Embracing the audience or at least, engaging the audience has become a regular topic of conversation in marketing forums as marketers learn to grapple with social media marketing. Discussing what it means is one thing but implementing it is quite another. There are so many different options and platforms to choose from, and there is also a lot of inconveniently conflicting advice. All of this means that knowing what to actually do in this area can be quite hard.
How can marketers engage social media audiences? Brian Solis and Sylvia Ng came up in a conversation with five tips for how to engage customers.
1.Understand what is the role of software tools
The first point is to understand the role of software tools in engaging the audience. However, it is explained that there is too much focus on the actual software itself rather than how these types of tools are actually being used to understand customers and engage them. Software tools will only really be efficient in facilitating easier engagement if they are utilised effectively. Marketers really need to think about what they are doing in this area, and looking more closely at how technology may make a difference or not.
2. Be clear about what does your organisation stand for
The second tip is figuring out what the organisation stands for. This goes right back to the business basics of what makes a specific business special or different. If the business does not understand this key point then it will be very hard for it to persuade the customer to see it as worthwhile or to get the customer to engage. It is recommended to question “What do you stand for?” This involves being able to put oneself in the customer’s shoes. After all, why should they bother spending time on a particular product or service? Customers need to understand how products or services will benefit them. Understanding the problems that the customer faces as well as their objectives and frustrations makes it possible to create content that will be engaging for customers. Without having this information to hand it becomes very difficult to engage your audience in your social media campaigns.
3. “Cultivate the embrace” with the audience
The third point raised is that organisations need to “cultivate the embrace”. What is meant by this is understanding why customers should bother paying attention in the first place, and if the organisation does manage to capture a customer’s attention, what they will do with it from that point onwards. It is explained that there is far too much concern about how to get content to go viral and not enough on how to generate content that customers will really be interested in and that will actually engage them. It is also suggested that there is too much energy focused on looking at whatever the newest, most exciting platform is. The concept is presented that engagement is an ART which focuses on action, reactions and transaction. The whole point of creating content after all is to draw customers in and help them to feel connected to the organisation. This can only be achieved by creating great content.Five Ways to Embrace the Social Media Audience Of Your Business
4. Know and understand your customers
Of course the only way to be able to appeal to customers and give them something that is engaging to them is to know and understand them. This has long been the remit of marketers worldwide as they try to determine what their customers want and where they go. Understanding these points helps marketers to create content that is truly targeted at the audience. It is argued that it is particularly important to consider the void that may sometimes exist between how the customers experience the brand and what the organisation says the brand stands for.
5. Keep questioning what you know about the market
The final point made is to not make any assumptions and to keep questioning what is known about the market. The market is not static and is continually changing. This means that organisations have to really get under the skin of their customers at any given time in order to create content that is meaningful for them and that will engage them, genuinely. It is no good for marketers to rest on their laurels thinking that they know their customers. Rather they have to start questioning anything they know about their customers and about what they do for their customers. It is this that will lead to innovative ideas that will inspire and engage.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.