How to Engage with your Online Audience: 5 Practical Tips
January 9th 2020 | By Sarah McInerney
The way a business engages with its audience can have a significant effect on its success. An effective engagement strategy draws people in for the first time, then keeps them coming back in the future, not to mention inviting others to join them.
But how exactly do brands go about building and engaging an audience? It’s precisely what we’re looking at here, with five practical how-to tips that will help get your audience eating out of your hand.
Tip #1: Understand your target audience
Before you even begin the whole engagement process, you’re going to need to thoroughly understand your audience. Ask these questions:
What platforms are your audience using?
Not everyone uses the same platforms, but look closely and you’ll usually see trends amongst certain audiences. The professional business community for example will often frequent LinkedIn, advisory forums, professional groups, trusted websites and news feeds, sometimes Twitter. Consumers in general tend to be bigger fans of the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, but break this down into age group and you’re going to find younger targets will be on sites like Tik Tok, Live.me and Snapchat.
This is all very generalised though. It’s vital to spend some time and get to know where your audience is, and then take a look at the type of content they are already engaging with, and not engaging with.
What you can do:
- Use Google Trends – enter the keywords that matter in your industry to discover what people want to know and how they are engaging online
- Get on social media – see what your audience is searching for, who they are interacting with and what’s getting all the shares and mentions
Tip #2: Create a brand story for audience engagement
Brand storytelling is one of the most successful ways to engage with an audience. It creates a sense of familiarity, something the audience can relate to.
A brand story should start by addressing the issues that your service or product is designed to resolve. Next, demonstrate how you help resolve those issues. Show how what you do actually works. Get loyal fans involved with reviews, video testimonials, demonstrations, before and after photos: whatever it takes to get the message across in a compelling and believable way.
Your brand story will help you develop brand identity, which is a crucial part of audience engagement. People will engage with those they trust.
Your brand identity will need to resonate with your audience personas. For example, if you target a more mature audience, you’ll want to become known for your caring approach; for your trustworthiness and the way you make people feel comfortable in dealing with you. If you’re targeting a professional audience, then you’ll want to be known for your thought leadership and knowledge.
Your tone of voice will need to be an exact match for your audience. Otherwise the whole engagement thing just won’t work.
Tip #3: Publish amazing content
If you’re going to engage with your audience online, then you’ll need to show them that you understand their needs and interests. What better way to do this than through quality content that addresses everything they want to know?
Be sure to make your content in-depth so that it demonstrates your expertise and compels trust. Take time over researching. Cross reference all your facts and make whatever you are crafting the ‘ultimate guide’. And make sure it’s nice and readable.
And it doesn’t just have to be articles and guides. Depending on your audience, here are some alternative content ideas to consider that can help with engagement:
- Limited-time offers
- Exclusive insights
Finally, don’t limit your content to your website. Get it out there. Share it on social media. Offer it to relevant online publishers and media channels (although you’ll need to make sure you meet all their editorial criteria first). Collaborate with a well-known industry blogger and exchange content. The wider your reach, the more likely you are to become trusted, and the better job you’ll do of engaging with your audience.
Tip #4: Make a video
Video is known to generate more conversions than any other medium. It engages an audience instantly, especially those who prefer to see something visual than written.
Over 500 million users watch videos on Facebook every day, so it’s clear to see its popularity. But what type of videos should you be creating? Again, this will depend on your audience profile, but here are some ideas:
- Customer testimonials
- Marketing case studies
- How-to videos
- Brand stories
- Live feeds
- Video podcasts
- Expert interviews
- Company explainers
- Amusing anecdotes
Tip #5: Favour quality over quantity for the best audience engagement
Just as churning out reams of meaningless content was outlawed in favour of producing fewer but more in-depth articles and guides, so you should be adopting the same approach with all your audience engagement tactics. Whatever you do, think quality. Think targeting. Think what does my audience really want? Just don’t think about over-doing it to the point where your audience thinks, so what?
Instead, take your time to craft meaningful posts, content and videos that actually strike a chord with your audience. Posts, content and videos that truly engage, show your personality and how you care about your customers, and compels them to come back for more.
Need help with online audience engagement?
From user-friendly website design to digital campaigns with meaning, we’ve got it all covered here at Figment. Why not get in touch to discover how we can help you better engage with your online audience? We look forward to hearing from you!