By: Alison Fore
Ghosting is when a person reads your message and then does not respond. Ghosting can happen over email, text, direct message, and snap. When a brand ghosts an individual, they leave them feeling as though their opinions do not matter; as you can imagine, this causes decreased sales and brand loyalty.
What Does the Research Say?
Author Patria Lakshmana dives into the issue of a company’s engagement and how that engagement influences the customer’s loyalty and purchase intention in her article “I Will Always Follow You: Exploring the Role of Customer Relationship in Social Media Marketing.” She tested her theories in a population of people in Indonesia that represented society as a whole. She focused on 256 people in the retail banking realm in Indonesia. The author does note, “The major limitation of this study is its generalizability beyond retail banking industry” however, she explains how the audience she picked was intended to represent a broader scope of people. She chose Indonesia because they have a population of 268 million, and of that, 48% were active social media users. This group offered a good look at how the rest of the world may have interacted on social media. She had individuals fill out a questionnaire asking their thoughts and feelings about a company. She found a direct link between a brand’s engagement and the level of brand loyalty their customers had. The more a company engaged with its audience, the more brand loyalty it expressed. She also found that engagement increased the likelihood of purchasing from that company again (Lakshmana 2020).
Why Should We Care?
As integrated marketing communication practitioners, we need to know why engagement is essential. This article’s findings showcase that companies need someone who understands how social media works. As previously mentioned, there is a link between how much interaction a brand has with its followers and how brand loyalty increases. Thus, brands need someone to like comments, repost stories, create reels, or start an IGTV. All of these features on social media allow for increased interaction with your audience. This also means knowing when the right time is to post content on social media platforms. For example, it does not make sense to post something at 3 pm on a weekday because people are at work and unable to scroll on social media. Companies need an IMC practitioner to develop social media strategies and content calendars to ensure their post is seen. On apps like Facebook and Instagram, you need to post almost daily to see an increase in the amount of views and engagement you have on your sites. This means you need someone versed in the type of content that people want to see and in what format people want to see it. For example, a brand should not use Canva for every post as it becomes repetitive and lacks emotional appeal. Instead, a brand should mix it up with video content and candid/posed pictures. The article says it is essential to consider how and if your followers can engage with every post you make.
What Does Engagement Look Like?
The type of engagement you provide may look different based on the company you are working for. Some examples include:
- Replying to direct messages
- Responding to emails
- Creating interactive polls on social media
- Liking and replying to comments on a post
- Answering phone calls/calling back
- Responding to reviews
All of these things are ways to engage with the public. One of the newer methods of engagement includes creating polls on a social media page. These stories should incorporate questions that you as a company have about your consumers and consider the comments and questions you have received from your audience in the past. As the article says, “the content must be entertaining, customized and yet interactive” customization is key to interaction (Lakshmana 2020).
Let’s create an example using Gym Shark. Gym Shark is a fitness brand that has become influential in the online fitness realm. If they wanted to create a “this or that” poll to understand their consumers more, it might look like this:
|18-25 years old||25-35 years old|
|At Home Workouts||Gym Workouts|
This would allow them to engage with their followers and collect essential data about who follows their social media. Gym Shark receives a lot of questions about sizing, color preference, shipping methods, and price. If they wanted to engage their followers and answer these comments on social media, they might create story telling their followers to ask them a question. Then they can filter through the questions and answer the most popular ones. Again, they get to learn valuable information about their audience. This will enhance their marketing skills in the future so they can prevent similar questions from arising later. These two examples are great ways to make your consumers feel heard. As the article says, engagement is essential because it improves loyalty and purchase intentions.
How to Make a Social Media Plan?
To ensure a high level of engagement actually happens, companies need to have a plan. This can look different for different people. Some companies might be able to pay for third-party platform like Hootsuite, which allows you to track brand engagements, schedule posts, and receive in-depth analytics. Some IMC practitioners might only be able to use Facebook Business suites which will enable you to post pictures across Facebook and Instagram. However, the analytics are not as in-depth. Finally, a practitioner might use a calendar to keep track of when to post. This would ensure that they can keep track of posts, but they will not have insight into their views/clicks, and they cannot schedule posts ahead of time. As a company grows, it might realize how influential social media is and pay for platforms like Hootsuite. Either way, no matter how you are keeping track of engagement, the most important thing is to make sure you stay engaged.
Laksamana, P. (2020). I Will Always Follow You: Exploring the role of customer relationship in social media marketing. International Review of Management and Marketing, 10(3), 22–28. https://doi.org/10.32479/irmm.9662