What metrics tell you that your business, event, charity or any other enterprise is on track and doing well?
Twitter followers and Facebook likes? Leads? Sales?
The answer could be any of the above (well, hopefully not just vanity social metrics)…but smart businesses really care about engagement.
With those kind of engagement numbers, it’s highly likely that good sales numbers will continue, more leads will roll in, and everything else will fall into place too.
So, if engagement is so important, how do you build a more engaged audience for your brand? Here are 6 ideas.
Why not start a blog? Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, we bet you have unique knowledge that would benefit your customers.
Blogging can seem daunting, and it’s true there are a lot of graveyard company blogs out there, but when they succeed, they’re really successful! Many successful businesses directly attribute much of their success to their blogging, such as Neil Patel, the founder of Kissmetrics and CrazyEgg; and Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger.
However, in the simplest terms, here’s how to start:
- Use WordPress to host your blog (see more tips on getting started here)
- Define your audience and what topics you generally want to cover (see how)
- Use BuzzSumo to research popular topics to write about (see how here)
- Set a target of just one post a week, of approximately 1000 words in length
- Email each new post out to your customers and share on social
- Stay consistent, focus on the quality of your content, and build up your engagement week by week – it will come!
2. Create or join in forums
Sometimes you just don’t have the bandwidth to create a company blog and keep it going. If you can’t commit to it, week-in-week-out, for…well for ever, then it may be better not to start.
However, you can still engage your customers and prospective customers. Forums are a great place to do this, and they’re full of engaged people, generally looking for help with their questions. Just think how engaged and happy they will be with you and your company if you’re the one to answer their questions!
Just be careful not to be too over-promotional in forums or you may find yourself banned or blacklisted – be polite, stay on topic and focus on adding value, not selling yourself.
If you think forums sound very Web 1.0, you’re right, but they’re actually still very popular and there are lots of new ones about.
StackOverflow is very popular for technical questions and but there are many other topics run by the parent company Stack Exchange. Quora is aiming to be the biggest and broadest Q&A/forum site on the internet; Hacker News is very popular for startups and entrepreneurs; Inbound.org and GrowthHackers for marketers.
If your audience is more niche, you should definitely find your audience on LinkedIn groups somewhere. This is even better, as you can reach out to them directly.
If you still don’t find anything, you can always create your own new LinkedIn group, or use a WordPress extension like bbPress.
3. Ask questions
People love being asked their opinion, so why not ask questions of your customers? Social media makes it really easy to pose a question, start a discussion or distribute a survey.
You can use their answers to create blog posts (if they give permission), inform your product or service developments and to get a better understanding of how they think or what they care about.
If you’re active in forums already, then there’s a higher chance people will answer your own questions, as you’ll be a valued member of the community now.
4. Have great customer service
Probably this should have been number one, because nothing create a more loyal, happy and engaged audience of customers than great customer service.
To recap the post, here are those 5 steps:
- Ask for direct feedback
- Go beyond their expectations to delight them
- Be different in your approach to surprise them
- Make sure people can reach people, not machines
- Reward your staff for great customer service
If you’re using Eventbrite to run your events, then you can rest assured we have an amazing full-time team able to help answer your customer’s questions 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
5. Run events
Running events is a brilliant way of getting one-on-one time with your audience; forging a personal connection and helping customers get to know you.
Whether you run a fundraiser, a seminar or a breakfast meeting all the way to full-blown conferences, events are a brilliant way to inform, delight and engage.
As you would imagine, we have lots of additional resources that will help guide you if you’d like to run events to build a more engaged audience. Here are a few:
- Get off to a strong start with this One Page Event Plan
- Here are five ways events can grow your business
- And these are five keys to running a successful business event
- This post covers several different event ideas for your business
- We also have a comprehensive guide to launching your first event
- And here’s our 10 step guide to marketing your business events
(Tip: Sign up to the blog newsletter to get the Monday digest of all our latest posts so you don’t miss any new stuff!)
6. Set up a loyalty programme
This may be the most involved and complex of the options, but it could be an equally big winner. Loyal customers love to be rewarded for behaviours they’re already doing.
You only have to look at the success of airmiles, credit card cash back schemes and supermarket club cards to understand the power of loyalty and reward programmes.
We haven’t covered loyalty schemes on the blog previously, but here are a few good guides to getting started with them here:
- A brief intro to customer loyalty schemes
- How to start a customer rewards programme
- 7 customer loyalty programmes that actually add value
In essence, you need to understand what your customer values the most about their experience with your company; then identify behaviour that a) they ideally already do and b) is beneficial to your company; then offer a reward that they value, tied to the behaviour you want to see.
That way they’re happier, you’re happier – it’s a true win win!
You don’t have to try all six of these engagement tactics in order to win the eternal love of your customers, but it’s a good idea to make a start on one or two of them. Just because they’ve bought from you today doesn’t mean they will tomorrow.
That’s why a thriving business with a strong future cares a lot about their engagement metrics.