Whether your business caters to a targeted niche market or a more general one, you can expect dozens of other entrepreneurs and stores to join in the competition each day. This is especially the case in the world of e-commerce which has total worldwide sales projected to cross $5.5 trillion this 2022 and is expected to grow even higher in the coming years.
To secure your footing in the market and continuously stand out amongst your competition, having loyal and active customers is the key. And in this article, we’ll discuss how exactly you can increase customer engagement and create lasting relationships with your dear shoppers.
How Customer Engagements Impact Your Business
Boosting customer engagement is not just another marketing tactic. In fact, customer engagement has many faces–from feedback, and complaints, to participation in rewards programs and simply commenting on a brand’s social media posts. It’s your job, as a business owner, to identify how you’re going to use customer engagement to your advantage as it can impact your business in different ways such as the following:
They Can Make or Break Your Brand’s Overall Image
The thing is, not all kinds of customer engagement actually benefit a brand. In this day and age, a single negative tweet or comment on an Instagram post can cost you hundreds of potential sales and eternally tarnish your brand’s image. This is why you have to tread lightly when responding to customer engagements and making content that can be viewed by thousands, or even millions of people on social media.
More Customer Engagements Can Equate to More Potential Sales
Despite such risks, customer engagements usually bring more benefits than potential detriments. In fact, the majority of customer engagements show how people actually care about your brand and like being related or connected with it. Hence, more positive customer engagements such as great reviews and testimonials can possibly result in more sales as they help attract more potential customers to shop from your store.
They Boost Brand Recognition Organically
The more customers engaging in your posts and marketing efforts, the more likely it is for outsiders or non-customers to be curious and know about your brand. For example, if a loyal shopper shares about their own purchase on an IG story, your product gets exposed to hundreds or thousands of followers.
Now, without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how you can boost customer engagement and build loyalty amongst your consumers.
Make Your Brand Unique yet Relatable
I hear you. How exactly can you be unique and relatable at the same time?
Well, think of your brand as a person. It’s not merely a collection of products waiting to be sold, but a companion that actually speaks to your target audience.
Give it Personality
From your branding colors, and your logo, to the kinds of content you post and the way you respond to comments, you give your brand its own personality which your customers can vividly see and possibly relate to. Thus, you have to be certain of how you want your brand to be viewed by your audience so you won’t alienate any potential customers and be consistent with your strategies.
For example, if your target consumers are gen-z’s and you want them to see your brand as their witty buddy, you can capitalize on memes and include funny phrases or puns as you respond to tweets and online reviews (just don’t overdo it ;)).
Communicate Your Values
According to Mckinsey & Company’s 2021 survey, two in three US shoppers say that their “social values shape their shopping choices”. And as a brand, part of connecting to your customers is being vocal about your advocacies and values, whether it’s through your social media campaigns or your overall operations. In fact, another survey by Markstein reveals that 70% of consumers nowadays care about how brands contribute to addressing different social issues.
Build Your Presence on the Right Platforms
Having a unique and relatable brand personality is useless if you’re not on the right platforms. This is why before establishing your social media pages and deciding where to invest your efforts and resources, research your target market’s preferred platforms and build your presence there.
You can do this through interest check surveys or checking out your competitors’ social media pages and observing which ones get them the most number of engagements.
Start a Community in Your Niche
Once you have found the right platform, create a community with the potential shoppers in your niche. Having a community will allow you to connect better with your audience and hear more about their thoughts and insights related to your niche.
Let’s say your market frequents Facebook and your business is all about promoting environmental awareness through selling sustainable, eco-friendly merch like tote bags and statement shirts, you can build an FB group where members can share different articles, hacks, and practices that promote sustainability.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Listening is a vital part of any kind of relationship. You can’t just expect your customers to respond to your campaigns or marketing efforts if you don’t really know what they want. And if you want to build a lasting relationship with them in the long run, you have to be a good listener to know these.
Conduct Polls & Surveys
The most obvious and straightforward way to get the insights of your target consumers is through surveys and polls. These can help you identify their pain points, interests, and many other factors that affect their purchase habits.
To make sure you get enough participants in such initiatives, you can offer incentives such as discount coupons and raffle entries in exchange for completing your survey.
Keep Tabs on What They’re Up To
Apart from conducting polls and surveys, social media is always at your disposal. You can keep tabs on what your target consumers are up to by monitoring the hashtags they use, the type of content they share, and the other brands they follow. These will give you an idea of how you can better craft campaigns they’d find engaging.
Know Their Problems & Offer Solutions
Since we have mentioned pain points, let’s get into your consumers’ problems. Everyone has a problem they may not even be aware of and it’s part of your responsibility to identify that of your target customers. Knowing about their worries–from the simplest to the most complicated ones can help you create and share solutions through your content and your products themselves.
Let’s say your niche is related to wellness and mental health and you are aware of how many people do not know about the right institutions or organizations to contact for support or help. You can compile a list of the centers and programs you know and post it on your feed or page so your followers can access them anytime and share them with their friends.
Constantly Provide Something They Can Look Forward To
Aside from providing solutions to their problems, giving your followers and shoppers something to look forward to on your platforms is a surefire way to keep them engaged and connected.
You can do this by hosting giveaways and challenges that will encourage them to comment on your posts, share about their experiences, and tag their friends. Another foolproof option is to constantly post content and schedule them strategically. For example, your Monday posts can be about welcoming the week, while your Friday content can include tips or questions on unwinding during the weekend.
Reward Them With Valuable Perks
Everybody loves perks and of course, they’re another excellent way to gain traction from your audience and build a good impression. You can provide them these in the form of discount coupons, gift cards, and birthday vouchers which they can acquire on a certain condition.
Build a Customer Loyalty Program
One smart way to provide perks while strengthening your bond with your existing customers is establishing a loyalty or rewards program. For example, you can implement a point rewards system wherein your shoppers get credits for every purchase they make.
Recognize the Importance of User-Generated Content
According to the statistics presented by EveryoneSocial, user-generated content (UGC) brings about web conversions higher by 29% than typical campaigns. Furthermore, millennials nowadays find such content easier to remember by 35% than those that come from mainstream or paid sources. This is why more and more brands are starting to recognize the power of UGC and you should too.
Encourage Them to Share Reviews & Creative Testimonials
UGCs come in different forms–from IG stories that feature a certain product, and testimonials on Twitter, to TikTok videos and influencer reviews. However, it’s not something you can force your customers to share. After all, UCGs are trusted by consumers because the majority of them are personal and are willingly posted by the users. The best way for you to generate UCGs is to encourage your existing shoppers to share their experiences with your products through games or challenges and incentivized programs.
Be Reachable 24/7
As I’ve mentioned, customer engagement comes in many forms and these include direct inquiries, whether posted publicly on your posts’ comment sections or sent as a direct message. And of course, your customers want to know that you care and you are willing to address whatever problem they may have regarding your product or website.
This is why your customer support should be available 24/7.
Of course, we understand that it’s impossible to be able to respond to queries 24/7, especially if you’re a one-man team. Hence, you can capitalize on chatbots and message templates which can potentially help your consumers in the meantime when you are unable to. Just make sure to keep your scripts personal and suited to your brand’s personality.
Hire a Social Media Manager
If you want to constantly provide an even more personal and tailored customer support experience, you can opt to hire someone who can handle your social media pages from sites like Fiverr and Fancy Hands. They can not only help you respond to comments and DMs on time, but also assist you in scheduling your content.
Here’s to More Customer Engagements & Relationships That Last!
Getting the response you desire from your target audience can be challenging. However, with the right strategy and clear objectives in place, you’ll surely increase your customer engagements and build stronger relationships with your customers in the long run!
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