As a marketing professional in today’s über-competitive online space, you understand the importance and value of engaging your audience.
You’re part of the 91% of B2B marketers establishing and building a community using both content and social media marketing. It can be difficult. You’re interacting with your audience constantly: fostering new relationships, nurturing existing ones, and listening/responding to feedback. You’re building trust and rapport and your social reach is growing.
These things are great for building awareness. You’re putting yourself out there and joining in the conversation. You may not think people are interested in your business and what you have to say, but guess what, they are. You just have say it the right way. Here’s why:
Our emotions are the primary driver of our on- and offline actions. (tweet this)
Love a brand, piece of content, or product? Then you’ll probably be compelled to yodel it from a social media mountain! Read a great Yelp restaurant review from a friend? You’re more likely to eat at that place.
However, if we look on the flip side of that emotional coin, an awful experience with a company can be destructive to their reputation as information spreads so quickly.
If you want to generate more positive engagement, you must connect with your audience on an emotional level using valuable content that solves their problems. Use these 5 tips to guide your strategy:
1. Speak to your target customer directly.
You’ve probably heard about developing and maintain a voice for your brand. This voice is what you’ll use in your content and social media communications. These channels are personal for your readers. Don’t speak to the masses.
Appeal to many, but speak to one – your buyer persona.
I’m sure you have wonderful customers that you interact with often. They provide valuable feedback regarding your company’s products and services. Think about them as you’re writing your next blog article. Talk to them like you’re sitting across the dinner table from one another.
One-on-one communication is much more intimate and engaging than a mega-horn.
2. Create unique, valuable insights that can only come from you, not your competitors.
People love exclusivity. Give your audience something they can’t find anywhere else and they’ll automatically gravitate towards you and spread the word. This is especially true if you’re giving these insights away for free.
That’s what Jay’s Youtility concept is all about.
Instead of blending in with your competitors by slightly repurposing the same old topics that you all have written about recently, come up with your own topics that offer your unique take on situations. Show your audience that you’ve got something valuable to offer and you’ll see your audience come back again and again.
3. Use humor, compassion, and empathy.
Never underestimate the power of emotions. If someone can make you smile or shed a tear, you know there’s a pretty strong emotional bond there. These emotions are great to tap into because as humans, we love to relate.
Just ask Bassem Yousseff how powerful laughter can be.
Next time you write an article and have an opportunity to make an inside joke that only your audience will understand, go for it! Or if you’ve recently experienced an issue that your audience can relate to, tell them about it and explain how you resolved it. You can also ask your readers for tips on how they solved the same issue.
Another idea is to highlight any volunteer work your organization has done for any non-profits in your community. It’s always great to see companies dedicated to the betterment of their respective locales. Your audience needs to see that your company is built with real people - that it has a face and a personality that people can relate to and engage with.
4. Pick a side and make your case.
Going back to #2, your audience is looking to you as the expert when it comes to your content. In order to be considered an expert, not only must you provide valuable insights, but you must also take a firm stance.
Back up your points with hard evidence. Maintain your credibility by accurately citing your sources and imagery. Be objective and professional.
Think about political candidates running for office. It’s usually not a good idea when they’re not 100% for, or against a particular policy. They appear indecisive, weak, and untrustworthy. That’s why you need to stay clear-cut. No one likes a flip-flopper.
5. Ask the right questions to make them think.
The easiest way to connect emotionally and drive more engagement amongst your audience is to question them. Ask them about their experiences with your company, your products, or your service.
Is there a hot topic that you know your audience wants to hear your opinion on? Give it to them with your solid stance and then ask them if they agree and why/why not. Encourage healthy debate.
These questions and answers will also help you determine some awesome new topics to add to your content calendar. I can’t tell you how many times I read comments and the author replies, “Ooo that’s good, I’m going to use that!” or, “Your question is great and deserves a full blog post to answer it!” Questions and answers will keep your topics relevant, your content fresh, and your audience engaged.
Do you have any other unique tips or tricks that you’ve used in the past to connect with your audience emotionally? I’d love to hear about them and if they were effective or not. Thanks for your comments!