14 July 2011 8 Comments

Audience Engagement: why your efforts suck

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

 We live in an age and time when strong audience engagement is vital. Audience engagement speaks volume when commitment is required from all the stakeholders. The varied numbers of social networking sites are not helping the matter for most brands. To some, if our audience are scattered, where do we begin from is a constant concern. Yet audience engagement is a must if any brand wants to remain relevant tomorrow. Like we all know, what ought to occupy priority place in the mind of every brand custodian is how they will remain relevant to their stakeholders in today’s short attention span world. This is largely due to phase of changes and millions of issues calling for our attention.Audience-engagement-failure-Brand-engagement-failureaudience-management-why-audience-engagement-fail-stakeholders-failure Firts let me try to define what engagement in this context means. I will want to agree with what Renee Warren wrote ‘ engagement is not about sales picth, it is about developing relationship with real people.  Engagement is about becoming part of existing communities and fostering a community of your own. Most importantly, it means adding actual value to conversations relevant to your brand. Engagement, by its very definition, is about active involvement’.

To remain top of the  mind, many brands are now experimenting with building strong engagement online with their targets. Some frontline brands have already mastered this act while others are still questioning justification for money invested. The major problem with many brands who are failing in building strong audience engagement is that many do not know they are abusing  platform codes. Web 2.0 is not a place for broadcasting but for dialogue and strong conversation building.

When many are joining the conversation, they create link to their marketing talk and feel nothing is wrong. Most will rather use sale slangs than add real value to the conversation. Many keep on integrating the old stuff with the new. While there may be room for this, there is need for adequate training if we must  do it right. So below are some of the reasons why many audience engagement efforts suck.

Acting without listening: We cannot contribute to any valuable discussion if all we want to do is to be the lone star. There is need for active listening today more than ever before. Listening is an art that adds a lot of values to communication enrichment. Does your brand listens, does it has listening tools?

Not knowing where the goal post is: It may seem funny but that is the truth with many brands. What do they want to achieve with their participation? What will be success yardstick? Who and who are going to be responsible for what are vital issues if audience engagement objective will be achieved.

What sells: may be the right word to use instead of what sell here is ‘excites’. Repackaging, re-fabricating useful contents in another industry for a different audience may look cool but that may not be the best thing to do. Using wrong platforms, channels may also affect the efficacy of a great audience engagement effort. Knowing your audience demographics well will help to know what best channel to use. Without this, audience engagement efforts will become fruitless.

Sharing is power: It is no longer knowledge is power but sharing is power. To get the best in audience engagement efforts, great content no longer holds the highest power. Sharing, marketing, targeting and reaching the audience in their abodes should be a great priority. I was talking with a brand communicator (whose effort was not generating good response) the other day and I found out he had great content without sharing them. He was assuming the audience should come and knock at his residence.

Being in the conversation: if you don’t join other conversation why should you expect others to join yours? Audience engagement is a full time job. If your brand is serious about it, you need to assign that role to passionate individual(s). What other stuff can you add? Be part of this conversation, use comment section. I valued that.

8 Responses to “Audience Engagement: why your efforts suck”

  1. Clair Kritzer 20 July 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    knowledge is power

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