THE BLOG
10/30/2014 01:39 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2014

5 Cool Ideas for Engaging Your Audience

Lately, I've been looking to expand my business. I'm a solopreneur, but, even so, I recognize the importance of business expansion, and the importance of engaging an audience.

Whether you're selling your services as a writer (like I do), or whether you have an ecommerce business, engagement is vital. It's the way you remain relevant to your audience, create loyal customers who keep coming back for more, and it's how you get the word out about new offerings from your business.

If you want to keep your audience engaged (and possibly spending money), there are a few cool ideas that can help you propel your business to the next level though engagement:

1. BuildFire

Mobile appears to be the next stage of engagement and user experience. According to the PewResearch Internet Project, 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone, and 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone. But it's not just smartphones you need to think about, since 42 percent of American adults own a tablet. If you want to engage the mobile market, BuildFire can be a great tool, since it allows you to create your own apps.

BuildFire allows you to customize apps for your business, so it's possible to offer special deals, create fun games, and allow your customers to "unlock" coupons and promos. Whatever you are looking for, BuildFire can help you build it, or can build it for you. It's even possible to use BuildFire's technology to engage with customers in the way they want to be contacted through subscribed lists and push notifications. This allows for better targeting -- and better conversion.

2. Comment with Facebook

Let's be honest: The days of commenting on blogs are rapidly approaching their demise. I get more engagement when I post a link on Facebook than I get in the post comments on the blog. Most of my engagement happens in social media, rather than on my blog. This is where a comment plugin in Facebook can help. You can boost engagement on your business blog and on Facebook by having the comments appear in both places quickly and easily.

3. SurveyMonkey

How can you know what your customers want? Why don't you ask them? SurveyMonkey is a great tool that allows you to engage with your customers and pick their brains. Surveys can help you engage with your audience since you show that you respect your customers' insights, and it also helps them feel invested in the outcome.

SurveyMonkey is easy to use, allowing you to great a custom survey. You can also upgrade to a version that costs a little bit, but allows greater freedom of options. Give your survey-takers a special coupon code as a reward, and you'll be encouraging them to spend, as well as getting their valuable opinions.

4. ClicktoTweet

This is one of my favorite small business tools, and one that I need to actually implement. ClicktoTweet allows you to call out something specific on your site or in one of your business blog posts. This makes it easy for others to quote you or share, and drive more traffic to your site. It's an easy way to engage your audience.

5. Emissary

Want to make yourself available to others for expert consultations? Emissary can be a good choice. This engagement tool is more for business owners who are into consulting. (You can see my Emissary profile here.)You can set up your pricing and then make it easy for your audience to find you and speak to you. Other great schedulers include vCita and Doodle. These make it easy to set up appointments with customers, even if you aren't charing for consultations.

With the right engagement, your business can grow, and so can your revenue. What are your favorite business engagement tools?