I see brands on a daily basis who have seen others doing something and think ‘we can try that too’.

This is a misbegotten thought process. I, like many others, appreciate brands engaging with their customers in a variety ways but sometimes it just doesn’t seem suitable. It’s all about recognising your target market(s) and relating to them accordingly. Here are three tips that will help you re-evaluate how to communicate with your clients:

Identify your target market

This is number one and THE most important part of forming a decent marketing strategy for customer engagement. Before you implement any kind of marketing strategy you need to identify whose attention you are looking to catch when doing your outreach. It’s no good targeting 60-70 year olds with images of “cool” graffiti or using phrases like “WTF” and “FML” as the majority of time this will mean nothing to them and will disengage them instantly. When looking at Social Media this can be done simply by using what I call “Tactical Hashtags” in order to gain greater exposure to the correct market you want to address. For example, if you are talking about a new brand for football boots using hashtags like #football #boots #stash or #kit could get you more exposure. Alternatively you can also look at what is trending in relation to your chosen field or product.

Communicate appropriately

The language you use is very import when addressing the clients you wish to engage with and win their business. For example, if you run a firm of Solicitors I would expect that you are targeting people on a very professional basis relating to quite serious matters. If this is the case then the language you use is very important in order to convey a professional image. Correct grammar, spelling, with clear and concise content is a must. I would not anticipate you using language like “LOL” or “OMG” in your status updates, tweets or advertisements as this will do your image no favours.

The same goes for brands and companies that are looking to identify with a more youthful or popular market. For example popular clothing or music outlets will want to target the biggest demographic that their products relate to (18 – 34’s). I don’t think anyone would expect you to be speaking to your target audience using perfect English grammar nor would they be surprised to see the odd LOL or winky face thrown in. For want of a better phrase “it’s the language of the people”.

Engage with them accordingly

Typically the various demographics and age ranges will look for brand engagement in different ways. Where one will look for something more visual, another may look for something more literal. Speaking from experience I have found myself reading more content nowadays whereas my little brothers (16 & 18) will look at more short, sharp content to engage with eg. infographics, pictures, status updates and tweets.

As a brand you need to identify who you are aiming your products and services at in order to get full engagement from your actions. A prime example is how some brands look to use social mediums such as Twitter to engage with their customers directly. Currently Tesco Mobile is getting a lot of recognition on Twitter with some excellent conversation with their customers, engaging with them and making them feel appreciated (in an appropriate manner.)

image credit to twitter.com

image credit to twitter.com

They seem to engage with other brands wish a sense of humour:

image credit to twitter.com (i)

image credit to twitter.com

Even making negative feedback work in their favour:

image credit to twitter.com

image credit to twitter.com

A prime example of “The language of the people” (and possibly a little bit too much of it) is Argos’ attempt:

image credit to twitter.com

image credit to twitter.com

This could have been seen as a PR disaster but it was embraced by Twitter. Just look at those reTweets, not quite as many as Tesco but good enough to go viral. This is not an example to follow in everyday tweets and I’m sure was done in a tongue in cheek fashion but a one off example of speaking to a customer in a loosely appropriate and relatable manner.

This post is not my way of saying you need to do everything by the letter. There is no set formula for how to engage with your customers as they are all individuals but they will appreciate your attempts to involve them. There are basic rules to follow but you need to make your brand have it’s own voice and identity. Like the people you are addressing you need to make what you offer unique and not a bad copy of someone or something else. You may have to try different strategies or Brand Voices in order to get the attention and exposure you want but by following the three steps above you will be well on your way.