Today’s customers want dynamic engagement.The brand and the consumer have become one – people now consider the products and services they use to be representative of their identity. We’ve entered an age where peer-to-peer transparency is the norm.
Customers have become indirect brand ambassadors, and they promote the businesses they frequent through social media sharing. When a customer does business with you, it’s likely that they’ll share their experience with their peers almost instantly.
This means that word-of-mouth marketing association is more crucial now than ever before. It’s essential to get an “endorsement” from your customers if you wish to succeed. But, providing a great service that garners great reviews is no longer enough – you need to be a brand that the customer feels “enhances” their image. This applies to consumers as well as business clients.
Because of this unspoken partnership, your customers will demand a level of engagement that did not exist in previous times. It’s a sort of conversation, where they are constantly getting to know you and evaluating your brand and its place in their social persona.
Every Picture Says a Thousand Words
When a customer shares a photo online, every detail of the picture comes into consideration.
Any of the customer’s friends, colleagues or relatives can familiarize themselves online, instantly, with any brand in the picture. This means that "product placement" isn't just for the movies anymore. In business and in life, we are all unofficially endorsing the places and products depicted in our surroundings.
With this new dynamic, customers and clients are becoming increasingly selective about the brands they associate with. Any businesses that lack transparency, engagement, or a clear brand concept (persona) will find themselves being sidestepped for friendlier brands.
Your digital marketing strategy framework should be built around this understanding. Your customers and prospects want a brand that lives and breathes – a product or service that never feels outdated or stagnant.
Customer Service Is Now A 24/7 Gig
There once was a time when customers would contact your sales staff for enquiries, or your support team for assistance. Those days, fortunately, are long gone. Now, your brand is open for business around-the-clock, giving prospects and customers the ability to engage when it's convenient for them. (Obviously, "regular business hours" still holds true for many companies and organizations, along with a standard response time.)
Major players from various industries such as insurance, manufacturing, retail and even airlines are using platforms like Twitter to keep the conversations going. These are good examples of customer engagement, where businesses provide a face that can be interacted with.
If your business isn’t available for this conversation, you’re still saying many things to your customers. The absence of a solid, well-defined online presence suggests to customers that you either don’t care, or are uninterested in engaging them.
Yes, a company may have invested in a great website. But, without a proper brand strategy and social media management, getting willing participants to ever use the site can be difficult. You can’t automatically expect customers to want to spend time familiarizing themselves with your website. It’s unknown terrain, contrary to a social media platform.
Customer engagement: It's less about competition, more about continuous improvement.
Customer Engagement Ideas and Strategies
Becoming a “livable brand” means creating an online persona that your customers can incorporate into their lives. The easiest way to do this is to provide a constant stream of relevant content they can share with their peers. (Check out this posting for developing a customer-friendly social media plan.)
It’s also about showing noticeable changes in your brand image based upon customer feedback, trends, and innovations. This is a full-time commitment, and something that can be outsourced to branding agencies with a high customer-service focus. San Francisco is one of the nation’s most digitally social cities, and customers are migrating to brands with a full-time web presence.
Is your brand alive and innovating? Inbound marketing can breathe life into your brand, giving customers a healthy, strong “pulse” when they check for it.
Get the scoop on inbound marketing here: