Got some surprising and unsettling feedback during my BrightTalk webinar, Customer Engagement: Why Your Customers May Not “Like” You.
Which of the following would you consider “customer engagement?”
- Conversations on social media networks – 58%
- Blog comments – 17%
- Sales inquiries – 0%
- Likes, +1, etc. on social networks – 0%
- Sharing content – 25%
Which of the following have you found most helpful in keeping customers engaged?
- Direct mail – 10%
- Email – 50%
- Blogs – 10%
- Social networks – 30%
- Salesperson contact – 0%
Are you as shocked as I am about the 0 percent responses for engagement relating to sales? You should be! Because what is a customer? Someone who engages with you to buy!
Now the argument can be made that when someone reads, replies or shares they have “bought” your content. Okay, that’s a valid point. But what is the end game of it all? It better be sales. Likes and retweets don’t pay the bills.
As well, the term “customer engagement” seems to have been bastardized along the way. It gets muddled up with “social media engagement.” On social media, the currency truly is comments, sharing, likes and the like. And some of your tribe who become engaged in the social media realm can become customers. That has worked very well for me (almost exclusively on Twitter). Going back to the poll questions, note that 0 percent thought that sales inquiries were engagement. Again, what is the end game of being on social media for your business? To get leads and inquiries.
The second poll question is more directly related to actions we can take to keep customers engaged along the way. I was really encouraged to see that 50 percent of the respondents said they’re using email. That is something I highly recommend if you do nothing else! Why? Because the social media networks may be here today, but dramatically changed or gone tomorrow. If it’s gone tomorrow, would you still have a contact database to depend on? While sales is the ultimate goal of social media engagement, the intermediate goal is to get these folks into your sales funnel email database.
And as I noted during the webinar, I’ve found that my most engaged (aka buying) customers are nowhere to be found on the social media networks, except for maybe LinkedIn. For them, engagement means calling me on the phone, emailing me with inquiries or buying through a shopsite. Are your customers the same? I’m guessing that for a lot of you (like me) in the B2B space, that’s true. Even in B2C, I’d bet it’s the same.
Yet 30 percent of the responding audience noted that they’ve found social media networks the most helpful in keeping customers engaged. While I’m glad to see that many in the largely B2B audience for the webinar are making inroads on the social landscape, and I encourage ALL to have a presence, I really caution to watch the return on your social media investment. (Yes, there’s a complete webinar on ROI, Social Selling: The Art of Doing Business on Social Media, that you can view on demand from the archive.)
I was also encouraged to see that 10 percent are still using direct mail. Yes, it can still work. And, yes, it’s very expensive. But with lower direct mail activity these days, your pieces have a much greater chance of getting noticed if you create a compelling and attention getting package.
But the one thing that really got me excited was to see that 10 percent are actually making attempts at blogging to stay engaged with customers. Marrying blog posts with email marketing can be a winning combination. As well, this builds your SEO presence which can help you get found and engage those prospects online, regardless of whether they’re on the social networks or not. (Be sure to check out the Content Marketing Secrets to Build Your Competitive Advantage webinar for more insight on blogging.)
So what do you think about customer engagement versus social media engagement? Share your thoughts with us in Comments. If you missed the Customer Engagement webinar you can view on-demand 24/7 from the archive:
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