As marketers we all want more audience engagement, but as you work for more engagement, there are a few things that have been shown to work well, to build a community and encourage audience engagement. Engagement will not happen without your input and contribution, so be prepared to work for that engagement.
Understand your Audience
To have the right type of engagement with your audience, you need to pay attention to the time and place you’re in. Whether you’re using social media or you’re at a live event, know who you want to engage with by creating a client avatar or persona. Speak to that audience in a knowledgeable way, based on who you want to attract and engage with.
Ask for Engagement
When you ask for engagement, be specific. This is especially true when you’re on social media. Ask specific questions, start various topics of discussion, and help to keep them on the track you wanted with the specific issue, problem, or topic. It’s important to go back to discussions where you’ve started to interact with them, rather than just looking at the answers and “liking” them.
To cultivate interaction in social groups, create reasons to meet. For example, if you have an active Facebook page or group, you can go “live” on Facebook to answer questions. You can open up your email autoresponder messages to replies by asking for replies. You can ask them at the end of a blog post to give more ideas or upload a picture of them in action.
If you have people within your community who are super-active – whether they’re affiliates, clients, customers, or members of your groups, find ways to reward them. Call them out in front of everyone else and thank them for their contributions. Give them prizes and make them feel special. Others will see it, and it will subconsciously encourage them to engage more too. Engagement is contagious.
It’s very easy, especially online, to get hurt by certain types of comments. The best course of action is to avoid any negativity by commenters. If you can, look to the meat of their complaint, but if there is no substance there, it’s okay to simply and silently delete the comment. If it’s in person you can ignore it, and move on to the next person. They’re not your audience if they’re only going to focus on negativity.
Track and Tweak
Everything you do can be tracked. When you gather the data, look at what is working and what is not working. Stop doing the things that don’t work. Do more of the things that are working. Everything is really an experiment. As you try new tactics, look at the data, adjust and keep going.
Audience engagement is essential to keep your business going. Today, people like to do business with authentic people and not faceless corporations. The more you can do that, the more popular and profitable your business will become.