As you well know by now, having an engaged audience is no easy task. You might be able to pay for a lot of traffic to your website or social media pages, but getting those users to stick around and engage with you is a whole other ball game. Both are important, but strategies for each are pretty different.
We’ve recently discussed some awesome tools for boosting website traffic, as well as specific strategies for increasing blog traffic. Read up on those if you are currently concerned with website traffic specifically. Today we are talking all about audience engagement. That may mean getting them to sign up for an email newsletter, encouraging them to make a purchase with you, sharing your blog on social media, or even liking and commenting on your social media posts.
Audience engagement has become a really important aspect of digital marketing. Especially with the rise of social media, it is no longer enough to put out a message and see what happens. Instead, you need an audience that is engaging with you, your platforms, and most importantly, your products or services.
So, what can you (or should you) be doing? Here are 10 ways to engage your audience and boost engagement. No matter what industry you are in, or if you are a B2C or B2B business, these strategies can work for you and your brand.
1. Invest time and energy into social listening
One of the best ways to boost audience engagement is to insert yourself into places where your audience already is engaging. And where does that tend to be? Social media of course. We’ll mention social media a few times in this article (it’s incredibly important, there’s no denying that), but all other instances involve actual content on social.
With social listening, the goal is to find existing conversations about your brand (or even just your industry). To help boost engagement take that one step further and join the conversation!
Starbucks, for example, does a great job responding to comments and chatting with customers. The point here is not to be salesy or push any type of business goals. Just engage with your audience! Sometimes it really is that simple.
It’s important here to develop a strong brand voice and stick with it whenever engaging with your audience. Is your brand focused on positivity? Do you rely on humor, and if so, what type of humor? Having a consistent tone in your messaging (even when it comes to things like social media interactions) is incredibly important. In fact, 80% of people choose to follow a brand on social media based on things like content and interactions and if they feel authentic.
Figure out where you audience spends most of its time and spend some time there yourself! Whether that is Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Reddit, be there as well and engage meaningfully. Your audience will notice.
2. Keep them on-site longer through smart recommendations
It’s important to also focus on audience engagement on site. For many of us, content marketing is a major part of our digital marketing strategy. Content can help you with so many things- from providing valuable content for social media, to improving your SEO, to helping boost email lists. In fact, content marketing typically results in 55% more traffic for your website, as well as 5 times more leads. One way to further boost the effectiveness of your content is to make smart recommendations about additional content of yours that a reader should click (or tap) on next.
For example, the above image is a screenshot of a blog article up at shanebarker.com. Throughout the blog article, green boxes were inserted that included what they called ‘handpicked related content.’
How to Grow your Instagram Account was provided after a paragraph detailing social video content. It’s a logical suggestion to make, and is an article that a lot of people who read that far are likely to click on to read next. The green box helps draw the eye towards it, giving you a better chance that a reader will actually notice it and click. This is such a smart way to keep people at your website for longer, consuming more of your content.
This probably sounds obvious, but it bears repeating because of just how important it really is. At this point, we all know that our content needs visuals, but what a lot of brands need help with is the quality and quantity of the visuals they are using. In this case, it isn’t quality over quantity- you need both equally!
Infographics, for example, are shared 3 times more than any other type of content on social media. In general, visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than anything else. You can check out more stats like these here in the full length infographic.
The problem is, plenty of brands are already getting this right. If you aren’t, you run the serious risk of having super low engagement rates on social media and beyond. Invest plenty of time and budget to your visual content. This should include images, videos, infographics, and more. It is well worth the investment.
4. Collaborate with influencers
Influencer marketing turned out to be a serious game changer in the marketing world. Plenty of people thought it was a buzzy trend that would come and go-but that is certainly not the case. Nearly 95% of marketers agree that influencer marketing is an effective campaign strategy.
Connecting with the right influencers is an excellent way to boost your audience engagement, and also increase your overall audience size as well. Simply put, people like connecting with influencers and listen to what they have to say. If their favorite influencer loves a certain brand or product, there’s a good chance they will at least check out that brand or product and potentially do a lot more than just that.
If you are worried that you will have to shell out major money to connect with all the biggest influencers out there in order to get results, don’t be. In fact, a rising trend in influencer marketing is working with what are known as micro-influencers (as is pictured above in a social media post for Sperry). Typically, micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on social media (some people say that having up to 50,000 followers still qualifies you as a micro-influencer).
What is great with working with a micro-influencer is that the campaigns tend to feel much more authentic. Instead of a big glossy sponsored post going up on a celebrity’s Instagram account that has millions of followers, a campaign with a micro-influencer will be much more personal. They will be far more connected with their audience (since it is smaller) and typically they have a much narrower niche, meaning you are connecting with a highly targeted group of people.
Don’t worry about trying to connect with major Instagram celebrities. Instead, spend some time trying to find micro-influencers that are likely to give you far better results for a fraction of the cost. Keep in mind- peak engagement usually occurs on accounts that have around 1,000 followers!
5. Engage on site via live chat/chatbots
Another great way to boost engagement with your audience while they are at your site is via live chat and chatbots! Live chat has become a preferred method of communication for customers (and it has the highest level of customer satisfaction at 92%). By also adding in the functionality of a chatbot, you’ll have the ability to immediately engage with your audience 24/7.
Live chat is a great way to boost engagement and give your audience what they ultimately need in order to make a purchase from you. By removing the waiting process (say to either get an email or social media response), you are providing your audience with a better overall customer experience, and also lessening the chance that they leave your site without ever returning.
6. Surprise your audience with discounts or free gifts
We all like free gifts or discounts. Surprising your audience with a free gift or discount is an excellent way to boost your engagement and also keep your audience happy. Everyone expects a sale at certain times of the year, say on holidays or towards the end of the year.
Expected sales are still great to do, and in fact with Black Friday coming up sooner than you might imagine it might be time to start planning your sales strategy, but popping up at other seemingly ‘random’ times is a great way to really see a nice engagement bump.
For example, you might surprise new customers with a code to use on their first purchase, or even include a free gift that they only see when the item they ordered arrives. Or, do a random flash sale one weekend just to say thanks to your audience for their support! This unexpected surprise will catch their attention and is a great way to boost your audience engagement and also help to keep them engaged.
7. Get creative on social media
Back to social media. Get creative with it! Years ago you really only had the option of having a Facebook page. As we all know, things have changed just a little bit over the past few years. You now have so many different platforms and options within each platform to really have some fun and great creative with your social. Trust us, that is what your audience wants to see!
Instagram Stories have become a great method of audience engagement, for example. Since its launch in 2016, it has quickly become a popular tool for brands to use. Instagram Stories alone has 500 million daily active users, and looking at analytics, 1 out of 3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses, not individuals.
National Geographic does a great job engaging their audience with quizzes on their stories. Not only is the information relevant to their audience, it is presented in an engaging way, allowing users to actually guess their answers and advance through their stories to learn more. Best of all, all of these features are all within Instagram, giving you easy access to all sorts of engaging tools like quizzes, polls, stickers, and more.
8. Go for the giveaway
Remember earlier when we said that all people like free gifts? In addition to discounts and free gifts with purchase, consider hosting a giveaway. This is a great way to boost audience engagement and to build up your audience on social media.
Accessories brand Kapten & Son hosted a giveaway when they hit 700,000 followers on Instagram, for example. Not only is this a nice way to thank your existing audience for their support, it helps boost engagement and further build your overall audience.
Make sure you make it so that a user has to engage with your brand in some way in order to be qualified for the giveaway. This could mean they have to like your page, share a photo with you tagged in it, or tag a user in your comments (just to name a few suggestions). You will see a nice boost in engagement during the length of the giveaway and beyond that.
You don’t need to host a giveaway all the time, but by doing some from time to time, you give your audience an incentive to stay connected and engaged with you in order to have the chance to win all sorts of cool stuff. Who doesn’t like that?
9. Share user-generated content
Step into the role of consumer briefly. Have you ever shared a shot on social media showing off a new product or service you liked and tagged the brand? Did they happen to like the post, comment on it, or even better, share it on their own website or social media? If you’ve ever had that happen, you know how great it made you feel. It’s simple psychology. It makes people feel good. Stepping back into the role of business owner- do that for your own brand!
User generated content is not only great content for you to share on your social media, it’s great for keeping audience engagement high. Make sure you make it known that you frequently share content from users. Add a statement to your Instagram bio, write a blog post, and have a gallery on your website that regularly updates with new content from users. Clothing brand Gentle Fawn, for example, regularly highlights user content that includes their branded hashtag #gentlefawnstyle.
By regularly doing this, you are encouraging users to keep up sharing images featuring your brand so that they have a chance to be featured. This keeps your existing audience tuned into your brand, and gives you free exposure on all of their social media channels!
Pro tip: Take this to the next level by combining it with a giveaway. You could select 1 user each month that has shared you on social media and give them a gift card to your store, for example. Not only will people be excited at the chance to be featured, they’ll be excited to possibly win a prize.
10. Retarget via Web Push Notification
Finally, you can always take matters into your own hands by directly engaging your audience via web push notification. You always run the risk that a user either doesn’t ever return to your website or doesn’t see your content on social media. Instead, you can reach out to them directly and encourage them to come back to your website.
Retargeting will always be a top digital marketing tactic, and when done well, is a great strategy for boosting both website traffic and engagement. If you are getting the traffic you need but have a high bounce rate, check out some of these landing page essentials that may help.
For your actual web push campaigns, make sure to make use of smart segments in order to send campaigns that are more relevant. Also check out this guide that will tell you what all the best web push notifications have in common.
Engaging on site, through social media, and via retargeting with web push is a great, comprehensive way to boost your audience engagement. Your strategy should include a healthy amount of your own content (that is high quality, especially with regards to visuals), as well as content from influencers and your own audience and customers. With time, you will develop a large, engaged audience that will also translate to increased sales for your business.
Which of these 10 ways to engage your audience and boost engagement works best for your business? Have you given them a try, or is there something else we forgot to include on our list? Let us know by sending us a message!
If you are new to web push and want to add it into your audience engagement strategy, get started for free with Aimtell, or learn more about web push by reading our Beginner’s Guide.