How to build customer engagement online

If you’re not seasoned in the online business world, building up your customer engagement can seem like a monstrous task. With so many platforms available to SMEs, different audiences on each platform and different algorithms to consider, how do you build up enough communication to peak an audience’s interest enough to engage with you?

First thing’s first, customer engagement is not about driving sales. Customer engagement is the journey you take with your customers throughout their product experience. It’s all the interactions you have with them via the channels you are present on, from likes, to comments and even shares. It’s about building a positive experience with your brand, beyond directly promoting your product or service.

As 1-grid CEO Thomas Vollrath emphasizes, “Users turn to your online reviews and communication to help them make a decision on whether your brand is worth engaging with or not. Place value on the interactions you have with customers, and you will find you have a lot to learn. We recently turned to Hellopeter to further customer engagement, and have found it a highly rewarding platform where we can engage with customers on a one-to-one level.”

While every business is different, there are some basics to build engagement that any business can streamline into their strategy.

Choose the platforms you need to be on

It’s all well-creating content on various platforms, but are they the right platforms to connect with your audience? From Google, to social media and even review platforms such as Hellopeter, do some research and find out where your customers spend most of their time, and dedicate your efforts towards those platforms. Perhaps your audience spends more time on Facebook, or perhaps they prefer to engage on Trustpilot.

Make it easy for your audience to find you

Once you’ve chosen your platforms, make it easy for your customers to find you on those platforms. From awareness posts on social media, to reminders via email, let your customers know where to find you online and how easy it is to leave a comment, write a review or just share their thoughts.

Include links to these platforms wherever you can, to make it as easy as possible for customers to talk to you.

Get involved in the conversation

So you’ve chosen your platforms, and people are clicking through to chat to you. Now’s not the time to get lazy, and just watch the comments come in but not respond. Aside from personalised responses, encourage your audience to continue the conversation, express their feelings, ask questions and provide feedback. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn about your customers’ experience when you keep nudging the conversation.

Show your appreciation

Thanking your customers for engaging with you online is a key strategy to winning loyal followers. Your appreciation not only encourages further communication, but also builds trust between you and your audience. From a simple thank you email, to a discount voucher or free sample.

You can even take it further and offer loyal customers a rewards programme of free products or services based on their referrals. This will keep you top of mind, but also encourage customers to mention you to their friends and family.

Customer engagement is a continuous effort, one built on active communication and personalised feedback. Keep these basics in mind and you’ll be set to start your engagement strategy on the right foot.

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