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What does consumer engagement mean in 2016, and how do brands and marketers reap the benefits? On January 28 we’ll join Carlisle Hensley, Senior Strategist at Camp+King, to answer these questions during the presentation “Conversation-worthy Ads Inspired by Social Listening” at the Brand Innovators Summit in San Francisco.

Enough about you

One of the biggest changes as marketing has evolved with the digital revolution is the focus of the messaging. In the past it was all about brands: Here’s who WE are, what WE do, and why you should care about US.

But things have shifted in recent years, and consumers are now running the show. They know they have lots of choices, and their loyalty isn’t given haphazardly. Brands must now earn consumers’ trust using a personalized approach. Consumers want to know: What’s in it for ME? And they want brands to demonstrate that they’re aware of, and will cater to, consumers’ needs – even with their advertising.

Luckily consumers are constantly sharing information on social: I like, I want, I need, I feel. This wealth of data is all brands need to meet consumers’ expectations and get them buzzing online.

Go small or go home

Of course, you need to know what to do with the data, and that’s what we’ll cover in San Francisco. We’ll talk about how to break your audience into smaller bits – instead of messaging them en masse. Tempting though that is to do, especially on social where everyone is in one place, it’s actually not effective at all. Anything that isn’t personalized gets lost in the noise.

What does work is using social media listening – and Carlisle will offer proof, sharing how Camp+King used social listening to inform the strategic, creative and analytics decisions made for a recent YouTube campaign’s conception. Worth noting: it doesn’t matter the social channel – the key to engagement is the same. 

You’ve got to find commonalities among social users, and create multiple segments you can target with individualized messaging. This is why understanding what social users care about is so crucial. Creating an audience segment of “people who mention your brand” is too broad – and too limiting.

What ELSE are people who mention your brand talking about? The possibilities are almost endless – social users talk passionately about TV shows, games, work, vacation, food, friends, gripes. Brands need to use this information to create multiple unique segments of consumers interested in their products.

For example, Coke’s segments might be:

  • Coke drinkers who watch Game of Thrones
  • Coke drinkers who play hockey
  • Coke drinkers who love Vegas

And so on. But of course you shouldn’t stop with mention of your brand. Pepsi drinkers who watch Game of Thrones are just as valuable a segment – especially if they’re dissatisfied with the competing brand.

The beauty of these smaller audience segments is they put you in touch with audiences you might not have found otherwise. If you’re convinced that your audience is 18-34-year-old males, and you only market to that demographic, you’ll never connect with that 50-year-old female watching Game of Thrones – who’d actually love a Coke, now that you mention it.

But how do you reach out once you identify these segments?  

Keep it real

The key is to offer messaging that’s authentic and human, and we’ll talk about how to do that on the 28th. Part of the process is deciphering all that’s being said – even with slanguage or emojis in the mix. You can even use slanguage and emojis to talk back to your audience – if that’s their preferred language. 

And that’s just one more thing you need to know – and one more reason to use a solid social media analytic tool as part of your consumer engagement strategy.

We and Carlisle will talk about other reasons, and offer more tips for reaching social consumers at the Brand Innovators Summit in San Francisco on January 28.

But if you can’t join us, we’re happy to share all our Audience 3D™ tool can do for your brand today. Reach out!

Image from William Neuheisel

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