With the meteoric rise of mobile technologies and social media platforms, customers have emerged as an even more powerful force. They are plugged in 24/7 and have the ability to find information literally in seconds. They are totally in control of their own experience.

This presents new challenges for marketers to figure out new and clever ways to connect with customers and partners. Engagement is the holy grail of social media marketing because fans and followers who are interacting with your brand are more likely to share your content and talk about you.

An engaged consumer is more invested and has an emotional tie to your brand. In marketing circles, the user with a higher level of emotional tie-in is inclined to buy more and spend more than the passive user who may be just searching the latest special or newest bells and whistles. As emerging social media platforms gain traction and become saturated, more advertisers are forging ahead. The more crowded platforms like Instagram and Snapchat become, the more time, creativity and budget it will require to stand out and get noticed.

Think of social media as more than just another way to get your key messages across and make sales. Facebook and Instagram are not just billboards to use to regurgitate your marketing plan. Social is so much more than that. To view social media as a new means to engage with customers means shifting from a “we” focus to a “them” focus. Think about your social media strategy from simply a brand-centered platform to one that centers around your customers’ needs and expectations.

For example, reach out to tap into their mindset about your brand. Ask customers how you can do better. It may be invaluable to enlist the services of a mystery shopper to experience your medspa, practice or brand as a first time customer would to look for any gaps, flaws, and missed opportunities. Having a pair of fresh eyes take a look at how you’re responding to customers can be enlightening and frightening at the same time. Be prepared to have your eyes opened; both in a good way and not so much. Gaining even one pearl can lead to a vast improvement in the way your brand is perceived by both existing and potential customers.