Engagement Over Eyeballs
Companies often have difficulties with social media because it is about having a conversation, and it is easier for individuals to engage in conversation than businesses. Companies need to remember that they still have individuals within them and individual parts, and need to engage in social media like an individual as well.
Think of a consumer, whether Dave down the street, or Dave’s Diner, the business down the street. The consumer doesn’t only get messages from one aspect of a company trying to reach them, they get separate communications from different departments, for different features and specials, and occasionally from individuals too, creating a din of noise around every consumer that is almost impossible to sift through. That type of interaction needs to change.
Regardless of who your desired customers are, you want to talk with them, not at them, to successfully engage in the social media sphere. Getting them to talk with each other about your company and products is even better, because it solidifies and enhances that engagement.
Mashable recently explored “Why Cross-Channel Messaging Is Crucial to Reaching New Consumers.” The road to cross-channel messaging success comes from listening to how consumers want to engage:
“Facebook and mobile messaging have become wildly popular because they are designed to meet peoples’ communication preferences and behaviors. There are lessons here for any kind of organization that uses messaging — email, text, IM or any format — to interact with customers, especially marketers. Instead of driving people to a single channel and talking to their customers, they can (and should) allow customers to interact with them (and each other) through their preferred channel.”
Consumers want segmentation and ease of use. Additionally, if they are accessing something on their computer, they want it tailored to that experience, which is also true for mobile content, interactions with a call center, you name it.
A recent Forrester study, "The Future of Interactive Marketing," found that consumers want that cross-channel engagement, but companies are falling behind. Forrester’s solution?
“C.O.R.E., which stands for customize, optimize, respond and empower -- a proprietary mission and framework.”
Craig Vore, Outsell’s Design & Integration Lead, mentioned the need for optimized content in utilizing QR Codes effectively. His video on QR Code tips can be viewed here.
It is also important to remember that most social media is accessed from a mobile device rather than a computer, and the mobile world is not the same as the web.
“Mobile devices are quickly evolving into individualized digital ecosystems, each of which provides enormous potential for expanded reach, real-time engagement, and location-specific content. Marketers who discount mobile’s unique characteristics, or those who do nothing more than “spam” what many consider to be the most personal and private of channels, are doomed to fail.”
Alterian asked marketers some important questions in their 8th annual survey, including whether or not they felt they were as engaged as they should be with their consumers. Most responders had at least some concern that they were at risk for not engaging enough over social media channels, and if that trend remains, those that do nothing to improve engagement will be left behind. Read Alterian’s full report here.
If most marketers fear they aren’t engaged enough with their consumers, the real winners are going to be those few companies who dive into engagement head-on. Social media, especially through mobile, is a way to interact with customers and listen to their interactions with each other like never before.