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How to Engage an Audience Online

There is a staggering amount of content online today. NodeGraph reports that in 2019, we reached an estimated 4.4 ZB of data online. To put that into perspective, a zettabyte is equal to 1,125,899,910,000,000 megabytes. With that much content, many voices are being drowned out by sheer quantity. To be heard, it takes more than just a momentary attention-getter.

Cutting through the noise to create brand recognition and customer loyalty requires a focus on ongoing engagement.  You are the best resource for your brand's expertise, so use it to your advantage. Let's look at how you can get started engaging your online audience. 

Decide on Your Target Audience

There is no way to please everyone. Instead, identify your target audience, then ask who your ideal customer is. Your target persona is determined by the demographic and behavioral information that describes the customer who will most identify with your product or solution. The following are some ways you can start to develop your target personas:

  • Look through your customer list to review how they find and consume your content.
  • Analyze how they engage with your brand.
  • Identify general and individual trends. 
  • Reach out to customers to discover how they use your product and what they like about it.

Once you have the information you need, you can start to picture what your target customer looks like:

  • Who they are
  • How they use your product
  • Benefits they get from using your product
  • The buying trigger that prompted them to look for a product or service like yours
  • The process they took to decide to buy your product
  • The factors or criteria they looked for in this or similar products

Find Your Unique Style

To create interest in your message, you have to find your unique voice. You don't want to sound like every other business. Instead, you want to come across as fresh and authentic. Interesting content speaks to who you are as a brand and communicates why your product or solution is ideal for your target audience in a way that resonates with them. Cater your style to mesh well with your audience's beliefs and emotions, and be specific about who you are and why your brand is a perfect choice.

Locate Your Audience

Know where your audience stays online so that you can go to them rather than wait for them to come to you. Some platforms may be a better fit for your message than others. You can use sites like Google, Quora, or Reddit to see what your audience is searching for, how they interact and with whom, and what is getting the most mentions or shares. 

Provide Value

Give people a reason to read, listen, or watch your content. Think about what would make your target customer want to share your content with friends or family. Visuals are important. SocialMediaToday found that images are viewed 94% more often than content without images. Videos remain one of the most popular ways to increase engagement, regardless of platform.

Focus on education over sales pitches. Your customers want to feel that they've received some value from the time they spend with you. Provide content that excites your customers, such as contests, competitions, exclusive offers, infographics, or polls.

Respond to Feedback

Engagement comes when your users feel heard. Social media is active 24 hours a day, so you'll want to be diligent in keeping up with comments. Respond as quickly as possible to show that you care about the feedback. Recognize and thank the users who repost or like your posts. Not only does this encourage more audience engagement, but the public acknowledgment can turn a casual follower into a brand evangelist.

Build Community

When your customers comment on and like your posts, that is engagement. When your customers share your posts and comment on each other's posts, that means you've built a community. Create a positive, comfortable environment where your followers feel part of a group that shares their interests. Depending on the platform, you may have the ability to create special groups for those interested in your content. 

Building a community of users or customers inspires loyalty. When people engage with each other through your content, they establish a relationship with your brand. 

Engage Your Online Audience To Create Brand Evangelists

According to Forbes, the consumption of content doubled in 2020. That means you have an active audience that is eager for your engaging content. When you speak authentically to your target audience about your brand and what it stands for, you allow them to relate to you. When you invite them to interact, then acknowledge and thank them for feedback, you not only create loyalty that means repeat business, but you inspire them to become brand evangelists. 

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Rory Kemerer

Written by Rory Kemerer

With over 9 years of digital marketing experience, Rory Harris is a leader in the digital playing field. Her passion is clear when she is helping her clients identify their goals or challenges and connecting that to a digital strategy to bring them the highest ROI. Her knowledge not only comes from both branding and lead generation solutions but also the experience she brings to the table to help her clients understand that the data tells a story on what is going on with their marketing.

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