Getting customers to engage with your brand is difficult. We’ve all given up our details for a one time offer – ten per cent off an initial purchase or the chance to win an exclusive holiday abroad – but keeping customers genuinely engaged with your brand requires a little more creativity and planning. The popular usage of Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets means competitions have become part of a longer-term marketing strategy with the aim of building brand awareness and engaging with potential customers. In his article recently published in Marketing Week, David Burrows said: “Brands are increasingly running competitions on social media sites to get closer to their most loyal customers, build up a strong sense of what motivates them and then respond to their needs and aspirations accordingly. Get it right and last year’s winners can become this year’s promoters.” Not only can you use customers details to find out how your brand can meet their needs, but you can build a clearer picture of your client base. This is a useful exercise because the type of clients who are attracted to your business may have evolved. Knowing who your target audience is, will help you to deliver your message in the most effective way – you just have to remember to keep it relevant. As soon as a customer feels the information they are being sent is no longer relevant then they will unsubscribe to emails, unfollow Twitter accounts and un-friend Facebook pages. The key is to sustain the customers interest – a difficult and demanding task despite the array of social media and other communications tools at our finger tips. At least with competitions, customers feel as if they are gaining something – whether it’s money off, fundraising or taking part in research – many of us love to engage with our competitive natures.