Imagine a brick and mortar store without sales associates helping customers. Imagine a restaurant without a wait staff catering to its clientele. It just seems wrong, doesn’t it? We expect people to be there as needed when we’re shopping, and part of the whole allure of dining out is the convenience of being waited on. Five to ten years from now, however, it will probably be just as difficult to imagine a company operating online without some sort of social media or interactive strategy. Why? Because like traditional expectations for the retail and hospitality industries, today, for any company doing business online, people expect an engaging experience.
Because We Can, We Must: The need for interactivity online didn’t really start with social media, but through social media’s success, it became undeniably clear. On social media channels like Facebook or Twitter – even on older channels like websites, blogs, and email accounts – personal, relevant interactions between businesses and/or consumers have become the new normal. Because it’s possible, and because it’s been proven to be effective – at SnapApp, for example, we’ve seen an over 50% click through rate on average for people who use interactive content – creating interesting and engaging experiences online is a necessity.
It’s Measurable and Scalable: Effectively measuring social media on its own in relation to business objectives is almost impossibly complicated. Social channels are touch points and conversations, and even social conversions like likes or follows don’t necessarily mean business conversions like becoming a qualified lead or making a purchase. When, however, social media interactions lead to more relevant behaviors like form completions or personal recommendations, then you have something worth measuring. In fact, from what we’ve measured, we’ve found that interactive content created on the SnapApp platform drives, on average, an 82% form completion rate. That means whether people are engaging on Facebook, Twitter, a website, in an email, or on a blog, four out of five times those people will share relevant information based on the value of their interactions.
It Builds Relationships: Conversations are usually the best way to build relationships. They naturally establish connections built on trust and respect as both parties share and relate interests, goals, perspectives and other relevant information. Although, sadly, most businesses don’t have time to have one on one conversations with customers or prospects, online interactions across social media channels and through interactive content can help serve as viable substitutes for personal engagements. By asking questions through polls or surveys, for example, brands can quickly open the floor to customer or community opinions and react accordingly to any expressed needs, wants or trends. By being present and responsive on social media channels as well, businesses show an openness and an accessibility that is crucial for establishing meaningful connections.
To be blunt, why businesses need an engagement strategy is simple – people want worthwhile interactions online. I think Remi Carlioz, senior head of digital at PUMA, sums it up perfectly without pulling any punches in an article on Digiday, “It is undoubtedly necessary to find and engage with [people] where they digitally reside, rather than relentlessly, always trying to usher them back to a brand’s owned platform. Brands are too self-centered and must boldly act on the desire that the consumer possesses; the desire to transparently experience and interact with a brand online.”