As I discussed in my two previous posts, engagement is a pivotal piece in brand success. While engagement has a much lesser effect on larger, more well-known brands like Burger King, it does still impact them and the impact is much larger for smaller brands. My previous posts delve into the best and worst practices of two Burger King and Wendy’s following some of the industry’s leading sites, Sprout Social and Social Insider.
In this post, however, I will be diving into academic research on brand engagement. Academic research is important to consider because it often gives us a new and better understanding of people and how they act. In turn, we are able to take that research and better tailor practices/ messages towards them. Below, I offer up three ways to boost brand engagement utilizing academic research articles we discussed in class.
1. Bring followers Into the Conversation
In our hyper-connected world, it is important to include followers in the conversation. Ultimately, there is no brand engagement without followers. I think this is something brands often forget. As I mentioned in my last post, interacting with followers is key. Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Using Twitter for Business in 2020, suggests that engaging, responding, and getting the audience involved is key to thriving on social media.
One way to engage and get followers involved is to utilize user generated content. Researchers Paolo Roma and Davide Aloini discuss the sheer importance of using user-generated content and how that use actually differs across social media platforms in The Journal of Business Research. Their 2019 piece states that UGC plays a key role in developing brand relationships, which then impacts engagement. Additionally, their research found that most brand related UGC is more likely to gain a response on Facebook and Twitter. This is important to consider when your brand is thinking about sharing UGC.
2. Tell Your Followers a Story
Creating a well thought out and meaningful story for social media users to follow will greatly impact brand engagement. Followers enjoy following a story, especially one they can relate to. If a follower can relate to the story being told, then they are more likely to engage.
In 2019, researchers from the University of Liege and the University of Porthsmouth conducted a joint study on the impact of story-telling. Their research, which was later published in in The Journal of Business Research, found that characters are able to transfer their emotions from the story to the viewers, and that a more believable story will generate a reaction. The idea of story based engagement once again invites the audience into the story itself and makes them feel lie they are involved.
3. Engage with Your Employees
Employees are often the forgotten stakeholder that interact with a brand, yet they are just as important as the audience members/followers. Employee engagement has a clear impact on the view of the organization.
A group of researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology dive into the importance of employee engagement in their 2019 research. Their study, which was published in the Industrial Marketing Management journal found that brands ranked highly on the website Brandwatch spoke more positively about their employers on social media. They talk more optimistically about higher ranked brands than they do of lower ranked brands, which drives brand engagement.
Why Burger King Is More of the Late-Night-Hook-Up Type
Burger King can once again be used as an example of what not to do. While I do not think they are completely missing the mark, they are not the long-term commitment we are looking for. Burger King does engage with followers and often posts user generated content. However, they can definitely learn a thing or two from the research outlined above.
Their brand does not do too much story telling in any of their posts, which I think misses the mark. They are known as that family friendly fast food brand, yet they do not use heartfelt storytelling to bring in their audience. Additionally, I do not see much engagement when it comes to their employees, but they are highly ranked on Brandwatch, shown in the screenshot below. But what do I know? I’m not a part of their royal family.
Tell Me What You Think
What do you think? Am I deep frying Burger King too much? Let me know in the comments below!