With customer acquisition costs running reportedly four to ten times higher than those for customer retention, customer engagement strategies have never been more important.
The good news?
Social media offers a plethora of ways to increase your company’s customer engagement.
Responsive and active brands that exhibit unique personalities can catch the attention of customers and result in some seriously good engagement metrics.
In this article, we take a look at what customer engagement actually is and leave you with five customer engagement tips you can try on your own brand’s social media.
What is customer engagement?
Customer engagement involves encouraging your customers to interact and share in the experiences you create for them as a brand. These relationships between the business and customer help to create brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Such strategies can help reduce churn rates by extending the customer journey beyond simply purchasing. Engaged customers are far more likely to become repeat customers.
What’s more, a study by Twitter found that customers who received responses to tweets from brands were willing to spend 3-20% more in future purchases with the businesses.
And that’s not all.
In the same study, it was found 30% of customers who receive a response to a tweet are more likely to recommend the business to others.
5 Customer engagement tips for social media
1. Discuss topics, not simply products
As fun as it is to talk about your latest products or seasonal sales, you’re unlikely to get much of an engaged response from people on social media.
Well, for starters, you have to remember why people are on social media.
People take to these networks to talk to family and develop friendships first in mind, not to engage with brands or promote products.
While you certainly want to be promoting products around a quarter of your time on social media, think about the opportunities you have by discussing broader topics as well as your brand and products.
By bringing fresh perspectives to relevant topics related to your business, you’re likely to see an increase in engagement on your chosen platforms.
People love to talk and share opinions and where better place to air their views than on social media.
If you have a homeware online retail business you could post and engage with posts around how to relax at home, cooking tips and recipes or discuss days out with family and friends and ask for user-generated content to share on your channels.
2. Join in relevant hashtag chats
Another way to boost engagement on social media is to join in relevant hashtag chats on Twitter.
A Twitter chat is a public conversation around one unique hashtag, which allows you to follow the discussion and participate if you wish. Generally speaking, most Twitter chats are held on a weekly basis.
The chat host will post a series of questions usually over the course of an hour for participants to engage with and discuss points of information with other users.
For example, if you own an ethical brand, a great weekly chat to get involved with is @Ethicalhour. Alternatively, if you’re looking for support or marketing ideas for your eCommerce business, you might find @eComChat worth investing some time into.
What’s more, providing you join in chats related to topics to do with your wider business strategy, you’re likely to find a plethora of highly relevant new followers for your brand’s social media account.
You may want to make use of TweetDeck when following particularly busy hashtag chats. This is a free tool created by Twitter that enables you to follow certain hashtags as well as a multitude of other elements such as creating user lists.
3. Host a giveaway or competition
An oldie but a goldie, one easy way in which to increase social media engagement is through hosting a product giveaway or competition.
Be creative with your offer and don’t be afraid to put a little money behind the giveaway to really make a far-reaching impact on your chosen social networks.
Before you design a giveaway or launch your competition, make sure that you keep in line with each platform’s terms of service.
Some social platforms are stringent on what you can ask for as part of your competition:
For example, on Facebook, the platform prohibits tagging friends as a means of entering a contest giveaway. You can read more about Facebook's promotional guidelines and rules here.
Another factor you’ll want to consider before going live with a product giveaway is to have clearly defined goals. What do you want to gain from this contest?
It’s easy enough to understand why people will choose to enter a social media contest, but the real point of holding a competition is that your business gains something from it.
- Are you seeking to grow your email list?
- Perhaps you want more followers?
- Maybe you’re looking to increase your brand’s reach?
You need to decide what metrics you will be monitoring so that you can determine your social media contest as a win or a failure that you can learn something from.
In addition, make sure that you have a clearly defined end date for your product giveaway or contest. A date not too far in the distant future is best as the immediacy of a prize can encourage more people to enter.
4. Launch a video strategy
One key trend that is sending engagement through the roof on social media is the introduction of videos. Although video has been around for quite some time now, it still remains an underused tool for many eCommerce businesses.
There are many elements that go into social media videos, including subtitles, length, details and sound.
Essentially, you are aiming to convey information in seconds or minutes worth of video, but if you do it well it can build rapport with your followers and level up your customer engagement on the platforms.
To create a video strategy, you first need to select which social network you want to deliver videos through. This matters because of the dimensions and qualities needed for a video differ for each platform and will need to be optimised for high quality.
Next, you’ll need to decide on the content of these videos:
You could do a weekly product highlight video to bring more engagement on your social channels and increase sales on your retail website.
Alternatively, you could consider creating informational videos based on a broad topic related to your business. This removes the focus away from your products and can be a great way to boost engagement organically.
For example, if you sell gardening equipment, you could release a selection of short how-to videos on potting plants and how to care for each individual plant.
5. Develop a brand voice worth engaging with
With so much content being created and shared on social media platforms every single day, standing out online has never been more important.
A brand showing human-like characteristics helps to enhance a customer’s online experience. As a result, a simple thing such as voice can actually enhance his or her intent to buy from your business.
This is because people connect with people – a conversational tone of voice on social media positively impacts customer trust, satisfaction and commitment.
Your tone of voice is not what you say, but how you say it.
You need to pay close attention not only to the words you choose, but the order, rhythm and pace in which they appear. It needs to reflect your brand and resonate with your audience.
An ideal starting point to define your voice is to consider your business values:
These are a small set of deeply rooted principles that lead your business and serve as its driving force for navigating and exploiting challenges, supporting everything that your brand executes – from its voice, to its culture and to its customer service.
Considering these values as a baseline helps to create a consistent experience for your customers. And the more consistent you are, the more memorable and impactful your business will become.
A simple way to turn your brand values into a tone of voice is to think of the qualities tied to your values:
For example, let’s look at the word collaborative as a brand value.
You can’t really speak in a “collaborative” tone of voice easily, and if you can, you can’t really communicate what you mean effectively to any employees who need to understand the nature of what you mean.
Instead, consider the qualities associated with someone who is collaborative. They are team-focused, generous, curious and appreciative. People who collaborate will listen first to understand and can work together without question.
Look at your own brand values:
What qualities or attributes do you associate with them? What synonyms could form a great basis for your brand’s tone of voice on social media?
Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
Engaged customers lead to loyal customers and repeat purchases
An engaged customer base is much more likely to be a loyal online community who will indulge in repeat purchasing at some point or another. Hopefully these customer engagement tips have given you some insight into how you can utilise social media.
Whichever social media strategy you decide to use to increase customer engagement for your eCommerce business, remember to stay consistent and concentrate your efforts on one or two platforms to achieve better results rather than diluting your efforts.
However, as you'll likely know, social media takes time. Time that equals money. Therefore, it makes business sense to automate as many of your daily selling processes as possible, so that you can benefit from more freedom to grow your business.
That's why exploring your opportunities with an automated inventory management system can be advantageous. It will reduce your workload, save countless hours and bring efficiency and accuracy into the business - leaving you free to optimise your social media strategies.