Engagement Marketing: Building Meaningful Connections with Your Audience

| September 26, 2023

Humans are craving interaction more than ever—from people and brands. When social media began, I fell in love with social because it was marketing’s first tool to have a two-way communication stream with customers. Social media is a powerful tool to drive engagement, but it’s not the only way to keep customers engaged.

We’re living in a fast-paced world and businesses are experiencing challenges in capturing the attention of their customers. We want to be entertained or informed by brands, so it’s more important to create a connection with customers, and a fantastic way to do that is to have them engage with your brand.

What Is Engagement Marketing?

Engagement marketing creates long-term customer relationships, but brands must think larger than social media and one-way communication. Businesses need to create material that makes customers or prospects take action. Once somebody interacts, they’ve expressed interest and a brand wants to keep that relationship going in a positive direction. It’s similar to when you meet an individual—you are not instantly excellent friends. It takes time and regular interactions to build a relationship to become a loyal friend—brands need to have the same approach to create brand advocates and generate customer loyalty.

What Are Ways To Drive Engagement?

Content continues to be king. And more than ever, content has to resonate with your target audience, so it’s crucial that you understand your customers inside and out to create experiences that they want to take action on. Brands want to create an omni-channel experience to ensure a seamless brand interaction. There are different levels of participation. Some include:

  • Social Media
  • Website
  • Email
  • Text Messaging

Use Social Media To Engage Your Audience

Social media is the most apparent marketing tactic to drive engagement. It provides brands an opportunity to interact with customers and prospects. These days, social media is coveted by people, and getting a follow alone means the person values your content and brand. The person wants to receive information from you, so that’s a significant win in its own right.

Of course, it isn’t just about your follower count because you have to create content they want to see that excites them to take action. Knowing your audience and what drives them to react to a social post is essential. Try a mix of different types of content—text, images, video, polls, etc.—and see what works best. Find a way to give your social media audience something exclusive they can't get anywhere else.

In addition to knowing what content to put out, it’s essential to know which platforms to pick. You don’t need to be on all outlets just because they exist. Focus on one or two where your audience lives the most, master that channel, and then look to add another. If you have established Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X (formerly known as Twitter) presences, consider adding Threads. Threads, Instagram’s new app, has already garnered over 100 million users in 5 days, according to Mark Zuckerberg. Because it’s a new social media channel, it allows you to test and explore what content works well on Threads.

Your Website Is Key To Housing Engagement Pieces

Websites are a fantastic way to house interactive content, whether your target audience is searching Google for material or you share a link through social media, email, text marketing or other marketing tactics. There are several ways to drive website engagement, from static copy and images with a blog or infographic to creating animation and multi-step forms or surveys to sweepstakes. These tools help keep your target audience entertained and informed with the overall experience to keep their interest.

Communicate Through Email Marketing

Another engagement tool is email marketing. A customer who gives you their email address wants to hear from you. Take advantage of this—but don’t spam them or they will leave. Develop a regular email schedule so subscribers know when they’ll hear from you. Figure out what content they want by testing and reviewing open rates. Ask the important questions:

  • Do they want promotions?
  • Do they want product or brand updates?
  • Directly ask them what they want to receive from you.

Remember to not only engage them but also show that you’re willing to listen to them so they have the experience they want.

Don’t Sleep On Text Marketing

Text or SMS marketing is a newer and most coveted marketing tool. If you can get someone to subscribe with text messages, I’d call them super fans. You want to engage with these brand advocates, but again, don’t spam them. Find the balance of how many texts you want to send over a month and make sure it is relevant content to them.

Because they subscribe to texts, I recommend making this an exclusive club and thank them with special offers or preview events. They are brand advocates, giving them more incentive to be ambassadors and know secrets they can share with friends and family.

These are a few ways to engage with customers but feel free to experiment with your ideas. A good question to ask yourself is, am I talking to them or asking them to participate?

About The Author


Matt Hensler is a multi-award-winning marketing leader, educator and speaker and is currently the Vice President of Digital Integration at ColinKurtis Advertising. Previously, Hensler owned his own integrated marketing agency and has won a handful of social media, digital marketing and public relations awards including PR News 30 & Under. He also has in-house experience working at notable brands Toshiba, StarKist, Hershey’s, DISH Network, USA Today, Wells Fargo, Marriott and Chick-fil-A. Hensler is a published author and speaker, where he has published pieces or been a special guest on social media marketing, digital marketing and public relations for CBS, WGN Radio and Website Magazine. He has also been a speaker at the Social Strategies Summit, Social Shake Up and Small Business Expo. Matt Hensler holds his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University and a Master of Arts in Public Relations from Full Sail University.

Website: www.colinkurtis.com