ENGAGEMENT USING INTERACTIVE CONTENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO DRIVE CUSTOMERS LOVE INTERACTIVE CONTENT CUSTOMERS LOVE INTERACTIVE CONTENT CONTENT:

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CUSTOMERS LOVE INTERACTIVE CONTENT

CUSTOMERS LOVE INTERACTIVE CONTENT

ENGAGEMENT

AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO DRIVE

USING INTERACTIVE CONTENT

Engaging your customers is different than talking to them, or offering content they can download or read. Real engagement is when the customer comes back again and again to your website, by being fully immersed in activities and your business. Interactive content is a perfect tool to utilize as it encourages your audience and customers to actively and voluntarily start communicating with your organization. Research has found people experience increased levels of engagement when using content with an action/transaction functionality, or more simply, content that

provides the user with something in return for their actions. For example, a survey or game offers a user more opportunities to interact with the content or site .

Additionally, users’ online experiences have been found to be enhanced by interactive content. Researchers discovered the increased engagement as a result of using interactive content promotes positive thoughts and feelings about the brand or products they have been interacting with .

This is highly beneficial both for customers, because they have a more pleasant experience with the content and website, and for the content owners, because the positive customer experience might encourage customers to return and share their experiences with others .

These findings clearly highlight the crucial role interactivity plays in both the ongoing success of your content and positive perception of your brand, which could result in further beneficial interactions with existing and potential customers .

There are numerous different types of content that can be used to present your ideas in the online space. Content can take the form of a simple web page, or it can have interactive functionality, like a map or a survey. The level of interactivity of a piece of content can range from the simple – encouraging comments on a blog – to the complex, such as an e-learning tool that processes customers’ responses to a survey and provides them with advice or product recommendations to suit specific needs.

SOME EXAMPLES OF INTERACTIVE

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www.tsbc.com Given the potency of interactive content, it would be beneficial to review your site and gain an understanding of what you currently offer your clients. If you don’t have the capacity or capability to develop interactive content in-house, third party suppliers who are specialists in the field can easily be contracted to produce it for you.

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO ENGAGE

It is evident interactivity plays a key role in the engagement of your customers, in addition to influencing their thoughts and feelings about your organization, and its products and services.

THE VERY BASIS OF SOCIAL MEDIA IS INTERACTIVITY. By becoming involved in content marketing, you can easily take advantage of the positive effects of built-in interactivity in social media and create real benefits for your organization, such as increased brand exposure and a more positive and engaged customer base.

Marketing Sherpa discussed the case of a company wanting to maintain the ‘buzz’ created by its annual conference. A thorough social networking

campaign was implemented, which provided conference attendees with regular updates and engaging content, while maintaining a two-way conversation between the conference attendees and representatives from the business.

The campaign resulted in large increases in followers or fans on all three social networks targeted, with people actively participating in conversations throughout the year, prompting an increase in click-throughs of over 200% compared with the previous year . This success highlights that interactivity in these networks, when used well, can reward your organization.

FACEBOOK REPORTEDLY HAS OVER ONE BILLION USERS WORLDWIDE , AND TWITTER, OVER 140 MILLION . PEW INTERNET REPORTED69% OF AMERICAN ADULTS USE SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES, WITH PEOPLE OF ALL AGES INTERACTING WITHIN THOSE SOCIAL NETWORKS, INCLUDING 38% OF PEOPLE AGED 65 YEARS OR OLDER .

The interactivity of social media enables you to reach out to this large audience and monitor real-time feedback from your customers, noting their thoughts and feelings about your products and services or organization in general.

Interactivity also enables you to engage with your customers in the present moment and quickly identify:

COMPLAINTS AND COMPLIMENTS. WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T.

THE KIND OF PEOPLE USING, OR INTERESTED IN, SPECIFIC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.

This quality information can provide direction for your ongoing content marketing strategy, saving you time and money.

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Social media has rapidly become an outlet for content as well. You can utilize your social media channels to release free content that will help your clients, such as white papers, client case studies, and highlight successes of any diagnostic or business tools.

In addition, moving some of your marketing efforts into the social media space changes the dimensions of your audience to become more of a community. Your audience is a diverse group of people who have your organization in common, which is a key factor to consider when developing your campaign.

Social media provides the means for this community to talk to you and to each other. Furthermore, individuals can see what you say to other customers, and how you say it. It is highly important to interact with and respond to your customers, even if they post negative feedback.

One report indicates

60%

of people expect to get a response to posts about service. Furthermore, if a response is not received, it has the potential to impact the perception of the brand and influence customers’ purchasing decisions, with

46%

of respondents saying they “respect brands

that respond and contribute to discussions about the service their customers have received” .

Sam Keninger, writing for the popular technology and news website Mashable, suggests responses to feedback on social media need to ensure customers’ experiences with the brand are nurtured, and must be put together in such a way that customer loyalty to the brand is likely to be enhanced .

While Facebook and other social networks provide quick and relatively simple access to interactivity that can enhance your business objectives and interactions with customers, it is important to recognize that the quality of the content you are providing is what will attract people and boost the interactions you have with them.

To gain the best results from your social media campaigns, it is important not to swamp your fans with too much information. Dropping the sales pitch and sharing engaging, entertaining and relevant content is recommended to promote richer interactions . The timing and number of announcements on varying social networking platforms was considered carefully by Cisco Systems when planning a recent, successful social media campaign. They noted that too many posts from their organization within a specific time period decreased the amount of posts from their audience. As a result, posting was monitored and adapted throughout the campaign to ensure optimal interactions were achieved .

These suggestions form the basis of any content marketing campaign, but it is important to be aware they carry over into the social media space as well.

CONTENT IS KING IN SOCIAL MEDIA AS WELL

MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. START A CONVERSATION

AROUND CONTENT.

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www.tsbc.com To get your customer to engage with you, there is no question that content needs to play an increasing part. – of course you should respond.

The other members of your community will witness it, which will further enhance opportunities for future interactions

NEXT STEPS:

KEY POINT: ENGAGE

• Attract more customers by increasing interactivity on your site and developing a social media presence.

• Strike a balance between interactive and non-interactive content.

• Talk to yourIdentify how customers about how they use social media and content to create targeted interactions.

• Frequently review your interactive content to ensure it remains relevant for your audience.

• Create some content, start a conversation, and engage.

THE SMALL BUSINESS COMPANY

Here at TSBC we create rich, interactive e-learning tools and resources that can be integrated into our clients’ websites. Content is king on the Internet, and we provide effective, targeted content to the ‘business support channel’.

With more than 20 years’ experience running our own small businesses and helping other small businesses to thrive, we wrap up our wealth of business knowledge into a range of best practice tools, templates, articles and interactive training.

Our online content engages, educates and encourages start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners. If you want to be a credible, trusted resource for your small business clients we can provide expert online content to help you achieve your goals. To learn more visit www.tsbc.com.

However, Barry Cooke writing for the Content Marketing Institute points out that while judgment and common sense should be a focus of your interactions with customers on social media, wit, fun and imagination all have a place in those interactions as well. He suggests because customers are all human, they enjoy seeing that your organization has a human side too

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