Creating quality content is the only way to reduce noise and keep customers interested, excited and loyal.
Why? Because there are so many competing brands, you need to let potential customers know that you are the expert in the field, the brainstorming of ingenious ideas, the builder of innovative products, and the only real market leader.
This cannot be achieved by hiding behind a curtain. You need to go there and talk to your potential customers about the things they want to hear.
This strategy is called audience engagement.
What is audience engagement?
Audience engagement describes the connection between a brand and its customers that is facilitated by a marketer who uses content on social media, virtual and personal events, advertising, or other means of communication or publicity.
The deeper the connection, the stronger the relationship between the audience and the brand. This link can manifest as an audience member who clicks on a company’s assets, reads its content, or interacts with its posts.
In recent years, audience engagement has become significantly more dynamic – and more difficult to measure – mainly because customer expectations have changed. Technological developments have allowed brands to reach users more efficiently, and in turn, customers have begun to expect deeper and more personal communication of content.
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Involving the audience in the activities
Take Chipotle, for example. The brand took advantage of Americans’ existing obsession with avocados and their growing interest in the new social media platform TikTok to launch a fun and engaging campaign called #Guacdance. Chipotle informed its target audience about the new trend a Press release as well as social media.
The results are almost what you would expect.
@brentriveraIf guacamole is free @chipotle if you order on July 31st online / in-app😍 #GuacDance #ad♬ Guacamole Song – Dr. Jean
All Chipotle had to do was invent the hashtag around the national avocado days, add dance and sell people. #Guacdance is just one of many TikTok challenges that Chipotle started and it has paid off. On this social media platform alone, the brand has 1.6 million followers.
Your brand aims to use content to interact with your customers, turning them into loyal patrons of respondents and then brand evangelists (if you call it thousands of people dancing enthusiastically around a bowl of guacamole).
How does content marketing come in?
Audience engagement and content marketing go hand in hand. You can’t expect a customer to start a dialogue without prompting – you need to stop him in your footsteps and make him notice your brand so you can start a relationship.
Advertising alone is not enough to convince your target audience that your brand is high quality. Content marketing as part of your audience engagement strategy means showing, not talking.
Content marketing gains trust
Just check out Warby Parker, an eyewear company that offers custom sunglasses and eyewear. Something he has decided to do – which many other companies have not done – publishes a web-based step-by-step visual guide to making each pair of glasses. The members of the brand’s target group can see for themselves how exactly the products are made.
Much of the eyewear manufacturing process is done by hand. The glasses are tested for strength and functionality. Warby Parker even uses sustainable products. All of these considerations are important to customers today. So brands that implement these practices in their processes should make this perfectly clear through their content marketing.
Warby Parker has worked hard to gain the trust of the audience. This is one of the reasons why the brand is so popular.
How social media can improve audience engagement
Content marketing does not only exist on a brand website. That’s its beauty – it can exist anywhere and be almost anything. As social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and others became popular, content marketing changed forever.
Social media gives organizations the ability to create a web-based personality and interact with customers on a regular basis, breaking down some walls between brands and their audiences.
Your brand can be used in many different ways to support audience engagement on social media.
Companies can share testimonials from happy customers and respond to comments and responses from their followers. They can also post photos or videos of people using their products for inspiration and tips. Such relationships add value to a brand outside of products or services and motivate people to become regular customers.
Select audience-based content
Organizations can also challenge their social media watchers to increase engagement. One company that has been hugely successful with this strategy is the PlayStation.
From 2014 to 2019, PlayStation will be Twitter followers increased by 376%, according to Unmetricule. That’s 12 million followers in 5 years.
The social team did this by engaging their audience, who are mainly video game enthusiasts, in the best way they can – with the content and challenges of video games.
First, they encouraged people to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic by posting a challenge to #Playathome and offering free downloads of the video games Uncharted and Journey. Finished 10 million people downloaded games, writes PushSquare.
PlayStation also encourages its followers to play more video games by providing incentives, such as the ability to unlock new themes and avatars.
PlayStation also hosts virtual streaming events and excites followers with upcoming game teasers.
The new PS5 came out recently. But you probably already knew that, didn’t you? This is largely because all this is what players talk about on social media. Much to the glory of the PlayStation.
Improving audience engagement with events
Somewhat the opposite of PlayStation’s #Playathome initiative, other brands host events to get their audiences moving.
When brands become movements
Companies specializing in sports equipment and clothing are among the biggest proponents of health and fitness.
One brand of sportswear that you’ve probably heard of is LuluLemon, and that’s largely because it has such a huge follower.
There is nothing more exciting for fitness people than a community event. LuluLemon organizes personal events in all states across the country and its audience can easily find events near them on their events page.
LuluLemon also organizes virtual events, such as web classes and workshops. However, one of the brand’s most popular events is SeaWheeze, a virtual half marathon and 10K.
It’s hard to make training fun, and LuluLemon does it by turning it into a party. Even if it is a virtual event, each participant can expect to meet like-minded people and change their usual activities.
Your brand can do something similar, be it a local trivia contest, an open microphone night, a presentation of your latest products, or really anything else that sounds fun to your audience. The thing is, it makes people think about your brand and be excited about your products.
Monitoring the success of audience engagement
None of your hard work in creating quality content is important unless it leads to increased audience engagement. That’s why you also need to know how to evaluate the effectiveness of your initiatives.
Here are some of the most important questions to ask when analyzing campaigns to determine audience engagement:
Are users excited about your content?
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms for businesses provide metrics about follower engagement and trends.
Using these tools, you can see how many followers like, share, or comment on your posts, as well as which posts get the most attention.
With this information, you can tailor your audience’s experience to exactly what they want to see more. Maybe social media is the right channel for your brand or not.
What type of content is most effective?
Audience engagement can involve a lot of trial and error. You can start a social media campaign or a series of blogs that end up on the flop. If so, you don’t want to keep wasting time and resources on it.
Social media metrics and Google Analytics help you evaluate which audience engagement strategies are working and which need to be changed or revoked. You can see which social media posts are exploding and which are being ignored. Google Analytics shows you information about how your audience interacts with your website, such as total clicks, bounce rates, and more.
The best content marketing for your brand
There is no one right answer to engage your audience. It depends on what you are selling, how you want your brand personality and who your target audience is.
The purpose of audience involvement is build strong communication through your content, turning those who don’t know or care about your brand into loyal patrons who highly recommend you to your friends and maybe even dance around your products in Tik-Toki.
Quality content marketing will get you there.
Editor’s note: updated in June 2021.