Engaging with customers essentially refers to the practice of a business developing an emotional connection with its customers. The idea is that the more engaged, or emotionally involved, with a brand a customer is, the more he or she will buy from that brand and be loyal to the specific business.

The internet offers unparalleled opportunities for brands to engage with customers, and thereby increase customer loyalty and expenditure, reach out to new customers and ultimately grow their business.

If you are determined to engage with your customers more effectively to improve customer loyalty and retention, to help drive your business forward, take a look at the following tried and tested customer engagement strategies.

Make customer experience a priority

Whether it’s having a meal in a restaurant or being on a flight with an airline, we all know from our own experience that the better your customer experience is, the likelier you are to connect with a brand and become a loyal customer.

When thinking of strategies to improve your customer engagement, think about how you can better serve your customers. It might be providing a first-rate customer service, where your customers can contact your business and get a timely response around the clock. Or, it might be providing a compassionate aftersales service, which shows you are devoted to your customers well beyond the point of sale.

Get more active on social media

The most effective way to increase customer engagement on social media is to regularly post quality content that is relevant to your field but it unique to your brand. You should also focus your social presence to an audience that resonates with your goods or services. If, for example, you sell clothing to younger people in their 20s, you may find concentrating your social media efforts on Instagram, which 59% of 18 – 29-year-olds use , is more effective in nurturing customer engagement with your target audience, compared to concerting your efforts to Twitter, for example, or Facebook.

Interact with customers on a personal level

Customers like to be treated like individual people and social media provides the opportunity for brands to build personal relationships with customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is to respond to customers on social media individually. When a customer leaves a comment on one of your posts or on your website, respond to the comment in a gregarious and timely manner, referring to the customer with their own name.

Creating and maintaining an active online presence, whereby you regularly interact, respond and have a professional but friendly banter with your customers, will go a long way in nurturing better customer engagement, which results in a happier, more loyal set of customers. Contented customers are likely to send other people your way and can play a vital role in widening your customer base, helping you grow your business and become more profitable.

But the difficulty many businesses face when attempting to become more active on social media and build a better customer rapport online, is that they simply don’t have the time to invest in creating, managing and maintaining a comprehensive and effective social media and content marketing strategy.