Customer engagement is a business term that’s gained traction over the past few years. It has fed off of the need for personalization and real-time interaction has boomed for small and large businesses alike. However, knowing how to improve customer engagement is another thing completely. Traditional customer service channels are the logical first step when considering customer engagement. Yet, there are countless other ways to leverage your email and social media efforts to bolster engagement and win loyalty.

Consider these six customer engagement tips when planning your next email or social media campaigns. Your customers and your bottom line will thank you later!

Email marketing is a widely used channel for businesses of any size. For small businesses, though, email is a particularly effective engagement tool. Their smaller distribution lists make email easier to manage, while making personalization possible as many employees have relationships with clients. To take your customer engagement to the next level with email marketing, try the following tips:

Send welcome emails

What’s the first thing you do when a guest shows up on your door? Welcome them into your home, of course! The same should go for your email strategy. As soon as someone signs up for your newsletter or makes a purchase, send a welcome email. You can do them one better by sending a series of welcome emails. Why would you want to send multiple welcome emails? To show your customers the value of your business and the personal attention and dedication you provide to each customer. This multi-tiered approach gives customers a way to get to know your business and respond or ask questions.

An added benefit to your business is that recipients are more prone to engage with your call to actions (CTAs). By giving your readers useful information in the emails, they’re inclined to learn more and click through to your website. It’s a win-win.

Welcome emails set the stage for your customer relationship. By being a good host, you are establishing the foundation for a lasting relationship. Make it known that you want to hear from your customers. An easy way to do so is to use a personalized email account in the sender field; not a “do not reply” address. Putting a name behind your customer service humanizes your brand, which boosts engagement.

Thank them

In the same vein as welcoming your guests into your home, make sure you thank your customers. A small – but personalized – nod of thanks goes a long way in establishing customer loyalty, while enticing and encouraging customers to engage with your content. Send a thank you email for recent purchases or as a thank you for their loyalty, when applicable.

Acknowledging that your customers are choosing to do business with you means a lot and creates positive associations with your brand. Use this type of outreach to humanize your business and convey its mission and values through your tone of voice and accompanying imagery. Your customers will value a tailored and unexpected email that doesn’t require them to do anything but feel appreciated by your business.

Optimize for mobile

If we know one thing, it’s that people are using their mobile devices more and more. Optimizing your emails, from font size to image pixel ratio, is critical to customer engagement. If your email appears distorted on a mobile device, the reader is close it within a few seconds. However, when an email renders appropriately, it sends a message to your readers that you understand their email habits and want to make your communications as mobile-friendly as possible.

Optimizing for mobile sounds more technologically involved than it is. Try using a responsive design that automatically adapts to different screens. This means your email will look its best on desktop, smartphone, and tablets because the design caters to whatever device the reader is using. Keep your readers happy and engaged by adopting a mobile-first approach to email.

Convey value in subject lines

People’s inboxes are flooded with mail every single day. In order to stand out, and have people actually read your email, use persuasive subject lines. Subject lines draw attention and help people assess what’s worth their time. By communicating the value of the email in your subject line, it tells the reader what’s in it for them. To master your subject line savvy, channel what resonates with your audience and creatively work it into your subject line.

Before you do anything, assess what will resonate with your audience and then craft your subject line. Is your email all about top tips for organizing your kitchen? Or free Halloween cookie recipes? Whatever it may be, ensure those connection points are in the subject line. When people perceive value, they’re more likely to open, read, and click through your email.

While many of the aforementioned email best practices ring true for social media, there are two additional ways to boost customer engagement without adding significantly to your workload.

Pay attention to posting times

Social media is only effective if your posting times are aligned with your audience’s platform activity. Much like the famous quote, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” so go social posts. If no one is around to see your posts, do they have an impact? They might, but you’re certainly leaving a lot of engagement and interaction up for grabs.

Use your platform-specific analytics and insight tools to monitor when your audience is most active and tailor your posting schedule to those times. If new content is published when your followers are on the platform, they’re more likely to engage, comment, like, or share than when they see it hours or days after its original publish date. Integrate these specific times into your social media editorial calendar and social media marketing tool to develop posting consistency.

Real-time updates are more exciting for followers, as they want to be the first ‘like’ or comment or be the first to share an update within their network. Timing is everything for social media and paying attention to activity times will enhance your customer engagement.

Strive to evoke a reaction or a pique viewer’s curiosity

You may be thinking, “I already do that.” However, there are small additions or tweaks you can make to your posts that will make your engagement soar. Some ideas are to pose questions and solicit feedback from your audience. People love to participate in contests or polls, and even like to provide their insight or wish lists to brands they care about.

Beyond asking questions, play with emojis and weave them into your social media posts. When used correctly, people respond well to emojis, and posts with emojis generate more interaction and dialogue than text alone. Emojis are used between friends, and by adding them into your social strategy, your communications come off as warm, friendly, and authentic, which is the perfect recipe for customer engagement. Just make sure you know what the emoji means before putting it to your post so you send the right message to your followers.

Remember, customer engagement is all about communication and showing your clients that you care about them, their time, and their interests. Use your brand voice to attract and retain their attention, while sprinkling in outstanding images, creative text, and light-hearted emojis to really bring your business to life and build long-term loyalty.