One of the many ways that social media has altered the landscape of small business is in allowing the audience to become a larger part of how a brand is shaped. For some businesses, engaging the audience is a large part of their marketing efforts and, in most cases, has paid off well.
Engagement can be taken a step further, though. Involving your audience and target demographic in the actual marketing process and even the content side of things has proven to work as well.
How does this work, exactly? Well, here are a few theoretical examples.
Lets’ say you’re a small costume shop. Around Halloween, take to your Facebook page and encourage your followers to share their own personal ghost stories. Perhaps you can up the ante by offering free costume rentals to the best story. By encouraging this sort of engagement, you are effectively using your audience’s content as your own. This works for you because of the unique content and for the personal connection those that participate will have with your brand. Also, the potential for something of this nature going viral is pretty good.
Or maybe your small business is a restaurant or club. For any parties or social events, encourage your audience via social media to take pictures and post them to platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Ask them to tag individuals in the picture and offer prizes to the people that are tagged the most. This again links your brand to your target audience in ways that were undreamt of ten years ago. This is also a great promotional tool in that those that did not attend the party will see that their friends attended. It’s almost like a non-vocal referral.
Getting your audience involved in how to present your company can prove to be a huge benefit. The trick for you, as a business owner, is to make sure their involvement does not stir controversy or negative results. But if you monitor your feeds regularly, this should not be a problem.
What ways have you encouraged your audience to get involved?