06 Oct How to Connect with Your Audience Virtually
In a world of technology and virtual connections, it is now more important than ever to use these tools to try to form relationships and connections with your customers. Below are a few tips and tricks to make your virtual connections as strong as, if not stronger than, in-person connections for your brand.
1. Post Interactive Stories
One quick and easy way to hear from your audience is through your stories. Stories tend to garner more interaction than posts on sites like Instagram. They can feel more raw and real than the curated content being posted elsewhere. Ask questions and use polls to elicit responses from your audience to your stories. Stories that are relatable, and contain a quick and easy way to interact (like a poll) will increase engagement amongst your following. This is one of the simplest ways to use social media to connect with your audience, and is a tactic that can be employed often without requiring too much time or effort.
2. Host Virtual Events
You can take things to the next level by hosting virtual events for your audience as well. These tend to be relatively involved undertakings, but could produce great results for your brand. The type of event you want to host of course depends on the products or services your brand offers. No matter the specifics of your event, here are a few components to consider including that will likely boost your attendance and response:
- Special Guests
- Interactive aspects, like live Q-and-A sessions or trivia games
- Exclusive prizes or discounts for tuning in at specific times
3. Create Hashtag Challenges
Another way to get people involved with your content and your offerings is through creating unique hashtag challenges. Come up with a hashtag that encourages people to share their interactions with your products or services. If you are an apparel company, maybe it asks people to share their best-styled outfits; if you sell skateboards, ask people to show you their best trick in a 10-second video. Not only will this help you gather great content, but it will also help your customers feel a connection with the product by incorporating it into their posts in a fun way.
4. Let People Get Involved
You can also find ways to let people get involved in your design process virtually. Ask for your customers’ opinions on new products you should sell next. Create a design survey so people can submit their ideas for the design of your newest products. If customers feel they had a hand in creating your offerings, even in a small way like selecting an accent color, they will feel more of an attachment to your brand, and thus will be more likely to purchase.
5. Share User-Generated Content
Another way to build valuable relationships and goodwill is by reposting your customers’ content. Those whose photos you choose to share will likely feel pride that they were chosen and a sense of connection with your brand seeing their photos posted on your social channels. Sharing content from actual customers will also help others connect to your brand, as those types of posts can feel more authentic and relatable than curated product photos. Plus, crowd-sourcing social media content can take a load off of your team in terms of content production, so it’s a win-win!
6. Live stream
Get personal with your customers by hosting a live stream on your website or one of your social channels. Customers will be able to comment, ask questions, etc. in real time, so it can mirror an in-person conversation. You can do a live stream to promote and introduce a new offering, to give people a behind-the-scenes look at your offices or production site, or just to answer questions if that seems like something your audience would respond well to. While it’s not quite the same as a face-to-face conversation, a live stream can be a close substitute.
7. Host Story Takeovers
People love a good story takeover. If your brand works with any influencers or partners, it would be a great opportunity to let one of them take over your stories for the day and show off how they incorporate your products or services into their daily life. You could also go a different route, and allow a customer or fan to take over your stories for a set amount of time. They could also show the ways they use your products or services, and interact with other customers on your channels.
8. Run Giveaways and Contests
Finally, we all love a good freebie! Engage your audience by occasionally running contests and giveaways. Customers will engage more on posts and articles that include a giveaway for them, so your engagement will likely see a short-term spike. Long-term, these giveaways and contests can also attract more customers to your brand, and keep them interested, especially if they think they might have another opportunity to win something free.
The internet certainly offers plentiful opportunities to brands trying to connect with their audience. Overall, if you make your customers feel heard, provide them with entertaining content, and provide incentives to purchase and engage, you can make the most of virtual connection opportunities and grow your relationships with your customer base.