Customer Engagement

“Tactically, brands must begin writing and publishing content with embedded links to other content, pictures, and videos to meet the expectations of the online audience,” recommends Macy and Thompson.248 This “encourages engagement and facilitates sharing.”248 Conversely, Macy and Thompson warn that a “lack of engagement limits brand leadership effectiveness and ultimately defeats the purpose of the medium.”248

“A smart combination of listening to the online conversation already taking place, learning what people want, and then providing what they are open to receive from the brand constitutes the winning ticket,” advises Macy and Thompson.248 Whether the engagement is through video, online polls, games, photo sharing, e-mail, blogging, PowerPoint presentations, or podcasting, “engagement strategies present an opportunity for brands to align content creation for social media with a company's priorities and involve cross-functional interaction and collaboration,” state Macy and Thompson.248 “Social media engagement can also be used for front-end campaigns and appearances to help guide the conversation and generate buzz,” conclude Macy and Thompson.248

To engage customers and potential customers, an IR should set up blogs that provide customers a place to comment on their products and/or services. This helps an IR stay connected with its customers. An environment that keeps the dialogue open and honest should be fostered; even criticism should be welcomed and the blog should not be censored, except for comments that are out-of-bounds or indecent, of course.

IRs should also keep a keen eye on other blogs and websites where their customers might be blogging as this can lead to criticism that is more open and honest—and, potentially, more helpful—than criticism on the company’s own social media websites.

The instantaneous nature of the blogosphere also allows companies to counteract any negative press that might be slung their way. This could be especially useful to a casino that is hit with negative publicity or product recalls as the blogosphere allows them to immediately present their side of the story.

Today, many companies use blogs to update their employees, their customers, and their shareholders about important company developments, but anyone planning to use a blog for business should be aware that blogs do come with their own built-in risks. Customers who are dissatisfied with a company’s products or services may decide to engage in virtual complaints in the form of protest websites or blogs, which could result in potentially damaging information being released online, where it can easily be read and picked up by any customer a company is trying to court.26

The mobile phone has added a new element to the world of blogging as well. Moblogging, m-blogging or phone blogging are blogs created or updated from a mobile phone, a tablet or a phablet. With moblogging, text updates can be sent via SMS or email from a mobile phone, while photographs and/or video files can be uploaded using the mobile device’s camera feature.

Jantsch’s Hierarchy of Social Media170 is a good framework to consider here. Once you have set up your blog, it’s time to move up to the RSS step, where aggregating and filtering content takes place. RSS can help an IR repurpose and republish content. Content can be spread far and wide by leveraging it into other social media channels. “For those looking to feed an RSS of a blog straight to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn profiles, Twitter Feed has you covered. Simply enter your feed, connect your social accounts, and send your posts complete with tracking tools for follow-up.”[i] TweetDeck is another service that allows rapid sharing of content; it is a free service owned by Twitter.

The website ShareRoot has several tools that can help boost Pinterest engagement, promotion, and it measures engagement as well.198 Its Pinterest Board Cover Creator lets users create images to use as the cover for their different pin boards, which can help them stand out.198

Another good example of excellent customer engagement is for the camera manufacturer GoPro, who “launched its channel four years ago and started producing videos as a way to promote its cameras. But the popularity of the campaign took [on] a life of its own, and now GoPro is taking a cue from its customers and producing many of its own videos as well. The change has tripled their amount of views so far this year.”[ii] GoPro’s channel is now the most popular one on YouTube.199

GoPro’s videos “include the exciting dramatic events like water sports or bungee jumping, but people also used the camera to capture some emotional and personal moments up close, such as a student graduating high school or their baby falling asleep.”199

“What they were capturing in videos were things we could not imagine to go out and shoot. They were doing things with cameras better than anything we could script,” said Adam Dornbusch, GoPro's senior director of content distribution.199 “They capture stuff we never even thought of. They're taking us to the next level of what's possible with what they're capturing.”199

Toward the end of 2013, GoPro realized the inherent potential in this social media marketing opportunity and so launched a couple of submitted videos that received a large number of hits, Dornbusch explained.199

“We realized there was such an opportunity here. The users were not only using our cameras but were attaching our name (in the titles and descriptions) to incorporate with us,” Dornbusch said. “Sometimes I'll get a call and someone will say, ‘That's a great video you guys did.’ We have nothing to do with that. People just want to be associated with our product,” explained Dornbusch.199

Suddenly GoPro's YouTube strategy was at a much larger scale than they had even realized, said Dornbusch.199 “GoPro began multiplying the amount of videos they released going from a few a week—with only one or two submitted from the public a month—to as many as four a day.”199 Of the 823 videos on its page, 359—or 44%—were made since October.199

“We get users to submit content and are able to distribute it to as many people as we can over the world,” Dornbusch said.199 “They are using their [cameras to capture] their greatest passion.”199

GoPro has also announced a new “bonus program” for users whose videos are licensed by GoPro.199 They will receive $1,000 if their videos reach a million views, Dornbusch said.199This is a very cheap way to incentivize an audience, who hardly needs to be incentivized it seems, but some of these videos do require substantial organization and expenditure.

“We want to work with users on a much larger scale,” Dornbusch said. “This is the heart of GoPro. We love it. It's a surprise. We want to nurture it as much as possible.”199 Casino operators obviously are not high-end, action camera sellers, but they are selling experiences and anything they can do to help patrons share their experiences should be fostered, after all most people love to snap pictures and show off photos of their vacation experiences.

 

[i] Haden, J. (2014, April 23). 60 Awesome Social-Media Tools for Entrepreneurs. Retrieved from Inc.com: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/60-awesome-social-media-tools-for-entrepreneurs.html

[ii] Landau, J. (2014, July 22). GoPro's Viral Video Marketing Campaign Turns It Into Top YouTube Brand in the World. Retrieved from NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/gopro-marketing-turns-top-youtube-brand-article-1.1875573

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