Digital Engagement: Why, How, and Who?
Updated: May 8
Are you ready for the new normal?
You might want to bookmark this one...
ACTIV is a customer engagement agency that has built our brand around in-person activations. Whether it's an AFL sponsor or a local shopping centre, our goal is to build and maintain and meaningful connection between brands and their customers.
When COVID-19 hit Australia and mass gatherings were banned, we had to think fast and adapt our services so our clients could still engage their audience in a fun and meaningful way.
We asked ourselves...
If you normally invest your marketing budget into public events, expos, and markets, and rely on foot traffic and public advertising to get people through the door, how do you keep people interested in your brand?
This is a question most businesses like yours are considering right now.
If you're planning to just wait it out, you won't like what I'm about to say...
Business wont go back to normal. Business will shift into the new normal.
What does that mean for you?
You'll need to up your digital content game and implement innovative solutions to nurture your audience.
Here are some simple ways to adapt your marketing strategy as a small business in 2020:
Get clear on your avatar
You've had to adapt your business to survive - perhaps you offer contactless delivery, built an online store, or remarketed your product or service to a new demographic.
Why do you need one?
As your business changes, you need to keep a clear picture of your avatar in mind so your branding, marketing, and offers are designed and targeted correctly. If you don't, you risk wasting time and money by landing your product in front of the wrong people.
Having a clear idea of your target audience helps you make a solid connection between your brand and the end-user.
What's an avatar?
Imagine your ideal customer, personified. An avatar is not a demographic like "males and females between 20-35."
It is more like a Sims character, meaning you design everything about how they look, what they do, and what they like.
Have you ever found a brand with which you feel like you just fit right in, like it was made for you? Well, that's because it was. You are their avatar. You think "these shirts fit me perfectly! I'm only buying them from here from now on," or "I better not go in today, I always walk out with bags of stuff!"
How do you create one?
Get ready to take some notes, it's time to give your avatar a back story.
Consider the following details:
Style - clothing and home
Groups/communities they're in
Pages they follow
Channels they watch
Series/movies they like
How do you use an avatar in marketing?
When you design a product or service, write a piece of copy, make a social media post, and consider your branding, you can do so through the lens of your avatar.
Ask yourself these questions to get the ball rolling:
What are they struggling with?
What problems can I solve for them right now?
What is relevant to them this week?
How can I relate current affairs, my business, and their needs
Ask yourself these questions before posting/sending:
Would my avatar like it?
Would they stop scrolling if they saw this?
Would they think this is interesting?
What's missing that they would like to see?
Publish content that makes sense
Format to fit the platform
It can be difficult to have your content seen without paying to boost it. To increase your chances of being seen, it's important to specialise your content to fit the platform and the needs of your audience. Think about what you want to see on Facebook vs. Instagram. Even if it's from the same friend or business, you expect the content to look different on each platform. These sites and apps are aware of this, and customise users' feeds accordingly. Your posts will only show up if they keep users on the app/site longer, meaning they need to make people stop scrolling, provide value, and look like they're meant to be there.
Give 10 times before you ask
Manage the value/ask ratio
You may be surprised to know this... as a small business, your socials and email campaigns are not a place where you should constantly pump out posts about your new products, discounts and events. Those posts benefit you, and should be scattered and infrequent.
Balancing your content allows your audience to feel the reciprocity effect - whereby they feel indebted to you and are more likely to give back. It also prevents them from feeling irritated and unfollowing/unsubscribing.
Think of it as points that you cash in later. Each time you deliver value through a piece of content, you gain 1 point. Imagine it costs 10 points to ask your audience to sign up for your webinar, and 5 points to click the link in your bio. Before you ask your audience to do something that benefits you, ask yourself if you've done enough for them yet.
Humanise your brand
Put a face to the name
More than ever, people around the world are seeking connection through digital means. It's called SOCIAL media for a reason.
You're more likely to build trust, likability, and engagement when your content is personal and conversational.
What does humanising your brand look like?
Post casual talk-to-phone videos and live streams
Offer behind the scenes insights into you, your team, or the office/warehouse/store
Ask for feedback
Help customers for free in small ways (answer comments and questions)
Be generous to give back to the community (see our most recent Spin to Win competition here)
Build an online resource
Inform, demonstrate and entertain
While blogs are a necessity for driving traffic from search engines to your website, content creation is evolving and we need to keep up. It's no longer enough to write a long, text-heavy blog post.
Here are some ideas for resourceful content:
Step-by-step Instagram carousels
Facebook live showing behind the scenes production
Post customer photos of your products in use
Product demonstration videos on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram
Encourage comments sharing their experience for others to read
Want to use this quiet time to be prepared for the new normal? Build a portal on your website where your customers can find product information, how-to's, free downloads, video demos and activities.
Contact us to dream up a vision for your brand - website design, content design and content creation all in one.
Personalised marketing is the future
Seek out clients & connections
We've all scrolled past countless ads of businesses we've never heard of
Don't cast huge net and refine through a funnel - people don't want to feel like just another nameless number. Use their name, write a personal message/email, mention their business or situation, offer your service. These small touches may take extra time, but they are gold for small businesses.
Do your research
Who do you connect with? Make a list of brands you would like to work with or clients you would like to develop a relationship with.
Nobody wants to feel like just another number, and we can all tell when an email or message has been copied and pasted. Don't be that guy.
If people buy from brands they know, like, and trust, how can you build those three factors into your relationship with your consumers? It doesn't take long to send out a few personalised emails, DMs or messages.
Here are a few impactful reach out ideas:
DM the accounts who comment on your recent post and ask them if there's anything you can help them with, and offer them a discount or a free entry-level product. "Hi Mark, My name is Miranda and I'm part of the ACTIV Brand Management team. I'm so happy to see that you enjoyed my last post about consumer engagement. Is there anything you're unsure about that I could help you with? Feel free to shoot through a question, I'm happy to help. If you're interested in learning more, we have a Social Media Content Guide that I think you would find useful. I've made a special discount code for you that will reduce it all the way down to $7, because I really want you to benefit from it. Paste MARK7 into the coupon field when you check out. I look forward to chatting with you!"
Check out someone's profile, website or social media account and pick out some interesting points (e.g. occupation, hobbies, family) to notice, empathise with, and appreciate. "Hi Mark, My name is Miranda and I'm part of the ACTIV Brand Management team, we specialise in consumer engagement both online and at events. I hope you've been safe and well. It's great to see that your cabinet making business is still up and running. We want to do our bit to keep Aussie businesses strong, so if there are any questions you might have about increasing consumer engagement and converting followers into customers, feel free to book a free virtual coffee. I look forward to chatting with you!"
Conduct a free analysis and offer your service where you can see they need it. "Hi Mark, I've taken a few minutes to assess your business's Instagram account, and I can see a few things that are preventing visitors from following you and clicking through to your website. They're common mistakes and are very easy to fix. I've written a short report for you, would you like me to email it to you? My name is Miranda and I'm part of the ACTIV Brand Management team, we specialise in consumer engagement both online and at events. I look forward to chatting with you soon!"
Combine these tips for a message people can't resist responding to!