The Secret Hook: How To Engage and Keep Your Customers

You’ve probably heard that millenials and Gen Y as a whole is the “trophy generation,” meaning they think the mere act of participating in something should result in an award. Many grew up with teachers and coaches that gave them a trophy for virtually everything.  You may think of this as coddling or ridiculous, but businesses and higher education would benefit if they would stop fighting the “helicopter parent” mentality and show some appreciation not only to Gen Y, but to their customers as a whole.

Celebrities are the best at this. Take this scenario: Kim Kardashian will occasionally retweet a fan’s comment. Fan freaks out. Tells all her friends on Facebook & Twitter. However many friends that fan has, now knows about Kim Kardashian and is more likely to see who she is and what she does. Conveniently, there is a direct link to her new perfume on her Twitter profile. Coincidence? I think not.  That is the mark of a savvy businesswoman. By the simple act of recognition, her follower becomes an even more avid fan, and new followers may engage with her social media presence that might not have done so before.

You may be thinking that you’re not a celebrity, so obviously the same scenario couldn’t happen to you. I’ve got a few examples that would beg to differ, however.  This phenomenon is an example of a new trend in consumer behavior: recognition. They want to have their questions answered. Be featured on your social media pages. Thanked for sharing your posts. Feel like someone is paying attention to them period.

My definition of recognition is a little broader than the trophy concept. It’s showing your customer respect. Respect for their opinions, showing that you listen, and demonstrating that you act based on what you heard.

How do you show that you’re paying attention to your fans?

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Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

As I began composing an application for a Marketing and Branding award based on the Career Center’s social media strategy, I began to get frustrated.  It’s difficult to explain what you do day in day out.  Sitting down and trying to convey into words the communication strategy was more difficult than I imagined and it got me wondering…why?

Sometimes when we focus so much on measurement (clicked links, total student attendance, reach, etc.), it becomes easy to lose sight of the goal.  I knew I had a plan in place.  I would post tweets and Facebook posts on specific career topics timed when students would likely read them. Sounds simple right?? That’s because it is.

The more complicated your plan is the more difficult it may be to measure.  More complicated does NOT equal more successful. Set a goal before you begin and post it in a place where you can’t overlook it.  This way you remain focused and ever reminded that all you do should contribute to the goal set before you.

My goal for the week: post on Facebook & Twitter about networking & the job search.  Why? Because this is the time of the year we get a lot of questions about those topics. Simple, right?

Are you a barnacle?

In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of identifying the leaders in your field–social media field that is.  Twellow, WeFollow, and Listorious are all great sites to identify the leaders in Twitter when you are getting started.

While it is important to benchmark and constantly survey the landscape to make sure you’re on par with your competition, at some point it is important to branch out.  To try something new. To take a risk.  If you do the same thing as your competition, what sets you apart?  Instead of being a barnacle that clings on to someone else’s idea, be the foundation others wish to emulate.

Easier said that done right?  The way that I try to “branch out” from my peers is to bounce ideas off of other people I trust.  It’s okay if some of your ideas seem crazy or off the wall.  Some of the best ideas seemed crazy at first I’m sure.  Even if your ideas end up being deemed “too crazy” and not feasible, the exchange of ideas might lead to another insight that could just work.

Great leaders also surround themselves with great people.  My social media intern came up with an excellent idea: have a “theme week” or topic to focus on that week.   It keeps people engaged in your topic and so far we have had a lot of success through implementing this new idea.

Try it out and see if it works for you!