Engagement is more than just a buzzword for businesses today—it’s an absolute must when it comes to fostering customer loyalty. No longer is customer engagement limited to sales, support, or services. Instead, it’s an ongoing practice that involves a brand anticipating customers’ needs, keeping in touch with them, and fostering lasting relationships and loyalty, leading to long-term growth and success.
More and more businesses are adopting this customer-centric approach, incorporating it into their marketing strategies across all platforms.
Read on to learn about why engagement matters and what brands are rocking the engagement game in a big way.
Why Engagement Matters
Regardless of whether a business is B2B or B2C, engagement is a big part of the customer experience. Engaging meaningfully with customers plays a significant role in how these individuals perceive your brand—and whether they practice any sort of brand loyalty or evangelism.
In a recent survey, 64% of customers said that they expect tailored engagements based on past interactions. That means customers are specifically looking for brands to meet them where they are and deliver a continually personalized experience.
Moreover, customers appreciate omnichannel marketing—or consistent branding across all platforms—including brick-and-mortar and online experiences. In another survey, 78% of customers preferred omnichannel engagement, which makes it easier for them to interact with companies as they see fit.
With these staggering stats in mind, let’s take a look at five of the top brands that are moving mountains to showcase exceptional customer engagement.
Brand #1: Starbucks
When you think of brands that engage customers across social media platforms, Starbucks immediately comes to mind. The coffee giant understands the intricate triangulation between consumers, products, and social media and how successfully managing these three considerations can elevate a brand’s profile, generating more engagement and higher sales.
For years, Starbucks has been on the cutting edge when it comes to incorporating social media into its operations for a seamless experience. From digital platforms to brick-and-mortar stores, customers appreciate how Starbucks engages with them on their own terms. This “permission” has net the company over 50 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Here are two ways Starbucks upped its engagement game:
- Starbucks’ ingenious mobile payment app is one of the most popular wallet apps in the U.S., and it’s another way in which the brand asks permission before engaging with consumers. Now, people can order and pay for their favorite drink without waiting in line. Creating an easy checkout experience is one of the five best ways to get loyal customers to come back for more, and Starbucks certainly got the memo.
- Starbucks also engages with customers and builds brand recognition by creating product-centered posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These colorful lifestyle posts create consistent imagery for the brand while encouraging fans to engage and tell their own stories.
Brand #2: IBM
IBM is one of the most recognized brands around the world, and it’s found a way to connect with its customers through social media campaigns that focus on storytelling.
IBM’s social media feeds prove that a single tweet can tell a meaningful story.
IBM not only showcases the company story in its social media posts, but it also uses storytelling to communicate the remarkable things its technology has helped businesses and people accomplish. The brand does a great job highlighting the positive impacts of its tech on communities worldwide, generating brand loyalty with a growing customer base.
Try these two takeaways from IBM’s customer engagement strategy:
- IBM’s Instagram feed is engaging and features a consistent aesthetic. The company posts unique images of tech developments and creative uses of its technology, staying true to the brand while creating visually appealing content.
- IBM posts nearly every day on Twitter, usually several times a day. Each post includes an image or video, making the page look more appealing to help the company stay relevant within its competitive market.
Brand #3: Wendy’s
It’s no secret that consumers appreciate consistency, and Wendy’s delivers, both in in-person interactions at brick-and-mortar stores and on online platforms. Wendy’s has expertly used enhanced technology and digital marketing strategies to deliver cohesive messages in a playful, feisty tone that resonates with customers, building brand awareness and generating customer loyalty in the process.
Here’s what Wendy’s is doing to keep its customers engaged online:
- Wendy’s has millions of Twitter followers who turn to its feed for fun, snarky tweets that always hit the mark. The brand engages with customers by turning its Twitter account into a communication hub, roasting competitors and consumers alike, encouraging more engagement from followers.
- Now more than ever, consumers expect constant and instant accessibility on social media. One unique way the brand encourages engagement is by being extremely responsive. The company responds to consumer praise and complaints quickly and seriously and will even apologize if there’s a delay in the response. It clearly conveys that this brand cares greatly about its loyal customers, even though its tone is often playful.
Brand #4: Airbnb
Airbnb thrives on user-generated content. The secret to its success on social media is staying personal and deeply understanding its target audience. Consumers trust user-generated content, and Airbnb encourages rich storytelling opportunities that enhance the brand’s story while building a more trusting relationship with consumers.
Here are two customer engagement strategies you can apply in your own business:
- User-generated content hasn’t only helped Airbnb drive engagement with its audience, but it’s also helped grow its Instagram community. By re-gramming user-generated content, Airbnb has a vast body of excellent photos to share with its worldwide audience. These pictures speak to the brand’s values and showcase unique places and experiences worldwide, encouraging followers to explore new destinations and create their own share-worthy content.
- Airbnb also expertly uses video marketing to connect with its target demographic. The brand’s YouTube videos air as commercials and are repurposed on social media, delivering messages that evoke emotion and resonate with consumers. It’s why the brand’s YouTube channel has over 500 videos and over 100 million views.
Brand #5: Fenty Beauty
Fenty Beauty is well-known for being cruelty-free and vegan, but it is also renowned for its inclusivity. Fenty’s products cater to a diverse swath of races and ethnicities, differentiating it from other leading beauty brands. The company reflects this value in its social posts, including testimonials from consumers of all colors and ethnicities that create an emotional connection that resonates with its target audience.
Here are a few key takeaways from Fenty Beauty’s customer engagement strategy:
- Fenty Beauty is a global brand. It works hard to engage with customers in different time zones by posting product shots and user-generated content on its Instagram feed several times daily. This helps it stay top-of-mind with customers, regardless of their location.
- Inclusion is one of the core values of Fenty Beauty. The brand communicates this message by posting more than one skin tone in every few posts and mixing content with influencers and everyday users’ posts. Overall, the brand’s social media platforms create an inclusive beauty community where everyone is welcome.
Customer Engagement Means Leading by Example
The most successful brands see that customer engagement takes center stage when it comes to creating top-of-mind brand awareness, loyalty, and growth. From brick-and-mortar experiences to online interactions, social posts to shopping experiences, brands use customer engagement to create happy, returning, and loyal customers.
Take cues from the five stewards above to ensure your own customers are getting the level of engagement they deserve!
Guest Author: Ryan Gould
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively align sales and marketing teams within organizations.