How to engage your clients for the long run
by Lisa Apolinski, CMCMs. Apolinski, CMC, is an international speaker, digital strategist, author and founder of 3 Dog Write. She works with companies to develop and share their message using digital assets. Her latest book, Persuade With A Digital Content Story, was named one of the top content marketing books in the world by Book Authority. For information on her agency’s digital services visit www.3DogWrite.com.
Most people cannot imagine a world without the internet. But the start of public access to the digital world dates back only to 1989, when the first internet providers hit the scene.
Flash forward to today, where internet users account for nearly 60 percent of the world population, or close to 5 billion people. With that many people, there has also been an increase in number of internet users. Year over year digital adoption has grown just over 7 percent for 2021, according to the same global overview report from datareportal.com.
While the average time on social media has nearly doubled in 5 years, the overall increase in average hours on social media has slowed in growth to less than one percent year over year increase, according to reports from Global Web Index.
Spotlighting Your Digital Imprint
This is an interesting dilemma: more internet users but not as dramatic of an average time increase on social platforms meant to share digital content. A key question arises from this data – how do companies spotlight their digital content so as to have longevity for years to come, when there seems to be possible downward pressure on engagement? The answer lies in the type of digital engagement used to capture user attention fully when they are online.
Consider these three times of digital engagement as an organization’s new staple to put a spotlight on their digital footprint.
Live Stream Video & Audio
One great way to incorporate digital engagement is to have it in real time. Live streaming of either video or audio allows the audience to comment, share and engage as the conversation progresses. This is also a great way to move the conversation to one that is more relevant in the moment for the audience members.
This can be a scary endeavor as companies do not have full control over the content as it is being created. However, in those unscripted moments, true and amazing digital engagement can be found. And because the live streaming allows for audience engagement, the impact of the content will resonate for those audience members.
Giving up control of how the content unfolds has risk but so much more reward. Involving your audience in your content is a great way to make the content relevant in that moment and for future audiences who will be listening to great live engagement.
PRO TIP: Limit live stream to 30 minutes or less to keep the conversation in the intended lane.
User Generated Content
Some of the best content that can be generated is content that is generated by customers and clients. User generated content provides prospects with information that is highly applicable because it comes from a similar viewpoint. User generated content can also answer questions and concerns that companies are not aware of and in a way that provides the appropriate type of information future customers want to know.
User generated content allows customers to become company advocates. This type of free publicity also provides different voices in an organization’s digital content and some amazing perspectives can be provided.
What’s more, content that is created by happy customers can provide alternate points of view and new messaging that might not have been considered. Most user generated content will be limited to social media posts, images and video. However, any user generated content can be repurposed and shared on other digital channels, which provides additional content options.
PRO TIP: Ask customers to share their user generated content on the company socials.
Virtual Events & Communities
Allowing for virtual events and communities as additions or alternatives to in person options provide a platform for customers to engage exclusively with one another. This is an important consideration, as many organizations want to insert themselves directly into conversations when stepping aside and allowing authentic connection can be exactly what customers need.
These types of virtual engagements allow companies to be a proverbial fly on the wall. Seeing the types of conversations customers have with one another can show the current concerns of the day. This can provide future opportunities to create solutions for the customer base, and expand into untapped product and services areas.
Virtual events and communities can also provide the support customers need as they learn how to use these products and services, from basic 101 guides to ingenious hacks. Being aware of the types of questions as well as answers can provide additional content ideas, such as cheat sheets, videos that address common issues and tips and tricks to get the most out of the purchased products and services.
PRO TIP: Resist the urge to be an active participant in the virtual conversations unless invited.
There is one theme that appears with each of these types of content – the audience is in the creation driving seat. By allowing customers to create the digital content, they will also be much more inclined to engage with that content, including comments and sharing. Content that is developed from the customers’ perspective dramatically increases the chance of that content being highly relevant. Relevant content will have a much longer shelf life in the digital world and allow more eyes to see it.
Strong digital engagement can provide the spotlight organizations need on their digital footprint. Bring these types of digital engagement into a regular rotation to create longevity in digital content.