Today’s customers are now more connected and influential than ever. Modern tech has given users access to seemingly endless amounts of information in just a few strokes of a smartphone. This constant connection allows customers to be in control of their experience, which in turn that means that we as marketers must take a step back and reconsider how to effectively engage your customers. Here are a few essential marketing tools you can utilize to maximize customer engagement:

Tap into Customer Insights with Social Media

Now, perhaps this one seems obvious, but bear with me. Often, we see brands use social media as a way to promote products and brand messaging. While this is effective, it only scratches the surface of social media’s engagement opportunities. With social media, businesses are able to obtain valuable information from the masses and discover both what is and isn’t working for customers. Discerning customer trends through social media allows not only for less guesswork in product or service development but also creates a more customer-focused platform. In addition, social media presents an opportunity humanize and differentiate your brand. A trusted brand can go a long way. For some effective example of social media success, check out this blog post.

Distribute Useful Customer-Focused Content

Creating content to educate customers used to be an under-used customer engagement strategy, but now it has become a major way to enhance the customer experience. However, companies should strive to use content to deliver more than typical product knowledge and customer support. Content is all about helping customers understand useful practices, what’s trending in their industry, and the handy guides that focus on adding value for customers. This can include regular blog posts, webinars, and email updates with helpful tips.

For smaller businesses, getting on board with new content might be a struggle at first. Hints? Start by using a tool like Feedly, which aggregates and customizes trending and insightful industry news that is relevant to your business into a single blog feed. Next, create an editorial calendar and work in as many topic ideas as you can that are relevant and useful for your customer. Try re-purposing a blog post into an email newsletter, or even a Facebook post into a Tweet.

Create Customer Feedback Loops

Customer engagement is not just a one-way sales pitch to your customer; it is a two-way discussion about your customer’s needs. In order to truly understand your customers’ greatest needs, you have to ask. Establish a feedback system using customer review software or customized emails asking about your customer’s experience with your store or business. Channel negative feedback offline and take care of complaints promptly and thoroughly, while promoting positive feedback online. Start by mapping out a strategy that includes:

  • Questions you want to ask your customers about their experience and needs
  • Identify the responsible party and appropriate responses for negative reviews
  • Complete profiles on review sites, like Yelp, Facebook, Google Plus or Tripadvisor, where you want to encourage your customers to share good reviews
  • Craft automated emails or use a review software to begin gathering feedback
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