Make engagement your own
Engagement. Do you really know what that means? Or is it just an overused buzzword we throw around? Experts gave nine ways to make engagement work for you at the second annual Community Management Conference #CM1TO on May 22 at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio.
- Define it.Clarke de Pastino, VP of Engagement, Ipsos SMX challenged us to define it before sharing his golden rules for keeping communities active, meaningful and most importantly, engaged. Too often we get caught up in managing a community and forget what it’s like to truly be a part of one.
People want to see the impact of their contribution within a community, and be recognized for it. The community relationship works both ways, and putting in some extra time to establish personal connections with followers builds invested interest.
- Make the investment. Having thousands of followers on a brand page doesn’t equate engagement. Fans are virtually useless if they aren’t invested in the brand or its content.
As Destin Haynes from HooteSuite mentioned, you want vibrant online communities to inspire and empower audience members. Creating a lasting bond with customers encourages them to become brand ambassadors, which in turn helps you expand into new markets and get in touch on a local level.
Localization goes beyond translating products, it’s about creating the right content to build partnerships—and that starts with listening to your audiences.
- Be the link. As the VP of Social Media at Rogers Communications, Keith McArthur knows the most important skill a community manager must have is the ability to listen. Community managers act as the bridge between customers and the corporation and as an advocate for both sides, listening can help them determine what to say and what not to say.
McArthur shared key learnings from Rogers and profiled the importance of knowing your audience’s issues, and being transparent about managing and resolving them to become a better ambassador of customer needs.
- Take it to the next level. And customer needs are constantly evolving as Tessa Sproule, Director of Digital Content, CBC noted from a broadcast perspective, the medium is the message but our audience is often the message too.
Gone are the days where producers could focus on the show or the brand, today it’s about the fans and how they’ve immersed themselves into the story. To build a passionate community you have to stoke fans’ enthusiasm and follow their lead.
- Give it some personality. Engaging with those fans doesn’t mean simply replying either. Responding in a timely and cheeky fashion also helps according to Gregg Tilston, Global Social Media Leader, from Flight Centre Travel Group. Tilston noted within every issue is an opportunity; an opportunity to improve, grow or provide value.
- Make the campaign support their content. For YouTube, Bob Cornwall from Google explained building a community means putting the content first and campaign second. Brands have to win moments that matter for their fans, and Cornwall encourages the hero, hub and hygiene formula.
- Hero. To grab attention, brands release their hero content, also known as the “go big or go home” moment where the goal is to get as many views as possible.
- Hub. From those views, brands target customers they want to incorporate on another level by creating moments that intersect with their passions and interests –the hub– so they form a connection to the community.
- Hygiene. And to retain those loyal fans, brands push their hygiene content which focuses on the brand and its products.
- Create a pleasant surprise. There are other ways to retain loyal fans (or customers) as well. Mitchell Fawcett, Founder & Agency Director, Motive Communications shared the art of surprising and delighting your customers and the impact it has on your relationship.
Businesses and brands should always consider what their customers value and what they can offer in relation to this. Going that extra mile to personalize a message or treat helps put you in the forefront of their mind.
These little rewards don’t have to come with an expensive price tag either, Fawcett shared his simple tricks like framing a photo stolen from Instagram or sending a virtual card to celebrate someone’s birthday.
- Go the extra mile. When selecting who to surprise and delight, new and loyal customers may top your list but consider influential media as well. A pleasant surprise can open doors and spark a conversation between influencers and brands—if the brand keeps the relationship going.
Blogger Casie Stewart made it clear that when it comes to brands, she’s in it for the long haul. Stewart doesn’t just want a gift in the mail, what she wants is the follow through to show this is a relationship.
Establishing this connection and communicating with an influencer can work wonders for your community. If there ever comes a time when your brand needs support, you know who to leverage, which is exactly what Tangerine did.
- Ask them for support.Andrew Zimakas, CMO, Tangerine Bank pinpointed how you can tap into your community for support. During the transition from ING DIRECT to Tangerine, Zimakas and his team turned to their community and brand ambassadors for support.
From cm1.ca: Andrew Zumakis presents on Tangerine’s Re-Brand Strategy
Change can spark uncertainty and Tangerine leveraged these relationships to help the company reassure clients and Canadians that they still uphold the essence of ING DIRECT, just with a different name.
Tangerine also recognized and rewarded their offline community, its employees, for their continued support. Employees are a brand’s biggest advocates, reward them for embodying the brand values and share their voices through your channels.
We’d love to hear from you if want to jump-start your brand’s social communities and engagement.