person’s newsfeed. And in truth that is supposed to hold true today. However, with the constant changes to Facebook’s newsfeed system it’s become more and more difficult to gain exposure on person’s newsfeed by having someone simply “like” your page.
Today on Facebook if you want exposure likes help, ads are king. Facebook is a for-profit business and must make money. The best way to make money with 1.4 Billion eyeballs is advertising.
So now with a couple hundred (or thousand) likes under your belt, how do you make that translate to sales or inquiries?
This is where the “customer engagement” comes into play, now we know “likes” aren’t getting the attention you probably desire and provided you haven’t been cranking out sharable content everyday, several times a day (which helps you stay in front of people without ads), you’ll need to spend a little to get that attention again.
The good news is you can target people who already showed an interest in your product or service through a like. You can target their friends, you can target local people, men or women, and on a host of other demographics to make the best use out of your advertising dollars.
The best part is you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg. As little as $20 in ads can give you positive traction and encourage people to begin engaging with your business again.
Here’s the engagement part – You have the like, You’re ready to place some ads, but now what are going to show them, share with them, drive those users too?
Each time a customer “likes” a post or better yet, shares that post with their friends is a point of “Engagement”.
The value of platforms like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter is the social effect. Create interesting content that your customers find useful and encourage them to share it with their networks. Your small ad or share goes from one to one, to, one to one to many!
BEWARE: What you think your customers will find useful and what they are really searching for could very well be miles apart! This has been shown time and time again.
For the purpose of this article I’m not going to get into a lengthy bit about how we determine the right content to promote, but I will give you a tip:
Visit buzzsumo.com, type in a term related to your business or better yet, your competitors website and see what people are sharing the most. This a great starting point towards determining which questions your customers are looking for answers too.
Now you’ve determined the type of content your customers are looking for, what’s next?
How exactly are we going to create this content?
Will it be an article or blog post?
Will it be a picture of video?
A contest perhaps?
Pictures increase customer engagement by a multiple of at least 30%; several studies show that number approaching a 60% increase. The simple act of adding a visual representation of your message will increase its effectiveness 30-60%. So let’s just check that box, there will be a nice pretty picture going along with your new sharable content.
Video is the new frontier and if you have the ability I HIGHLY recommend adding video to your wheelhouse of content. If not, keep it the back of your mind; you will need video in the near future.
Contests are great! Everyone loves free stuff, what’s better is now business owners can not only offer something of value for a like or share, they can encourage liking and sharing and reward their customers for it. Thereby increasing the effectiveness of their contest.
Once you’ve chosen your content, decided on the format, you’re ready to dive into the realm of customer engagement. Create your copy, post it on Facebook, promote it with a couple ads and if you’ve done it well, you should see an increase in engagement (shares, likes, etc) over previous posts.
Few final thoughts you want to read:
Don't just post updates and non-sense about yourself and your company, find out exactly what your customers are looking for and give it to them. Even if it's not directly a product or service you provide, the point is to expose your company as a trusted resource in your industry to as many people as possible. Creating content that people are interested in is the only way to get there.
For example, if you're a mover, you don't fold clothes usually but your customers will probably find it useful if you provide tips on how to pack effectively. What do you think?
Give them what they want.. and you will be rewarded for it.
Here's an article I wrote on the topic: Create Content People Really Want To Read