Creating Legions of Digital Fans

by Mark

One topic that comes up anytime I am having a conversation about the Digital space or the Social Media Eco-System is the subject of engagement…Specifically how to create and maintain a high level of engagement with fans, customers, or subscribers. That mes amis is the $64,000 question and there are more than enough “experts, guru’s and consulting companies” all claiming that they have the answer.

I am not claiming to have all of the answers either, but I can share with you some examples of successful engagement campaigns that I have created or been a part of in the recent past. One of the first things I would suggest you do is ask yourself these thought provoking questions:

1. How do you currently develop relationships in the digital world? What I want you to explore here is are you simply reaching out to potential fans with push marketing messages only or are you offering something of value consistently to potential customers that costs them little to nothing.

2. Are you reaching across multiple social media channels or are you only on the most popular ones that you are comfortable with ? Are you where your audience is or is going? You must stay current on the big platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc) but realize that new ones pop up everyday and you must be at least conversational and/or testing them out.  Things change rapidly in the digital world…anyone remember MySpace??

3. How is my product/service/menu different from my competition? If 10 people went to your website and then your competitors website, would the marketing message and style be similar? Could these 10 people tell the difference in any significant way? I would be willing to bet that 8 out of the 10 people would not be able to point out any significant differences among the two sites. The challenge in marketing online is that so many websites are starting to look, sound, and feel exactly the same! Now I am not suggesting you be different just for the sake of being different, but there must be a compelling reason that someone who visits your sites is compelled to take action with you.

Here are 3 key ingredients that every successful marketer does to engage their audience in meaningful ways:

1. Be honest and diligent – Another way to describe this is…Be Your Authentic Self. Don’t try and be something you’re not or that you think people want you to be…your audience will trust and love you for the fact that you show them who you are, imperfections and all. Depending on your product or service, show your fans that you share many of the same concerns, fears, doubts, and worries that they have. I teach in my workshops the power of your story…share some “peeks behind the kitchen door” into you, your brand or your establishment. People love to read or understand the “why” of what you do or have created.

2. Provide Value – this should be a no-brainer, but you can’t imagine how many marketers and brands forget this one key ingredient. In the new digital age you need to provide a solution and stop always trying to be a brand. What is your audience trying to accomplish and how can you, your product, or service help them out?

3. Show That You Care – Again, another ingredient that should be easy to implement, but again, most marketers and brands either forget this completely or make half-baked attempts at showing their fans they care. One Social Media Rock Star who currently is doing this very well is Lady Gaga. Look across some of her social media platforms and take a look at the sheer number of fans she has. Think about this for a second…she has 1/10th the marketing budget of just about any Fortune 500 company, yet she outperforms them on every metric of fan loyalty, engagement, and revenue.

Social media users don’t always follow the most talented people or the biggest brands. Instead, they usually follow with passion people and brands that they truly believe care about them. Movie stars and musicians how have 10 million or more followers can’t know every individual they are connected with online. However, the more successful ones make their followers FEEL like they know them or at the very least the acknowledge and appreciate the very people who helped them achieve the level of success they enjoy.

The more that you can exhibit that you understand your customers needs the stronger the digital connection will be.

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