Having worked as an online marketer for many years, I understand the value of engaging your audience and of course, building a community. Whether you are talking to a highly responsive vegan community or an uber critical tech brand, the more natural interaction you can achieve, the better. Target market is everything and the more emotive, passionate and caring your target market is, for your product, business or service the more exciting it will be to connect with them. If you are a startup, this is something you need to create. If you are a company that needs to shake your online activity into next week, you are already half way there.
It’s a different kind of kick when you’re starting to build a community than joining a new one and gaining control. You could argue that you have more room to be risqué or spontaneous with a loyal crowd…it’s no different to performing. With an audience that knows you, you know them you may end up doing a sneaky acoustic cover at the end of your set. You know they wont think you are copout, they know they wont judge, they will love it and think they have got something super exclusive and extra. With a new crowd, or one that you don’t know as well, you have to be more careful so you may tend to stick to best practice. Either way, your emotional performance is what they want to see. Whether its rage, tears, fear or empathy, they will feel it if it is real.
Connecting with your audience emotionally to drive engagement is key and there are plenty of things you can do to achieve this. Have you ever studied emotion? We all feel it, but have you ever taken the time to look at them more in depth? This is a great place to start. In 1980 Robert Plutchik’s devised a Wheel of Emotions which consisted of 8 basic emotions and 8 advanced emotions each composed of 2 basic ones. You can read more here.
Here are my top 7 tips to add into your connection strategy.
1.Interact with your audience constantly: develop new relationships, (choose people with influence to talk to directly) nurture existing relations, listen and respond to build trust and your community will grow.
2.Many people throw the phrase ‘join the conversation’ about, but are they actually providing conversation to join? are they actually joining in themselves?
3. Connect with your audience with stuff they will find valuable. It could be funny, heartwarming, problem solving, newsworthy etc. this is why knowing them through and through is imperative and without sounding presumptuous, encompassing emotion will seal the deal!
4. Create unique content. Stuff that you have written, you have discovered, you have thought about. You will soon get tongues wagging. There are far too many people regurgitating the same information so unique content bubbles up to the top fairly quickly. i.e There are far more repins on Pinterest than original imagery so be part of the minority, be unique!
5. If you make someone smile, laugh or offer support to another, you are creating a strong emotive response and connecting whole-heartedly. Your audience are far more likely to share this stuff than any other. Check my ‘connection cycle’ wrote to show everyone who has a small business just how to achieve success in marketing.
6. ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ True enough when marketing.
7. Ask questions to make them stop and think. You can’t ask the right questions without knowing them right? But you can also find out more about them by asking them questions.
Remember; our emotions drive pretty much everything, recommendations drive sales and bad experiences can be damaging