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Customer Engagement Is Key For 2013
By: Kevin Weaver
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This past year was a pretty busy one in the advertising world. From the Olympics to the presidential campaign, there was plenty to talk about and millions of advertising dollars were spent. With so much going on, it was relatively easy for companies to communicate and generate conversation with consumers through social media. But what about when there is nothing to talk about?

It's easy to find a common ground with consumers when there are big things happening in the world, but engaging customers all year long is tricky and few companies do it well. Too many brands come out of hiding during the holiday season, bombard us with interrupting TV ads and emails, and then go dormant for another year. This is not smart advertising. For one thing, it's too easy to be forgotten and secondly, it's just not a very wise strategy, financially speaking.   

There is no perfect method or formula for effective customer engagement. It's mostly a trial-by-fire experiment.  Think about what your customers might want to talk about. Don't try to start conversations through annoying e-blasts encouraging immediate action for instant savings. Most people aren't enticed by that stuff anymore. Instead just try talking to the customers. Ask them direct questions that tailor to specific demographics. "How did everyone do on finals?" "Tell us what you're all doing for spring break." This type of engagement personalizes and adds a very human aspect to your brand.

Another great way to engage consumers is to tell a story. You want to people to be talking and thinking about your brand. Become the ultimate storyteller and make sure you have your most loyal fans' attention. Tell your brand's story through text and images. It's amazing how well people respond to pictures. Target those who are most likely to share, like, and talk about your brand.

Unfortunately, brands will be judged in 2013, fairly or unfairly, by their levels of engagement from a 2012 that was jam-packed with shared agendas and topics. Basically once the holiday season passes and the Super Bowl comes and goes, companies are on their own. Because of a perceived lack of substance for 2013, we should expect to see some pretty innovative uses of social media and advertising. But remember, it's not always about selling your product. Sometimes it's just as important to make your presence known and remain relevant in your customers' eyes.


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About the Author
Kevin Weaver is a marketing professional in Wichita, KS with two years of experience. Past and present work includes email marketing compaigns, client e-store development, social media, and destination marketing.
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