I started my workshop on digital marketing best practices at SES Toronto by asking my class to list key challenges they face in driving consumer engagement.
A few spoke about the challenges around mobile, some spoke about finding new consumers, but most of the discussion centered around creating "useful" and "interactive" content.
Here are the top concerns of a few of my students.
We spent the rest of the day discussing strategies to overcome these concerns. Brands need to build up their expertise and create an environment where the consumer feels comfortable to come and interact. We discussed five key considerations.
Key Consideration 1: Do you know what your consumers want? How often do you survey your consumers and how impactful are these surveys? If you were to walk with your customer after a purchase, you should ask them what brought them to you, how they plan using your product, and what else you can send them that could be useful. Now look to incorporate these into your discussion stream.
Key Consideration 2: Recruit and cultivate your customers as brand ambassadors. Invite them to special events and ensure that all "exclusive" offers go to them first. Get them involved in your discussions by thanking them online and also offering to quote them in your digital messaging.
Key Consideration 3: Seek interaction from your experts or brand ambassadors. Direct a discussion on social media over to them to comment on - send them an email with a link to the discussion on social media with a short note asking for their help. Other readers will appreciate their perceived direct involvement online.
Key Consideration 4: Build your reputation as an expert. At the end of the day, it is your business that has the expertise and your branding should reflect that. Answer questions, endorse views, and do this all consistently. Intuit did an outstanding job relying on a community of experts and made it even more powerful by putting its brand stamp on these discussions.
Key Consideration 5: Be available, and be responsive. If your consumer interacts with you on social media, she expects you to respond in close to real time. It is hard for a few social media experts to keep up with the interaction - so use your experts to train your service organization (or even your organization) to become the voice of your brand on social media.
I often tell the story of two brands - one that sold my daughter a shirt that shrunk after the first wash, and another that spilled iced tea on my son's lap. My daughter contacted the apparel retailer via social media - it took them three minutes to get back and 45 minutes to resolve the issue.
My poor son complained to the manager, called corporate, and even vented on social media. It took them a week to get back to my son, and they have more than one million friends on Facebook!
Being relevant, being timely, and hosting conversations among your consumers is going to help you drive engagement. This engagement will provide you with useful content that you can leverage in your social interactions.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Sundeep Kapur has been assisting organizations with their converged channel marketing strategies since 1990. From direct marketing to digital to converged, he is a passionate teacher who works with businesses across multiple industries, helping them to enable technology and services to brand, and personalize and speak to consumers more effectively.
He is an industry-recognized expert who has delivered keynotes, run panels, and delivered "relevant, inspirational, and outstanding" education for organizations around the world.
Sundeep is also an avid user of social media, having leveraged words, pictures, and video into a conversational digital book. His daily dose of best practices can be found at www.EmailYogi.com, where he has more than 1,200 articles on best practices.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT