Driving Engagement in Our Digitally Connected Age

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By |Aug 12, 2016

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In today’s digital age, it is the customers who call the shots in determining how user-experiences are driven. This is one of the reasons brands have been forced to expand their customer touch points from email and social media platforms to now include micro-moments which offer more relevant and real-time experiences.

At 92 West, we understand better than anyone else how different people communicate and operate in an evolving digital world. Our digital strategy service involves aligning customer engagement with culture-driven behavioral changes which play a huge role in the way people interact with any business today. We then make use of various technologies such as CRMs to deliver experiences that build customer loyalty.

Let's cover some of the basics in building consumer loyalty.

How Important is Engagement?

In today’s highly competitive world, engagement is a critical aspect of any business’s success. Indeed, a business will hardly achieve anything or complete any action without it. And now with the growing prominence of the digital world, engagement is quickly becoming more and more sophisticated. For example, brands now have to employ various strategies to connect and market their offerings to their consumers and prospects. A while back, mass reach and exposure were considered to be excellent strategies for businesses seeking to build brands and make sales. However, this method no longer guarantees great results which is why more marketers are turning to engagement to connect with their consumers.

Engagement vs. Exposure – Why Engagement Wins This Battle

As mentioned earlier, most organizations and businesses historically focused on reaching as large an audience as they could. After accomplishing this, they could then hope to get a portion of that market become loyal to their brand. However, things have changed significantly over the past few years with most of the organizations now making use of new media to connect directly with people. Thankfully, a majority of the new communication platforms available today offer more effective ways to measure engagement which is unlike their older counterparts. For example, it is now easier to tell if consumers are engaged by measuring their level of interaction, sharing of your content, response to your messages, or actual conversion.

Today’s Consumer Behavior

You possibly by now have come across the term “Gen C”, a popular term used to describe the current generation of consumers.

So, Who Comprise Gen C?

Gen C entails a crop of consumers who were brought up living digital lives and who thrive mainly on creation, community, curation, and connection. It is the most expressive of all generations and uses social networks and content platforms to do express themselves. As such, they are almost always looking for content to devour and are equally keen on sharing what they know with others. From this brief description, it’s easy to tell that conversation is an essential part of their lives. Considering that this group makes up quite a considerable share of consumer market today, your ability to connect with it can make or break your brand growth and market reach.

What You Need to Know About Gen C

- They lead artists’ lifestyles

A few years ago, photos and videos were a preserve of professional photographers and were mainly meant for special occasions. Not anymore. Today, Gen C carry a camera everywhere they go and love capturing every moment they deem appropriate however ordinary or pointless they may be. To them, being in possession of pictures of their everyday activities helps them see a newness in every day they live.

- They fancy curating their lives in real-time

In addition to recording their lives visually using cameras and video recorders, Gen C also love curating and sharing whatever they do with their communities. Indeed, research shows that one out of every four upload their video online every week, and nearly half upload their photos every week. To them, this is a way of reinforcing their sense of self and image.

- Sharing energizes them

To Gen C, sharing is much more than just clicking that button on their smartphone or PC. Indeed, emotional response elicited by the objects shared (comments, likes, tweets, retweets, etc.) is what matters the most to them. So, whenever you’re creating content that targets Gen C, ensure that it’s something they can relate and which can provoke their emotions.

- They are extremely keen on authenticity

Gen C want to create their own experiences, are real, and very thoughtful. This is why you’ll find them preferring to create their own arts instead of attending to invitations to experience someone else’s masterpiece. To satisfy this market segment, therefore, you need to provide authentic content that matches their quality standards.

Creating an Engagement Pyramid and Why it Works

As mentioned earlier, there are two main ways through which you can connect with your audience; first, you could opt to reach or broadcast to as many people as you can; alternatively, you could prioritize a particular (often small) group of people and perfect your art of engaging them which you can learn from the way they interact.

Based on our earlier discussion, the former strategy hardly works today which is why you’ll need to adopt the latter especially if you’re eyeing Gen C. So, instead of advertising to 100 percent of the market and hoping for some to drop to the bottom of your funnel, you’re better off concentrating on, say 5 percent, that show interest in what you say and offer. In most cases, this group includes your current customers as well as those that are likely to influence others towards your brand. This way, you tend to create an “engagement pyramid” since it entails turning your reach-driven funnel upside down.

Engagement pyramids are not new phenomena. Indeed, they have been credited for the success of some of the top brands today such as GoPro, Warby Parker, Amazon, and Starbucks. These are companies that have come up in the last 10-15 years and thus understands how important it is to build engagement with consumers. As such, most (if not all) follow a rather similar strategy to connect with their users; they begin by creating something consumers love. They then invest in higher engagement media which they use to connect with the small group of people showing the most interest in their products/services. Ultimately, they use insights provided by these people to build further scale.

In a Nutshell, Here’s how to build and implement an engagement-centric approach:

- Be available to your audience at all times

Let’s face it. Today’s audiences are quite demanding yet extremely impatient. This therefore means that you need to always be on your toes lest your competition snatches them away from you for failing to meet their needs promptly. So, what does this mean? You need to always be available whenever your audience asks for something from you.

- Create deep, authentic content that your audiences can relate to

With the rate at which the visual and social webs are growing, there’s a need to rethink the way you approach your advertising. While you may still need to post those glossy photos from your photo shoot or release a TV commercial via your social platforms, that shouldn’t be the end of your approach. Remember that your competition could also be using that same approach. So, what’s left for you to offer and stand out from the rest? Well, there are a few options available for you including giving an authentic story of yourself (or your brand), holding expert interviews or just making live announcements. And for the part of creating stories, you don’t even have to do it by yourself- you could leverage the power of your fans to help generate content that broader audiences can relate to.

- Encourage participation

As mentioned earlier, Gen C thrive best on participation. And so for you to connect with them better, there’s a need to have them talking about your brand. So strive to create exciting experiences that add value to your community and motivate people to talk about you. While at it, jump into the middle of their conversations and to steer them in the direction you deem appropriate.

- Use better signals

Today, there’s no shortage of high-signal platforms to help you gather insights on what works best for your brand when seeking to engage your most valuable customers or prospects. For example, you may want to look at the rate in which your content is shared or endorsed on social media, how much time your visitors are willing to spend on your business, etc. You can then determine the correlations between the different metrics tested and their economic outcomes for your business. Using this information, it’s easier to optimize your engagement strategy and the entire marketing at large.

That's a Wrap!

Do you have anything to add to our today’s discussion? Can you relate to what we’ve shared in this post? Please feel free to engage us and let us know your thoughts!

How can 92 West Help?

Truly, we exceed customer expectations and consequently enhance user engagement with our client's brands. This strategy has seen us successfully help hundreds of companies define and achieve success.

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