February 11, 2015
A quick online search will yield hundreds of ways to improve your online marketing. Some common tips include using link building to improve your SEO, adding visual content and focusing on ad retargeting. All of this can be helpful, but if there’s only one thing you focus on this year, it should be engagement. Channel your energy into being more engaged on popular websites, social media and other content distributors.
In a world where social media has driven companies to compete for ‘likes’ and ‘shares,’ the true meaning of engagement has become lost. Genuine engagement has been replaced with shallow involvement and has, unfortunately, set some organizations back.
While viewing a marketing piece, liking, and sharing are all key components to a successful campaign, they are not the be-all and end-all. According to Christopher M. Litster, “The next step is to find meaningful ways to engage those customers over the long-term.”
In other words, you have to find a way to get beneath the surface level gimmicks and actually get to know who your customers are. For most companies, this comes down to managing your time well, covering all your bases, and learning to pursue as opposed to push.
Managing Your Time
One of the most challenging aspects of marketing can be time management; ensuring you are spending the right amount of time on the right projects. This is especially true when working to increase engagement. How can you do this without putting in a plethora of hours? You can take comfort in the fact that everyone, from small businesses to large corporations, struggle with this. While there is no simple answer, there are some helpful tips you can implement to make sure you’re reaching optimal engagement with your audience.
One way to avoid wasting time while making the most of your effort is to set SMART goals. This memorable acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. By paying attention to each of these elements, you’ll be able to use your time more efficiently.
A second way to better manage time is to know your audience. If you’re wasting time trying to pinpoint your target market, when they’re online, and what they’re searching, you’re a step behind. Spend the money on the front end to figure these things out, and the time you save later will make up for it.
Covering Your Bases
If you’re managing your time well, you’ll be able to actually focus on engagement. Start by making sure all your bases are covered. Do you have the right social media accounts set up? Is your blog active and consistent with your brand’s message? Are your ads consistently pushing people through the sales channel? You need all of these things in place to be capable of pursuing high-level engagement with your customers.
Pursuing not Pushing
Finally, if your time is managed well and all your bases are covered, you’re set up for success. The last step involves pursuing, as opposed to pushing. Find tangible ways to build an online community that’s conducive to free-flowing conversation. You shouldn’t be pushing content or calls-to-action onto your customers. Instead, you should gently encourage them to pursue your resources as valuable answers to their pressing questions. For a good example of this, check out Park View Legal’s Facebook page. It offers helpful tips, curates valuable content, and asks engaging questions.
By managing your time well, supplying yourself with the right tools, and pursuing not pushing, you will be better able to engage with your audience this year and improve brand visibility.
I am a professional blogger, writer, researcher and successful investor who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. A graduate of Iowa State University, I’m now a full-time freelance writer, business consultant and independent real estate investor. Currently, I write for Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, TheNextWeb.com and BiggerPockets.com. I have previously contributed to the HuffingtonPost.com, and Business.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, I’m also active in real estate investing and spend weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization. When I’m not saving the world with my keyboard, I can be found rock climbing.