If your objective as a brand is to build a following of loyal customers that will help propel your growth as a business (and this is likely the case), it is important to know which strategies to use to meet that objective. “Consumer engagement” is a buzzword that has been making its rounds recently, and has great merit in the bigger picture of growth. In order to grow your customer base, you need to ensure they stay engaged and keep your brand top-of-mind. Here are the TACK10 Tuesday Top 10 Consumer Engagement Tactics.

1. Personal outreach
When it comes to outreach, either via email updates or social media, relying on bots and pre-designed messaging does little to truly engage consumers. Audiences want to engage with brands when they feel they are interacting with a real person and an authentic message. Personalizing communications with a customer’s name, and relying on staff to write from a place of authenticity will go a long way.

2. Contesting and gamification
If executed well, one of the easiest ways to garner engagement from your consumers is by allowing them to participate in branded contests and gamified campaigns. We all love to receive free things and take part in fun experiences – so to make sure your audience is engaging in your brand’s activities, integrate these simple elements and do so often.

3. User generated content
Leveraging user generated content in your campaigns has the potential to reach a large number of creators who are willing to engage with your brand in order to be a part of its messaging. Featuring valuable comments, creating a hashtag you can curate content from, and regularly reposting earned media are all ways in which consumers can become more interested in interacting with your brand.

4. Get social
Being active on social media can be an important component to your brand’s growth, but it takes strategy to determine which platforms to be active on and the kind of content that will produce the highest engagement. Social media comes down to quality over quantity; to ensure you are grabbing the attention of your followers and potential followers, and prompting them to engage with your brand, make sure you are only posting the highest quality, relevant content.

5. Take suggestions
As a brand, it is important to be confident enough in your products or services to be able to take suggestions for improvement from your consumers. This does not need to come with a negative connotation; KUIU, and outdoor climbing and hunting gear brand recently launched a platform for their consumers to provide suggestions for new products and updates to existing gear. The initiative has been met with great engagement, and a rise in revenue.

6. Leverage technology
As technology changes and audiences become more invested in the latest gadgets, it is increasingly important for brands to stay up to date on technological trends and how they can be leveraged for better engagement. Research the most popular content platforms, communication channels, and innovative marketing tools to help your audience become and stay interested in engaging with you.

7. Reward loyalty
The most engaged consumers often stay engaged because their brand of choice recognizes them and interacts right back. This relates back to the earlier point of personalization and authentic messaging. Reward your most loyal customers, saying “thank you” by offering exclusive promotions or experiences.

8. Timing is everything
When it comes to campaign development, timing can be of the utmost importance. In terms of building an engaged audience, it is valuable to reach consumers at specific moments that are important to them. Want to build an engagement-heavy campaign around a new line of furniture? Plan the campaign for release around post-secondary back-to-school. These consumers are more likely to stick with your brand if you were there for them at a pivotal moment.

9. Be quick to respond to issues
No matter what business you are in, there is always a risk of encountering issues on the customer-facing front. From something as small as website maintenance disruptions to something as large as a United Airlines-level brand crisis, it is important to act quickly to respond to all customer inquiries in order to keep your consumers engaged and prevent them from switching brands.

10. Align with a cause and have a purpose
Research shows that consumers are the most engaged when they can see that a brand supports a cause or cares about an issue of shared importance with that consumer. By supporting a cause that aligns with what your audience cares about, you create new channels for engagement.