Social media has proved to be an evangelist, revolutionising marketing, communications, and the outflow of information. Brands and businesses have always had an access to rich promotional channels, but, the true promise of social media lies in the direct connection and communication. The most beneficial by products of social media are:
1. consumer engagement,
2. creating brand value and
3. building customer loyalty (stated in order of priority)
The dictionary defines engagement as, ‘to attract or hold attention of, engross’. Consumer engagement on the social platform therefore, refers to anything that glues a customer to the brand or business on the social media channel. It could be an update on twitter/tumblr, a page on Facebook, a profile on LinkedIn, an account on Orkut or an upload on you tube. The brand needs to be everywhere and anywhere the consumer is and mere presence is not enough. Of utmost priority is to keep the customer engaged to all the events and updates. The simplest way is to communicate all that takes place within the brand premises so as to build curiosity in order to gain affinity; else the brand needs to get curious about all that lies within the range of interest of the consumer and build affinity. The main idea is to have the consumer coming back to the page or continue searching for the brand.
This however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Consumer engagement is not tangible, it’s hard to measure or track. The brand/business needs energising and motivating content to remove any kind of viewer fatigue. It is important to establish a personal connect making way for a 2 way process of communication, initiated by the brand. To maintain engagement on the page, it is highly recommended to follow up on each post. A simple thank you note for any feedback/suggestion may not do wonders but not acknowledging consumer action can sure do blunders.
In social media, just like in the real world, presence is felt between people who represent companies and the people who define markets of interest. Engagement helps weave the graph of social significance and success. All brands and businesses are out there, swimming in the ocean of social media, so engagement is the ingredient that serves as a mast, for the brands, against which they can pull their sails and voyage unhindered.