Last week we discussed branding, how it can establish a presence recognized and appreciated by your clients, or mark out the competition that they loathe to see. A powerful, delicate tool for sure. But after that, what next? Welcome one and all to #TechTuesday! This week, we're going to discuss client engagement, and a few strategies you can use to parlay with your building community!
The Ol' Razzle Dazzle
As we said, Branding is only half the battle. Its the lure that reels in your clients, but after the contract is finished, you want to keep them around, active, and engaged. This is the point of the process where you have to take a few steps further into the water to really let them taste the bait. Alright, enough fishing metaphors. To say it easily, there's more to establishing a community of clients than just depending on a good brand. So the question is, what can we do to establish a basis of interest even after the job is done? Well...
Welcome to #TalkThursday
If you're reading this article, you're already seeing the first of our suggestions in practice. If you're not reading this article, I am actually a little curious what you're looking at?
Blogs can be a fantastic resource for engagement with a community. By far, it is definitely the easiest one to execute. It is simple, it is adaptive, and it can be done on your preferred schedule. When you create a blog, you have to just keep a few rules in mind. Foremost, it does not have to be a lengthy project. In our weekly articles, I like to vary our length. Some subjects, such as our Laptop Purchasing Guide, can be long and in depth, covering a large variety of points and information all at once. Others can be short, informative, and to the point directly. There's no requirement beyond what you set for yourself when you sit down.
Next, you have to get yourself on a schedule. This can be the most difficult part for many people, as something like a blog can be so trivial that it's easy to pass off for a week, then another. But after you get yourself into a groove, you can establish a stable repetition. The beauty of it, is its entirely your choice how often you want to put an offering up, but all the same it can be an uneasy balance. You can post as much as every day, though something that frequent with only a writer or two might become tedious and overbearing. You can post monthly, though at that point you want to expand thoroughly on your content. We find every week or two establishes a healthy information spread, while maintaining the anticipation that builds in your readers. That want to read more keeps them returning like a great book.
Finally, you need to make sure you establish your knowledge. Anybody can put words on a page, but it takes a bit of work to make it sound like you know half of what you're talking about. Establishing yourself as the guru of your subject will go a long way toward gathering interest. Its okay to toss out a few trade secrets, because as long as you show your knowledge your readers will come to you on a basis of trust. You know what you're talking about, you're in control. Answer a few common questions, or talk about something that people don't quite expect in your line of work. Above all, welcome your readers into the discussion with a question or something they can talk about.
Coming To You Live
Another fantastic method of engagement is active streamed media. Coming in the form of either videos or podcasts, there is really no limit to the amount of information and engagement you can spread with these platforms. With social media being as prominent as it has become these days, it accrues as free advertisement, too.
See, with videos it can be a simple task. There are tons of free video editing programs on the web these days, from Window's Movie Maker, to Blender, or even Lightworks, all of which are powerful suites with varying amounts of features that allow even the most inexperienced users to put together a clean cut video. The videos themselves don't have to be long, only a few minutes out of your day for recording, a bit of time for editing, and you're all set! They could be lessons, tricks, tips, or even be a different implementation of your weekly blog in video format, anything that you can think of to talk about for a few minutes out of your day. Best of all, it always has the chance to go viral and bring massive amounts of free publicity to your company with a link back to your website. If you don't happen to have a website, well I think we know a group of people that might be able to help you out there.
Podcasts are a more tricky procedure to work into your community engagement. While requiring a fair bit less know how and handiwork than video editing, podcasts do have a lot of effort that goes into them between scripting, conversation, audio balancing, and overall subjects. But the beauty of them is that they are by far the most accessible form of client engagement that is available to everyone. Able to be listened to at the desk, during work, or even in the car on the go, a podcast can be a fantastic resource to educate your clients on a variety of subjects. As short as maybe a 15-20 minute session, or as long as an hour or more, podcasts can serve as a great basis of information spreading, or a discussion topic based on questions from your community through your other outlets of engagement. They can also be a great resources to engage with professionals on the subjects of your business. Environmentalists can host researchers, a restaurant could host for well known chefs, and Marketing companies could discuss the DOW with some top analysts, all of which could be a valuable interaction for both the consumer, and yourself!
Mind Over Matter
Ultimately, not every path will work for everybody. Maintaining a presence at no cost in the manner of networking we discussed is a really dedicated process. You have to be able to commit some real sit down time to be able to engage. Of course, there are other ways such as engaging through social media, responding to posts, and things of that nature too. But while there is intimacy in respond to posts, the ideas we brought up here do more than just craft a bond; They create discussion, and give your clients a forum to interact. It gives your company another layer, making your brand stand out just that much more than your competitors. You care about your community, you interact with them beyond just the job. You're not just about doing a job; You're creating relationships.