Training All Your Channels to Engage via Social Media

For a brand to connect with a consumer, they have to be persistent and interesting without becoming bothersome. Once the consumer’s interest is peaked, she will start paying attention to your brand. You will then need to think about how to keep the conversation going with the consumer and solicit her support to grow your influence.

Utilizing more channels, brand representatives, and ambassadors creates a greater level of difficulty in being able to stay connected with your consumers. Start by auditing something simple – make a list of all the channels that you have and list the message that each channel provides to the consumers that you serve.

Your goal now is to now do three things: make sure that the messaging is consistent, see if you are grabbing the consumer’s attention, and have a plan in place to validate the effectiveness of your efforts.

Is the message consistent? Does your messaging drive consumers toward a destination?

Part of your engagement strategy should list the goals that you want to accomplish. Take a look at these goals and check all your messages to see if these are tactically helping you to achieve your stated objectives. Take a look at your website, your store, and your paper communiqués – are they talking in the same language and sending people to the same destination? If you are promoting a past event, your consumers will stop paying attention to what you are saying.

Here are three interesting tweets from a credit union.

  • “Learn more about money, demystify your finances, get approved on the first attempt, keep your credit scores high, keep your loan rates lower.”
  • “Join us on Thursday March 11, at our Newberry location from 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm for education, fun, and low interest loans to get what you want.”
  • “Call Megan at xxx-xxx-xxxx, ext xxx to sign up for this special event, please do not reply to this message as this mail box is not monitored.”

So I called Megan, even though I was upset I couldn’t tweet back an RSVP. She had no idea about the workshop, and put me on hold. I waited five minutes, and my call got dropped, so I called back. I got her voicemail, and never got a call back from them. I’m not sure what happened, but this was a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. I tweeted back to them, which wasn’t responded to either.

Are you grabbing the consumer’s attention? Is the consumer paying attention to your messages?

We tend to stuff consumer communiqués with advertising that may not be even making it past the first stage. Consumers tend to ignore messaging that is advertorial and focus on what they consider relevant.

A financial institution started showing full-motion video advertising to customers while the customer was withdrawing money at an ATM. They interviewed these customers a few minutes later to find out what they thought about the commercial – most people had forgotten the primary messages; a few were even unaware that the bank was playing a video.

You have to learn to communicate with consumers while they are in the zone. Think about asking your consumers to make decisions at your different channels. Rather than just offering them a coupon to a free cup of coffee; ask them if they would like a free cup of coffee or a coupon for a sandwich. When the consumer makes a conscious decision, they tend to pay attention to your campaigns.

Is it effective? Is your messaging paying off? Are the consumers taking the next step?


There is no super blue pill for social media. The ultimate test of your ability to grab consumers’ attention is to ask them a question on one channel and drive their response to one of your other channels. Paul Harvey used to call this the “rest of the story” – if you are connecting, your consumers will follow you.

If you advertise an event on a social media channel, are they showing up at that particular event? Also, if people respond to your request in filling out a form or downloading a QR code, are they actually coming in to sign up for your program?

What is the point in giving out free samples for a restaurant unless people actually come to eat at your place?

Research into how others in your industry are communicating on each channel. What are their fans finding engaging and relevant? What apps are they using to create this engagement and relevance?

Your channels need to speak consistently and you need to measure your impact with social media. You need to keep asking these three questions:

  1. Is engagement improving?
  2. Are costs being reduced?
  3. Is this helping me drive attributable revenue?

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