05 Oct How to Engage with Customers Outside of Social Media
Social media isn’t the playground it once was. It used to be fun, but now it seems like all the swings are broken and there are hidden dangers in the sandbox. It’s also a ton of work with seemingly little reward. If the business side feels overworked, the customer side is feeling tired as well.
In fact, there is a name for it. It’s called digital fatigue and people across demographics experience it. However, it’s interesting to note younger generations experience this fatigue more than their Boomer counterparts. Over 40% of Millennials and nearly 50% of Generation Z claim this fatigue.
While the fatigue is from digital life in general, not just social media, it’s important to think about what it means for your business. How customers shop is drastically different from 10 years ago, especially since 2020. More customer engagement takes place digitally. While it will continue to rise, even in this era of fatigue, it is considerably better for your business to create richer, thoughtful interactions—not just more of them.
Top Three Tips for Meaningful Interactions
Your customers may underestimate how much personalized services can influence their buying patterns or relationship with your business—but you cannot. Digitally speaking, creating a loyalty program is an easy way to personalize a shopping experience. If you’re looking for a way to increase customer loyalty, this is it. Non-digital things you can do are sending hand-written notes with orders or establishing personal shopping appointments.
People choose to do almost anything based on convenience. Shopping is no different. For example, in that loyalty program you started (see above), customers tend to check their earned points an average of once per month. Make it easy for them to do this on your website or by sending regular notifications. Rather than just a recap of their current points, combine both ideas on our list so far and send a personalized message to the top tier point holders inviting them to schedule a personal shopping appointment.
For retail, this could mean adjusting customer service practices, pivoting some store space to be more distribution ready for online orders, or changing how you staff your store. Demonstrating a willingness to try a new approach can improve employee engagement and customer loyalty. For example, are the store hours still convenient for everyone, from customers to employees? Do you only offer workshops at 10 am on a Thursday? Is there a chance your most cherished customer is named Ana and not Annie? You may need to flex a little.
Let’s Get Real
We covered a few ways to shift your perspective towards more meaningful interactions. You may be thinking, what are some basic steps to actually get customers without social media? Let’s look at some good ol’ fashioned person-to-person networking tips you may have forgotten about.
Here are six in-person ways:
- Host holiday or seasonal events.
- Host a product launch or designer meet and greet.
- Host real life hangouts and invite your customer list or top Patreon supporters.
- Book some public speaking gigs for the chamber of commerce or a community event to share your business in the local community.
- Go to a trade show or related industry event and network!
- Attend a gallery opening—particularly one featuring textiles (fabric) or fiber (yarn).
In all these scenarios, you will talk to people, give out business cards, perhaps display posters or distribute flyers, and likely find a great way to gain new customers or cross promote your business with another in the community.
Back to Digital
There is no escaping the fact that in-person networking is a bona fide way to beef up your mailing list, which is typically digital (although snail mail still works great!). As such, we have some ideas for how to engage with your now mighty e-mail list.
Here are six digital ways:
- Invite guest experts to hang with your community on Zoom or Google Hangout.
- Invite members in your community to be interviewed and share their stories or experiences in a blog post, newsletter, or within the group.
- Involve your customers in co-creating their community and shaping the experience by using polls, surveys, or simple questions.
- Send video messages to your list, especially those who’ve reached out that you’ve gotten to know.
- Create content with calls to action, like inviting your readers to share their questions or by making it easy to book a call with you for extra support.
- Make your newsletters a mix of interesting stories, product offerings, classes and events, and sales promotions.
When you take a deeper dive, you might find that you can reach your audience without relying on social media. While it’s true social media can help, it’s not the be-all, end-all for engaging with your customers.
What are your favorite ways you’ve engaged with a business? What is a practice your business does and considers successful? Let us know in the comments.
Stitchcraft Marketing is a marketing agency of crafting experts. We customize every program to showcase your brand, engage your customer base, and generate sales in a way that is nothing less than magical. If you’d like more help preparing your online business or how your business performs online, contact us today!