Oh, where to start? There are SO many analogies to pay off the idea of how to truly engage your audience. Everyone wants it, but few have the patience for and are given the time to build it.
Remember that latest renovation or home improvement project you just completed? Remember those four or five things you “settled” on because you either wanted the project COMPLETE or because you didn’t have the energy to debate for the umptenth time? Or was it because you went with the expert decision even though deep down inside you KNEW your way would make you most happy?
When the dust settles and you look back on your completed project feeling quite triumphant and accomplished you hopefully realize that all those debates, conversations and hiccups actually yielded a top-notch, stellar result. Right, well engagement is like that. The type of engagement that most of us seek after is the type of engagement that feeds our curiosities, makes us stand up for what we believe in and compels us to align and act on those convictions.
Engagement will ALWAYS be about disrupting, pivots, compromises, new discoveries and realizations that leave you in a different place than where you started. And honestly, thank goodness.
Engagement, by its very nature, is based on a two-way conversation.
In order to engage, you have to listen. And in order to listen, you have to be willing to “settle”.
We all know certain people can disrupt and challenge us until the cows come home. So how do we combat that type of engagement and encourage the healthier, more sought-after type of engagement? Well first, heed this sage advice:
“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.” – Albert Einstein via swiss miss
And secondly, here are two tidbits from me to you on tools you can use to establish healthy engagement inside and outside of your organization:
- Know your audience. Wait what? Are you talking persona research? Yep. Knowing who you’re talking to and what they feel, think and do gives you a huge leg up on anyone who challenges you otherwise. Don’t believe me? Read on.
- Be a collaborator. Listen to your team, create a cross-functional outlet that provides you consistent, relevant insights into not only what your marketing team is doing, but what sales is thinking about, the challenges product and industry teams are facing. And don’t just read updates. TALK to people, ask questions, get opinions. The more you are aligned internally the more you will be aligned when it comes to engaging in the marketplace. And having a consistent, unified external message is just about priceless.
86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey (source).
You don’t get a cohesive customer journey by sitting on your tuckus. Want some tips on how to have a better conversation? Then this Ted Talk is worth twelve minutes of your time.
So before you get to the tactics of engagement: building an engagement plan, attending a storytelling workshop, evaluating and creating content; remember who you’re doing it for and how it will empower more than just you and your goals.
In order for engagement to be valuable, you have to build relationships. Engagement takes work, and engagement, at the end of the day, should leave you in a different place then when you started.