17 Oct The 5 Spookiest Audience Engagement Mistakes
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
During this spookiest of months, we’re reflecting on some of the most frightening practices we’ve seen when it comes to engaging with your digital audience. Read on, and beware!
Mistake 1: Being a “3 Hole Punch Jim”
One of our favorite TV shows is The Office, and we love rewatching the holiday episodes (and…uhhm…every other episode). In season 2, an apathetic Jim shows up to work on Halloween as “3 hole punch Jim,” a costume consisting entirely of 3 circular pieces of black paper taped onto his white shirt. His halfhearted effort earns a laugh from Phyllis, but the reality is that Jim couldn’t be bothered to plan ahead. When it comes to your digital marketing strategy, don’t be a 3 Hole Punch Jim. If you’re constantly finding yourself thinking, “Hmm…what should I post about today on our social media?” or “Shoot, I need to write a blog post this week – what should I write about?” – it’s time to get organized and plan ahead. We recommend creating a “content calendar” for your business and keeping it updated with the next 3 months’ worth of social media post ideas, blog post topics, company events, e-newsletters, and other initiatives. Taking the time to do this once per quarter will help alleviate plenty of last-minute scrambles (and, in Jim’s case, regrettable Halloween costumes).
Mistake 2: Ghosting Your Followers
You’ve crafted a thoughtful, engaging social media post for your business and hit the “share” button. Awesome! The likes start rolling in…and then you get distracted with email, day-to-day tasks, and questions from coworkers and clients. In the meantime, an interested customer responds to your post with a question or comment. How long does it take you to notice and respond? We’ve seen too many instances where businesses take days to respond or never respond at all. When this happens, customers can lose interest and assume their note isn’t important to your company. They’re likely to take their business elsewhere, or at least have a bad impression of your company. With public comments, other followers can also see that you never responded. As a best practice, we recommend responding to all customer inquiries and comments within 24 hours. Otherwise, all the work you’re doing to create engaging content is lost when your audience realizes that you’re walking away from it as soon as it’s posted.
Mistake 3: Wearing a Different “Costume” to Every Party
Generally speaking, wearing a different costume to every Halloween party is a fun idea. (That’s assuming you’re social enough to attend multiple parties – we’ve spent many a Halloween watching scary movies with a pizza and candy on the couch!). But when it comes to your online marketing efforts, consistency really is key. Your company should have a consistent aesthetic and brand voice across all platforms. This means that in appearance and tone, your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, e-newsletter, digital ads, and other materials should look like they are all part of a cohesive family. This should stem from your branding efforts – it’s critical for each company to have a Brand Standards Guide that outlines your business’s logo, fonts, colors, visual identity, graphics, mission, values, target audience, and brand voice. We just completed a Brand Standards Guide for a local brewery, and it’s already helped streamline their marketing efforts to look more polished and professional to prospective customers and rental clients.
Mistake 4: Giving Out Raisins Instead of Candy Bars
If you’re anything like us, your childhood trick-or-treating mission was to get as many Snickers bars, peanut butter cups, and Twix bars as possible. The dream was always to get full-size candy bars, or to encounter a generous neighbor handing out several pieces of candy per kid. The duds, of course, were the houses that gave out little boxes of raisins or sugar-free lollipops. Those households, while undoubtedly well-intentioned, prioritized their own values over what their “customers” (aka trick-or-treaters) really wanted. When you engage with your online audience, forget about what you’re trying to promote or accomplish. Instead, put yourself in your followers’ shoes. What information would be valuable and shareable to them? What do they really want? How can your business meet their needs? Your digital marketing strategy should start there. Remember, word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool in real life and online; the houses with the best candy tend to get the most trick-or-treaters.
Mistake 5: Eating All Your Candy In One Night (Or Abstaining Altogether!)
Our local Target is currently FILLED with all kinds of delicious Halloween treats. From neon-orange Oreos to variety packs of the best candies, to jack-o-lantern-decorated jars of poofy cheese balls, it takes some restraint to not buy that junk and eat it long before October 31 rolls around. But, it would be a shame to not indulge in the season – after all, what’s Halloween without a little bit of a treat? Similarly, engaging a digital audience requires a healthy balance. How much is enough? How much is too much? How often should you post on social media? How many of your posts should you “boost” or sponsor? Is it better to send your e-newsletter once a week, once a month, or once a quarter? The answer to all these questions is, of course, “it depends.” Strategic decisions like this should be considered carefully with your target audience and end goals in mind. We love helping clients plan their marketing efforts and strike that perfect balance where their followers feel informed and engaged, but not overwhelmed.