Traditionally, customers have always been critical to the success of a brand – however, today’s consumer seems to hold all the cards. With the rise of community brand building via social media and the web, marketers, brands and business owners must look to the consumer for the keys to provide heightened satisfaction and brand loyalty. Because of this ‘always on’ status and ability to find product information almost immediately, the customer is in control of their own experience, and this trend has forced marketers to rethink how they engage and connect with their customers.

In the pursuit of a thriving brand, a business must tap into a hybrid approach of both traditional and groundbreaking marketing strategies to reach customers on a meaningful level. By developing a multi faceted plan to deliver consistent and on point communication within the lifecycle of the customer experience, a brand can engage in a more effective way than ever.

Crafting and implementing a customer engagement strategy can help a company foster growth, encourage advocacy and generally improve the inner-working of the business. By encouraging users to engage through sharing their experience and relationship with the brand, a company will receive valuable insights to what the user’s needs are, providing the opportunity to deliver an outstanding user experience.

Customer engagement strategies can take many forms depending on the consumer segment or industry. A few strategies that apply across the board can help strengthen the platform for a seamless experience:

#1: Know Your User(s)

For a truly authentic approach to customer engagement, the brand must understand who their customers are and what drives them. Ideally, this inception of this process should begin at the development of the brand, however, customer segments can change over time as brands develop and expand market share. Tapping into analytics, social media data, surveys and focus groups can provide the insight to develop the right engagement strategy.

#2: Make Your Brand Accessible

Behind every brand is it’s people. Consumers want to know that there is a human side to the product or digital platform that they are engaging with. Making accessibility a priority from both a communication and technological aspect is key. This means offering a high level of customer service, content that is understandable and mobile optimization in the form of a responsive design. Creating opportunities for engagement at all points will establish a trust that is hard pressed to be broken.

#3: Provide Benefit / Be Useful

Utilize content to help get customers what they need. From product information to customer service channels, providing great content will enhance the customer experience on multiple levels. Content should be consistent in both tone and information. Whether it’s a 1-2-3 step approach on a product or contacting the company, implementing a cohesive strategy so that the organization is all on the same page will deliver the ideal pathway for the user and result in a union of messaging.

#4: Go Deep in Data Gathering

While traditional analytics can provide an important high level view of customer engagement and staisfaction, going further to uncover the less obvious and more insightful data will build a more engaged brand. By analyzing data obtained from social media, companies can obtain information on upcoming trends, level of user satisfaction in real time and product opinion. Many companies who engage with their customers on a more personal level through social media platforms experience tremendous growth in sales and product development success.

#5: Simplify the Experience

Taking a simplified approach across the board that’s inclusive of content, design, and service has proven to increase the levels of customer satisfaction markedly. If there is too much information, the content is hard to find, or worse – they have a terrible time using the product, the user will more than likely abandon the pursuit and even further, make their dissatisfaction heard. Pare the message down to the core essentials for the true essence of the brand experience to resonate.