I love a good dinner party. But every so often I go to one where I get stuck next to Mr Self Important. He’s the kind of guy who’s very pleased with himself, only too happy when asked, ‘So what do you do?’ to tell you all about it. At length.We can make it to dessert and he’s still not asked me a single question (I’m sure there are women out there who are equally as dull, but I seem to get invited to places where the old-school placement of boy, girl, boy, girl is still the thing). You can guarantee that I’ll end the evening in a bit of a huff and not feeling that well disposed towards my dinner companion.
We work with our clients regularly on social media strategies with the aim of increasing engagement
I tell you this, as the whole issue of engagement has been on my radar again recently. I stumbled over a study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) – Content Marketing in the UK 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – that said engagement has replaced brand awareness as the top goal for content marketers in this country for 2015.
We work with our clients regularly on social media strategies with the aim of increasing engagement with their brands in one way or another, and it’s always what I think is going to be the most simple advice that’s often the most effective:
- Know your audience. Before you can grow a community you need to know who it is you’re trying to engage with. This is where persona work, right at the start of your strategy, is so important. And why, as we pointed out last week, Taylor Swift is a content marketing genius…
- Ask questions, don’t just fire out ‘broadcasts’ about your company or products. People will stop caring pretty quickly (I’m talking to you Mr Self Important).
- Share information from third parties you know your audience is going to be interested in. They’ll come back for more.
- Engage directly with influencers. Can you find out who the bloggers, social media champions or potential brand advocates are for your company? Start a conversation directly with them (beware, some bloggers take their independence seriously – and rightly so – and offers of endorsement or freebies in exchange for a blog write up will be met with short shrift).
- Use fresh content to start the conversation. Surprise and delight. Give them something useful. Getting to know people is an effort – you can’t expect to open a Twitter account, fire out a few Tweets and expect to feel the love back. Or create a YouTube video using one of your company ‘talking heads’ (Mr Self Important again…) that’s going to have people switching off after eight seconds.
That’s a very top-line list but you can see a theme emerging. Talk to people, ask them questions, show an interest in them…
Your company may be doing some amazing things, but people expect a little bit more from brand communications these days. Don’t be the dinner party bore who doesn’t give it to them.