The world of one-sided marketing has faded. It's more about…engagement (the magical buzzword). Marketing has become more dynamic and personable. It may take a little while for us to fully wrap our heads around what social media did and continues to do to marketing.
Once there was a time when dissatisfied customers only had those within earshot to discuss brand experience with. Now, customers can hop on Twitter and express their distaste in real time, directly to the brand, with the potential of thousands seeing it.
It makes for interesting marketing. It leads me to champion the process of branding more than ever. I think branding is inseparable from reputation management; and, a company that is mindful of branding can make maintaining reputation easier, standing tall, even through times of sporadic consumer dissatisfaction. Obviously, branding requires creating associations and…engagement is one way to create positive ones.
There are a number of brands that do a great job of creating, promoting, and maintaining a community, a fan base. It's hard to replicate character and unique personalities; but, you don't have to model others exactly; just be mindful of some options. It's pretty much the same with all forms of marketing; the process is unique to each brand though many use similar methods and platforms. What I'm saying is you can't expect to get the exact same engagement results as others; but, through the process of engagement, you can create your own community. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Free/Savings: I'm pretty sure it's safe to say people enjoy free things as well as saving money on things. Is there a way to offer social media followers immediate savings on your product/services? Is there a chance you can giving something away free, even if just a mug or t-shirt? Maybe a white paper from the industry? Think of creating a reason to 'get people in the door.'
Attention: If someone is following your brand, they have made positive associations. In short, they like you. However, reciprocity is a factor in real life, which spills over to the Web. Even if people like you, if you continuously neglect giving them attention, they're likely to start 'liking' other brands. In all sincerity, ask your brand this question: Do we donate enough attention to subscribers, social media followers, or regular blog readers? A little attention can go a long way, especially when it's likely some of your competition is being lax in this department. You could donate more attention by:
-More outbound re-tweeting and tweeting of others' content
-Ask followers how their day is going. I know crazy, right?
-Feature a customer using your product/service on your site weekly
-Ask questions for feedback and then publicly thank those who participated
-Come up with some theme for the days of the week, asking followers to participate (Example: each Monday, your handle sporadically quotes from movies while followers guess the films.)