I was asked a question the other day:
“No-one is engaging with our Facebook discussion. Will you have a look at it and tell us what you think?” I turned the question back on them. “If it was you. And you were the customer. Would you have joined in?”
After a few seconds deliberation – the response. “Err , no – I wouldn’t.”
“Well”, I said. “There is your answer.”
I’m no expert in Social Media. But I’ve worked in customer engagement for over 10 years, and there’s one thing I absolutely know to be true. If you wouldn’t find it interesting yourself – why on earth would your customers?
Social Media is a relatively new tool. But just because it’s easy and cheap does not mean customers are more likely to engage with us.
There are three rules I was introduced to in my early (offline) days of working in customer engagement. They apply just as much today, in the online world.
1 – What’s in it for your audience? Why is engaging with you a good use of their time?
2 – Be entertaining. And if you can’t be entertaining – be extremely interesting.
3 – Go where the customer is. Don’t expect them to come to you.
A lot of customer engagement via Social Media fails to follow these basic rules. Organisations too often talk about themselves and what’s important to them rather than remain focused on the customer.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean:
What’s in it for the customer? – @monmouthshirecc is a superb corporate Twitter feed that isn’t corporate. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it promote anything about the actual organisation. And that’s probably why it has over 4,500 followers. Would you honestly follow your companies own Twitter feed if you didn’t work for them? If your answer is no – It will be no for your customers too.
Be Entertaining – Organisations are not interesting by default. The best corporate engagement is all about personality. For the Social Housing sector we have to accept we are not Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian. We are more Ed Miliband. So we need to have ultra interesting content. Or just be amusing. This video by @optimacommunity is a great example. It’s short , simple and funny. And it has a very deliberate call to action. It made me want to find out more.
Go where the customer is – There are thousands of local information websites across the UK. And there are countless local Facebook pages formed around communities of interest. Why not go to them and tap into existing networks rather than trying to create a new one? It’s harder work than lazily posting to your own page for sure , but it’s far more effective.
So the next time you wonder why no-one is engaging – ask yourself a simple question.