It’s the Holy Grail for every marketer — interaction that’s engagement. Engaging your audience is the thing we all strive for in various ways — on our websites, on our social media sites, on our blogs … everywhere. We want to engage our current audiences like customers. We want to engage our new audiences, otherwise known as prospects.
Engagement has inherent risk
But when it comes to engagement, we need to be brave. Engagement has inherent risk. People may say things we don’t like. I don’t mean the sometimes crazy comments in your local online newspaper or television station, although for some industries that’s entirely possible. I mean the feedback about our products and services, our content, and our social posts. It can be negative. But that doesn’t mean we should stop asking questions and asking or soliciting feedback.
It’s why I think it’s a mistake to shut down comments from the blog, social media (like YouTube), and more.
Engagement has responsibility
It also means we’re responsible for doing something with that feedback. Our Customer Care team gets feedback from customers and share that information with our product management team. In fact, they often have ideas on how to improve our products and their feedback is a step in the process. In Marketing, when we’re conducting case studies and testimonials, we sometimes hear ideas for products; we carry that information forward, too.
Building engagement with negative feedback
Even really negative feedback can be positive, beyond ideas on how to improve. In the office, we like hearing feedback, even when it’s negative. Not long ago, someone called out a mistake we made on LinkedIn. We loved hearing it. When people care enough to point out mistakes, they care. Caring is a step along the way to engagement. If they’re disengaged, they won’t comment or correct you.
And if you’re lucky, those ideas for improvement can turn them into raving fans. When I worked at a nonprofit, there was a gentleman who made comments in social media that indicated he was disappointed in the nonprofit from services provided to general mission. I was lucky enough to be able to meet him for coffee and discuss his concerns — address some right away and take back ideas for improvement. After that, he became a raving fan. Sure, we can’t take everyone out for coffee to discuss ideas, but being open to negative feedback is important.
Negative feedback helps us improve and deepens our relationship with those giving those improvement ideas.
Peer-to-peer sharing is engagement at its finest. Your prospects and customers are learning and sharing with each other without you. They’re increasing your knowledge about subjects. And it’s without your resources, saving you money and time. By them sharing information in your space — on your website, in your forum, on your social media — you’re increasing engagement and loyalty in your brand. Loyalty’s increased by them and others.
How do you build engagement?
You have ideas. Let’s hear them.