The pandemic crushed events like a tsunami in 2020, likely reshaping the landscape of in-person interactions forever. For organizations that depend on annual in-person events for crucial customer engagements and revenue, this shift is painful. 


But, on the bright side, this disruption surfaced an important realization: Organizations need to rethink their outdated engagement strategies. 

Across several industries, unprecedented digital transformation is underway. B2B companies and associations are scrambling to bring valuable in-person experiences and customer engagements online. 

While they race to build online communities, websites, and other virtual experiences, these companies are forgetting about what matters most: Why customers engaged with them in the first place. 

Lost in a sea of new digital community and customer advocacy platforms, organizations are spending an extraordinary amount of time – and budget – on flashy features and tools. But tools are only useful if they have a supporting strategy that drives a larger purpose – adding value to your audience. 

So what should you focus on to keep your audience engaged? 
 

Understand Your Value and Strive for Authenticity

Focus on the value you provide – why do customers engage with your brand? 

Engagement efforts are only successful – and sustainable -- if your audience gains value from interacting with you. 

Once you know the value you provide, then work on finding ways to strengthen those engagements and provide more value. 

At this stage, it’s important to realize technology by itself does not provide more value or lead to success. The most critical element that supports any engagement strategy or effort is having a content plan. You need to supply your audience with valuable information; it’s the connective tissue that brings people together in a meaningful way. 

Why do you need a plan? It’s difficult to provide value consistently. When you develop a content plan, you’ll also want to create accompanying customer personas, which will help you continually develop content that meets their needs.

From there, you can decide the right method for engagement activation – whether that’s a dedicated community platform, a Facebook group, or even just adding more valuable content to your website. 

Whatever you pursue, it’s important to be authentic. Make sure your channel accentuates value you provide, serves their primary interests, and doesn’t inundate them with more work (surveys, polls) or actions that feel unnatural. 

Don’t be afraid to challenge your organization to try new things. As long as you remain focused on the value your customers need, they will engage.
 

Think Like a Publisher

One of the hardest components of engagement is keeping the momentum alive. 

If you’re looking for good examples of continuous engagement, analyze how the top publishers operate. Publishers know how to engage people over a long period of time. Why? 

Because they push out valuable information, which over time, has built trust in their brand. They think of new ways to create content that delivers value – and their community builds upon that value by sharing it.
 

Why Engagement Is Important

Ultimately, effective online engagement is crucial to building momentum toward either a purchase or to just ensure you’re seen as a trusted voice on topics they care about.

Bringing engagement activities online also means you’ll have ongoing interactions that strengthen the loyalty between your audience and brand. 

And if you remember to deliver value to your customer through each engagement touch point, chances are you’ll earn their business later.
 

Need Help With Engagement?  

Refactored can help you find relevant ways to engage with your audience and build momentum for your brand. 

From persona development to marketing strategy to managed content creation, we know how to help your brand execute customer-centric projects that deliver results. Our seasoned experts know how to produce customer-centric communications that deliver results.