Field of Dreams staring Kevin Costner was released. It’s the story of a corn
farmer who has dreams about building a baseball diamond on his farm after
hearing voices that say, “build it and they will come.” For those of you who
watched the film, it works out and the Chicago White Sox end up playing there. In
today’s world, the concept of build it and they will come just doesn’t work.
Any of us
who have been in the world of social media/web marketing know that this is sort
of strategy only works in Hollywood. Building a website, a fancy marketing
strategy, and a great social media presence doesn’t guarantee you immediate or
long lasting success. As a result, let’s look at the top five tips on how you
can create a real-time engagement strategy on your website while avoiding
today’s common pitfalls.
Tip #1: Determine Your Audience
In order for
you to achieve an effective, long lasting engagement strategy, you need to look
at whom you will be talking to. Is it existing customers, new customers, how
often do they visit your site today, how’s your social reach? A thorough review of these numbers will go a
long way to setting and achieving your goals.
Photo source: Matthew Field on
Tip #2: Create an Engaging Content Strategy
and engaging content requires three key elements: how visual it is, does it provoke
conversation, and does it have the ability to tug on your emotions (including
fears). Let’s dive into that a bit more.
You know the
age old expression, a picture is worth a thousand words? As opposed to the
“build it and they will come” example we started out with, a picture provokes
associations in your memory that make it easier to recall a memory. I’m sure
there’s some fancy research out there to prove this but it also just makes a
lot of sense.
In the same
way that imagery associated to content provokes memory, engaging content should
also provoke conversation, more social sharing, more comments, more retweets,
emails, and the like. One word of advice: be sure your engaging content is also
“accessible” meaning that it’s easily understood for large audiences with different
skill sets. Finally, one of the risks of engaging content is that it could
provoke a spirited discussion. If this happens to you, please be sure you have
the right platform to help you moderate audience comments (more on that in a
Tip #3: Build a Sustainable and Integrated Campaign
your boss is super eager and rushes you to execute a real-time engagement
strategy after reading this deep and insightful blog post. Hey, are you still
there? You’re not already promising results are you?Easy there tiger.
past 18 years of my career I have done that quite a few times. Whether it’s to
please a pushy boss or an eager client, it’s easy to forego preparation for
immediate gratification. In fact, according to a 2014 B2B Content Marketing
study, 93% of marketers are using content marketing but only 42% consider
than half of you! If you haven’t already started, let’s set a good pace before
sprinting.Otherwise, you’ll pull a
corporate muscle and trip over poor preparation all while frustrating your
audience. The last thing you want it for your audience to believe they have
your ear one day and the next, you’re gone because you didn’t plan a
So what does
sustainability look like when it comes to an effective real-time engagement
strategy? It simply means that you need to pull a team together. Bring in
product experts, your marketers, third party experts/celebrities, PR to ensure
the message goes out just right, and even legal to ensure they’re aware of
what’s going on.
you’re a product organization, you could even consider pulling in customer
support.More than anything, building a
well thought out/integrated campaign ensures that as your real-time engagement
strategy grows, that the work won’t be on just your shoulders. Your real-time
engagement strategy should be a cross-functional effort that is sustainable and
(hopefully) one that grows roots within your organization.
Tip #4: Choose the Right Platform
talked briefly about making sure you have the right platform.This is critically important as audience
engagement could lead to brand risk. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
2013, JP Morgan decided to use Twitter for a “live chat” using the hashtag
#AskJPM. If you haven’t heard the story already, their live chat was “hashjacked”
and the chat was shut down before it really even began.
What does it
mean to be hashjacked? Well, Twitter is inherently public, meaning that any
comment is visible. So in the case of JP Morgan, there were quite a few Tweets
that were damaging to the JP Morgan brand (I’ll spare them the frustration of
living through those again).
Can you brand
handle that level of risk? I doubt it. Unfortunately, JP Morgan isn’t the only
company to have faced this as other top brands have also been hashjacked
(McDonalds, Visa,British Gas, the NFL
and many more). Here are
a few tips to prevent your
Twitter chat from being hashjacked.
you need to be in full control of your brand’s real-time experiences. You need
to have mature moderation and curation controls, you need to be able to easily
engage with your audience without losing their focus, you need to easily enable
them to share your content, and perhaps more than anything, you need a platform
that enables you to turn engagement into lead generation. Real-time engagement
takes a lot more than just a Tweet, Twitter chat, or Facebook fan page post.
Tip #5: Be an Inspiring Evangelist
when it’s all said and done, be inspiring and communicate with an authentic and
knowledgeable tone. Your audience is pretty smart and will pick up on this. If
nothing else, Kevin Costner created this level of inspiration in his role in
Field of Dreams. Personally, I think that is why it’s seen as one of the more
memorable movies of this generation. Perhaps your real-time engagement strategy
can also have a noticeable impact when it comes to the success of your company.
all said and done, a real-time engagement strategy is one of today’s most
potent strategies when it comes to differentiating yourself from your
competition. Perhaps the best advice I can give is to encourage you to internalize
the words of Winston Churchill who once said:
is what it takes to stand up and speak [your content strategy]; courage is also
what it takes to sit down and listen [requires the right platform to engage
So every once in a while do a quick gut check,
review these five tips, and above all, make sure your engagement strategy is
not just about you.