March 31, 2010 - Comments Off on What exactly is engagement?

What exactly is engagement?

There are so many things in online marketing that people say you should do, without ever really explaining how. “Create great content for SEO” well that’s wonderful advice, but doesn’t really provide much tangible help. Similarly you will often hear “You need to engage to be successful at social media” awesome, but not overly helpful. If only someone could bottle “engagement” and “great content”, this time next year we could all be millionaires!

Recently though I have come across a business in Leeds that seem to have social media engagement all sewn up (these guys aren’t a Bloom client, they’re small local business who are making big waves locally). So as with all things I thought that rather than tell you how to engage, I would show you, and along the way perhaps help you see for yourself why the strategies this business is using are so successful.

Millies (On twitter as @MilliesLeeds) I first came across Millies when I moved to Leeds 9 months ago, my bus used to pass by the shop on my way into town. Once I stopped taking that bus though I have to admit I didn’t give the shop much more thought. It was many months later when I saw a competition they were running retweeted by someone I followed locally, you see Millies have been giving away some great prizes to their milestone followers, and this has led to them getting some fantastic twitter coverage. The prizes were good enough that I decided to follow them, and check out their site, and blog. Pretty soon I decided to visit the store (and bought the most amazing cheese, if only I could remember which of their selection it was). Following their tweets I then started to see other offers that they had, and recently the offer that they had available for their beauty room, I booked in sharpish, and had a brilliant experience with their beautician.

What have Millies’ done so right?

I have never tweeted @milliesleeds and not got a response, they offer great information, never tweet unless they have something to say, and are always friendly and helpful. In fact they behave online just as they do in their store. What’s more they go out of their way to provide great service, and they link their online and offline conversations. When I went to the beauty room Emma, the beautician already knew where I was hoing on holiday, because I had tweeted it and Millies had joined the dots…seamless integration really doesn’t get any better than that!

Replicating Millies’ Success

The only way to really replicate what Millies have done is to really care. You can’t fake the sort of enthusiasm that they display about their customers and what their store offers. If you find logging on to twitter to be a chore, or you don’t enjot actively talking to your customers you will never get that relationship with them, and will never reap the benifits that can be gained from real social media engagement.

The kind of social media strategy that makes someone want to blog about how great your social media strategy is doesn’t come from any amount of training or advice from “social media experts”, it comes from the simple desire to talk to your customers, engage with them, and understand what they really want. Really it’s no different from what the best businesses have been offering in store for years, it’s making your customer feel special.