The investigation into effectiveness of using social media to engage customers

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Paine (2011) notes that the criteria used for describing customer engagement cannot be standardized. It is explained that customer engagement can be related to different aspects of customer behavior, as for example the provision by the customer of his e-mail address so that he is informed on the new products/ services of a particular firm. Evans (2010) states that consumer engagement is a complex concept. According to the above researcher, an entrepreneur can understand that his customers are engaged when they react as follows: ‘they collaborate with each other and share the results of those efforts with other participants’ (Evans 2010, p.212). In other words, consumer engagement is characterized by collaboration and information sharing. From a similar point of view, customer engagement has been characterized as a concept reflecting ‘the engagement of customers to a particular brand’ (Tuten 2008, p.26). It is noted that the engagement of customers to a brand can be derived by the loyalty of the customers to the specific brand. Based on the above view, marketers can effectively promote customer engagement if they employ ‘tactics that enable customers to interact with the brand’ (Tuten 2008, p.26). In any case, customer engagement can be defined differently in the context of each organization, according to the priorities set and the organizational goals. Under these terms, customer engagement can be used just to emphasize on the need for ‘showing care to the customer’ (Seruca et al. 2006, p.49). When a customer feels that he is cared of at the highest possible level, then he is expected to be engaged (Seruca et al. 2006, p.49). This means that in organizations that customers’ needs are not addressed, the level of customer engagement will be quite low. Graph 1- When a customer is engaged, findings of survey developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit between December 2006 and January 2007 (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2007, p.3) In a report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit customer engagement is described as ‘a way to create customer interaction and participation’ (The Economist Intelligence Unit 2007, p.2). The characteristics of customer engagement have been further explored through a survey developed between December 2006 and January 2007 (Economist Intelligence Unit 2007, p.2). In the particular survey, about 300 executives have been asked to state their view in regard to the criteria used for characterizing a customer as engaged. The graph 1 above shows the answers of the customer in regard to this issue. These answers reflect the potential elements of customer engagement as appearing in markets worldwide. In practice, the development of an accurate definition in regard to customer engagement can be a challenging initiative. For this reason, a series of theoretical frameworks have been introduced for helping marketers to identify the potential effects of customer engagement on their products/ services. Using these frameworks, customer engagement can be described by focusing on different criteria. For example, if using the brand equity theory, customer engagement can be described as a concept related to ‘brand awareness, loyalty, quality, associations and competitiveness’