How To Take Customer Engagement To The Netflix Level

All marketers want to be experts on their customers. But do you really know your customers as well as you could?

How To Take Customer Engagement To The Netflix Level

All marketers want to be experts on their customers. But do you really know your customers as well as you could?

Consider how Netflix, for example, has thoroughly embedded itself into our cultural zeitgeist. It has earned the business of more than a third of U.S. households, while Amazon Prime comes in at a distant second in the streaming world, claiming just 13% of U.S. households, and Hulu Plus lags behind in third place.

Netflix’s success stems partly from its intuitive platform and expansive range of content and partly from its uncanny knowledge about its users. Its original shows, including “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” have repeatedly delighted its Millennial user base, and the streaming video service has repeatedly shown its social media skills to be second to none. The brand has inspired lively debate on Millennial-friendly social platform Reddit and has challenged users to tag their Instagram photos with its #Grammasters3 hashtag. In Netflix’s previous Grammasters competition in 2014, selected photographers brought along thousands of followers for the ride. And, of course, #Netflixandchill has been plastered across the Internet since its first use in 2009, even inspiring fans to turn their apartments into homages to the phenomenon.

Netflix has turned customer engagement into an exact science, chiefly because it has prioritized learning who its customers are and how to reach them. If you want to be on the level of #Netflixandchill, then you need to avoid making these critical mistakes during the customer profiling process.

Why Do You Misunderstand Your Customers?

Here’s a look at some missteps marketers make in terms of misunderstanding who their customers are.

You’re not looking at all the data: It’s easy to focus on data points that are favorable to your brand and its marketing efforts, but paying attention to only some of the data could backfire. For instance, if you’re looking for brand insights on social media, and you’ve spent a lot of time developing this month’s social imagery, then you might think high social engagement with those images means the campaign is working. But let’s say your click-through rate from social platforms has remained flat, even though likes and comments from followers have increased. It’s easy to pat yourself on the back for the social boost, but your customers aren’t actually buying what you’re selling.

You’re valuing quantity over quality: Marketers tend to value reach over engagement. They become married to the idea that influencers must have huge followings to be effective. The bigger the following, the greater the return on investment, right? Well, while there’s nothing wrong with reach, the influencers with the largest followings rarely have the most engaged followings. Research shows that small-scale influencers with active, invested audiences are often more effective at spreading brand awareness and gathering customer insights than their far-reaching counterparts.

Getting More Acquainted With Your Customers

Your customers are the true experts about your product’s role in their lives. So now that you know how not to learn about your customers, let’s consider some strategies to better engage your customers and tap into their expertise:

Start a conversation by asking them questions: There are lots of ways to initiate a dialogue with customers. Reach out to them via social media by asking for input on a new design concept, or invite them to tell their stories in response to a blog post. Be sure to offer thoughtful responses and actually apply the feedback to ensure customers feel their comments are valued.

Be sure to follow up on feedback, and once you know what customers want, actually put it into action. M&M, for instance, is letting customers vote on a new permanent flavor; why not let yours vote on your brand’s next Facebook cover photo or product feature?

Uncover their personalities through social listening: Social media is a great tool for product promotion, but it’s also incredibly useful in another, less utilized way: learning about your customers’ personalities. You should leverage social media monitoring to see what customers respond to. Remember how Arby’s responded to Pharrell’s bold hat choice at the 2014 Grammys? Arby’s pulled that off by tuning in to pop culture and following customers’ social media conversations, then making a post that was both funny and highly relevant to a younger audience.

Lead with influence: Even in the era of digital media, word of mouth remains the most effective way you can communicate with customers. But to reach customers, you don’t need to seek out influencers with giant audiences: Remember, you’re not going for just reach. Instead, connect with influencers who can communicate to highly engaged audiences about your product.

Audible, the Amazon audiobook affiliate, mastered this with its YouTube influencer campaign in 2015. The company partnered with prominent video bloggers to showcase Audible across different niches of YouTube, growing Audible’s YouTube subscribers to an incredible 132.8 million.

To make a Netflix-level splash with your customers, open a dialogue via social media, learn about their personalities through social listening, and deploy an army of influencers. Customers are at the heart of your brand’s success, so isn’t it time you became a bit more acquainted with them?

See what the Twitterverse is saying about customer experience: