Technology today affords us the opportunity to initiate contact with a lot of potential customers online, but many businesses fall short of actually converting these customers because they fail to truly engage them. The days when large companies could just blanket the airwaves with their sales pitches and actually expect a return from such advertising are gone. People are tired of being sold to. They want companies to listen to them and slowly gain their trust over time before they’ll open their wallet to them.
Once initial contact is made with a potential customer online, someone has to engage that customer by providing relevant and useful information in a personable manner to build trust. Outlined below are some creative and effective ideas for individuals and companies to interact and engage with their customers online.
Build a Community or Group
There are several great ways to build an online community to more effectively interact and engage with your customers. Forums have been around for years and are still a widely used method of engaging with customers and allowing customers to engage with each other. Forums will likely still be around for the foreseeable future, but many companies are now finding it more advantageous to connect with customers on various social networks. Customers are already on these social networks every day, so instead of relying on customers to regularly visit your forum to interact and engage with you, why not bring the conversation to them on their social networks of choice?
Google+ Communities, Facebook Groups, and LinkedIn Groups are just a few of the many social networking sites that allow individuals and companies the ability to set up topic or brand communities.
Craft catchy headlines.
The headline of your social post needs to catch the user’s eye. Use fun and witty wording to help prompt the reader to click the post. You can use the headline to ask a question that relates to the content you’re sending them to or a current trend that interests your customers. If your post includes a list, ask users if they agree with a certain item on the list. In order to answer this, the user must click on the link and read the post. Posing a question also encourages a response, helping you build up a dialogue.
Host a Webinar or Google Hangout
A webinar or Google Hangout is another innovative and effective way of engaging with your customers. They allow you to reach a large target audience on a platform that is very user-friendly and interactive. People love the visual aspects of a webinar with live video of the presenter, slides, graphics, and other interactive options. Webinars and hangouts also allow you to make a very personal connection with your current or potential customers. You as the presenter of the webinar or hangout can also be more passionate, entertaining, and engaging than you could otherwise be by just writing a blog post and short e-book.
Post quality visual media.
When you post visual media (photos and/or videos), you’re more likely to grab customers attention. Posts with photos are typically more appealing to users than a text-only article and users are more likely to share content with photos. Because the impact photos have on drawing people to your content, it’s important to use a high-quality image that relates to the topic. If you succeed in having someone click on a link, you don’t want to disappoint them with inconsistent content. Not only will they be upset with that specific piece, but odds of them ever returning to your site are significantly reduced.
Host a contest.
Contests are another excellent method of social media marketing. Make sure the prize you offer is one that appeals to your customer base. For example, if your business centers on electronics, offer the chance to win the latest tablet or two tickets to a technology fair. Your contest has the potential to boost brand visibility, especially if you stipulate that you are required to share the post on social media networks in order to enter.
When people do leave good insightful comments, be sure to respond to them and thank them for participating in the conversation. If someone leaves a question for you in a comment, be sure to respond to their question. It looks bad to other visitors to see questions go unanswered.
Your site should also include links to your social profiles on sites such a Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. This will allow your visitors to interact with you in more ways than one.
Technology today offers so many great ways to interact and engage with customers online. Take advantage of all the free tools and resources available today and devise a plan to better engage and interact with your customers online. If you don’t, your competition will.