Ashley •  Apr 29, 2015 • Marketing

3 Easy Ways to Engage Your Community

blog.04.29-easy.ways.engage.community

In order to be a brilliant marketer, you have to get down and dirty with your own community. Here are 3 ways to be active, up front, and in contact with your customer and better your engagement!
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1 – See What They’re Saying About You

Have you ever googled somebody before you went on a date with them? It can help break the ice, or it can make the night a nightmare! The first thing you should do when engaging your customers is to peek around and look at what they’re saying online, especially what they’ve said about your brand. Take time to read reviews, search social media sites, and go through feedback emails. It’s a great way to find out what your users think about you and why, which helps in your future plans for new products and features! And, it helps you strike the right tone when you write to your users in blog posts, social media, and even user support responses.

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2 – See What They’re Saying to Each Other

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in marketing is to only pay attention to your product. Sure, you should see what your customers are saying about you, but don’t stop there. What else are they talking about? Don’t ignore things that delight your customers simply because they’re outside of your company’s focus. Pay attention to what makes your customers tick for better success rates when you engage them with your brand later.

When you create a branded social media channel, maybe you put up cool pictures or fun facts about your products and then expect your community to like you and follow you. But they might not want to retweet your sale or comment on a picture of your new product!

So…what do they want to retweet and comment on? For the answer, check out what your customers actively like or follow outside of your brand page. They might be talking about their favorite celebrity, a popular meme, or their problems at work. When a customer of yours “likes” something on social media, maybe it has no relation to your product, but it’s still important because it helps you understand your community’s wants and needs. Community engagement also means connecting over values: a 2013 Gensler study shows that customers overwhelmingly choose brands that match their personal values (87%) and avoid those that do not (71%).

So, to engage your community, consider relating your product to a new YouTube star your customers love, recreate a popular meme that’s funny to them, or jump on trends like #mcm and #tbt.

Even better, consider hosting (and provoking) conversations between your customers on your own properties, like your social media pages or branded chat rooms. At Frankly, we help brands bring their communities together through group chats on their mobile apps and websites. These group chats provide a space for customers to talk to each other about whatever they want. In this hosted outlet, your brand is still on their mind, but you’re not forcing them to make you the center of attention.

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3 – See Eye to Eye and Get On Their Level

Think about the last 3 times you interacted with your community. Was the interaction about you? The answer is probably yes.

A community wants to feel close to a brand, while brands too often are only interested in themselves: they engage with their customers only to get information, data, sales, or referrals. For example, on Twitter, a brand’s page might only retweet customers’ tweets when they mention the company’s products. Or, on email, the conversations are too transactional; the company sends out canned responses in reply to a customer complaint, and once the problem is solved, the conversation with the customer ends.

Feeling important and respected by a brand is important to a customer, so when it comes to conversations, a brand and its community shouldn’t be two separate entities with starkly different interests. Jump in on conversations with your community, no matter what they’re about. Reply to comments on trendy youtube videos or ask a question in a Reddit AMA. Participate in conversations outside of your products, learn from them, and have fun with it! A happy community is a group of happy customers.
Engage your community like this and see if your customers start to feel more trusting and open to you. Continue to foster those customers, and your community engagement will grow and grow!

At Frankly, we’re firm believers in engagement and have taken community involvement to another level by giving companies branded chat rooms in their mobile apps and websites. Our anonymous rooms, interest-based topic chats, and branded contextual messages are the best ways that we have found to see what your customers are saying to each other and to you, and to participate in those conversations with them.

Contact us for more information on how to crank up your in-app community engagement with the Frankly Chat SDK!