The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!
Blogs and social media are designed to be… social.
When you see people posting their links in groups in Facebook or LinkedIn and never responding to comments or questions, you know what kind of people you’re dealing with. When you see comments on their blog go unanswered, are they committed to engagement?
I don’t think so.
So what’s the secret to online engagement? It comes with changing your perspective from just thinking about you, to thinking about what would delight other people. When you understand what most people want out of their online experience and help them get it, then you’re well on your way to generating goodwill and improving your overall level of engagement online.
10 Ways To Achieve Fantastic Customer Engagement Online
Here are some ways to achieve better online engagement. As you read the list, think about what other ways we can creatively generate more engagement and let me know about them in the comments!
1) Invite comments on your posts and respond to them
We’re starting basic. Ask people to respond to your posts, to give examples based on their experience and yes, sometimes ask them to share links. Of course, when they leave a comment, make sure to respond back to each and every one (except the spammers whose comments should be deleted).
2) Go to your best sharers’ or “commenters’ blogs and do them a favor!
Only a small percentage of readers actually leave a comment. Why don’t you go to the blogs of people who are in your community and comment on one of their posts and share it in Twitter or Facebook. Don’t forget to mention them when you do (so they’ll know that you shared it).
3) Proactively share, re-tweet, like or leave a comment on their social media post
Find members of your community, influencers in your industry, and companies that relate to your product or service. Proactively share, re-tweet, like or comment. Do this on a regular basis – those who start to get shared by you on a regular basis will notice and you’ll build up a lot of good will.
4) Expand your connections from one-dimensional to multi-dimensional
Pick certain members of your community, influencers in your industry or companies. Connect with them across social media platforms. You can go even deeper by even joining groups that they’re part of. For example, on LinkedIn, you can see most of the groups that any individual is a member of by looking at the bottom of their profile. Pick one or more of the groups that looks interesting and join it as well.
By connecting across platforms, you’ll really get a sense of that person and will have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with them.
5) Don’t always just be a seller
People in your community have products that they’re selling. They also have groups that they’re trying to build or charities they’re trying to support. Consider becoming their customer, or become a champion for their group or favorite charity.
6) Provide engagement vehicles
Consider starting a Facebook, Twitter Chat or LinkedIn group (like my Small Business Marketing Forum) to bring the conversation to a new forum. This way it’s not restricted to the comments below your posts or sporadic conversations in social media. If you start a group, make sure you promote it properly and that you seed it with interesting content and discussions at first to get it rolling along.
7) Invite your biggest fans to write for you
Giving people in your audience a platform for their writing by inviting them to guest post is a powerful way to reward your readers and to deepen your connection with them. Another option is to interview one of them or have them interview you.
8) Create multiple ways for readers to consume your content
Beyond your blog, consider producing some audio content so they can consume it while they drive, work out or exercise (and you know Firepole can teach you how to create a podcast!). Or package some of your most valuable content into an ebook format (a la Naked Marketing) or create a video or a presentation on Slideshare. The more ways people can discover and consume your content, the bigger audience you’ll attract and the better they’ll know you.
9) Invite certain people to connect with you “offline”
If you know you have some local people in your audience, consider having a small get together. For others, you can consider getting on the phone or on Skype with some of them. Another option is to provide a way (like Speakpipe) for them to leave you questions that you can answer in your blog or on a podcast.
10) Encourage them to join your mailing list
Getting people on your list provides you with a powerful way to connect with them and invite them to events or just to communicate with you about specific topics.
Remember that “social” and “engagement” means it’s not just about you! Turn the tables and delight someone else with creative customer engagement strategies.
Which engagement strategies are your favorites?
Which of the strategies above are your favorites. Or which ones do you use that I didn’t mention above? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and if you like this, I’d be “delighted” if you’d share it in Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!