Creating and promoting interactive content for your business

First, let’s define INTERACTIVE content! Then let’s explore what’s involved in creating and promoting interactive content for your business.

Interactivity involves things that engage and invite visitors to have a back and forth with you. What does that involve? Quizzes, calculators, surveys, videos, animated infographics. You can do this in many ways. Let’s explore those:

Social media interactive content

When we think about social media interactivity, Instagram and Facebook come to mind. Stories and posts have features that allow you to let people vote on your posts, in addition to commenting. You can use these features but you can also simply ask “what do you think about this?” Then, comment interactively with each response.

Video interactive content

Video content is one of the more interactive types of content. It invites users to “watch more” on social media and comment on videos on YouTube.  Unlike more static blog posts, videos let you engage with users. If you’re using live video (such as on Facebook), you can even have people comment and you can answer questions right as you’re doing your video! That’s a way of taking your online business to wherever your customers are in a deeply personal way. It’s highly successful for small businesses who want that “classic retail” feel with a global audience. You really DO feel like you connect with your customers when doing live video answer sessions.

Surveys and polls

Surveys offer an asynchronous chance to get feedback from users. Whether shorter or longer, surveys, and their more fun cousin, quizzes, get direct input from our users. Anyone who has ever filled out a magazine quiz or an online survey knows how we all love to provide our opinions to businesses. Longer form surveys are crucial for understanding what your customers are thinking, and you can read more about how to do them here. Many easy survey tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey abound now, so no need to fuss with sophisticated (and expensive) tools.  

Polls, built right into Instagram and Facebook, allow you to do quick what-do-you-think types of feedback. You can iterate a new idea fast just by crowdsourcing the idea from your customers. Polls such as “what do you want to see next” or “yea or nay” are easy to produce and work to engage with clients.

Each of these interactive content ideas can be mixed in with your regular, more static content on a weekly and monthly basis. If you’re into less personal interaction, favor these asynchronous methods over, say, a live video.

Asynchronous interaction is interaction that doesn’t happen realtime with customers, but is still interactive. Comments, polls, surveys all fall into this type of interaction. It’s great for introverts who dislike live video and answering questions on the fly, but it’s also good to keep a conversation in a post going over a slightly longer timeframe. But asynch interaction is NOT an email newsletter or blast. That doesn’t invite back and forth comment or interaction, it’s simply one sided on the brand or business.  Neither are podcasts  – these are also one-sided on the brand’s side.

Synchronous interaction is live video with Q&A and messenger. This is often directly back and forth at the same time or at least within moments of the interaction. This is probably as close as you’d get to talking with your customer, and for many, feels as real as real time in person conversation.

What percentage of interactive versus non interactive should you have? 50% or greater, although it doesn’t have to all be synchronous. Synchronous (live) interaction could be part of your once per week or once per month schedule. Your clients will tell you  how often they want to see you by their numbers and interaction. If it’s not working and you’re not getting interaction, you can drop or lower the amount of synch / live content you produce.

Isn’t interactive content HARD to produce?

Ideally it’s not harder. You still have to prep for live video the same way you do with recorded video, podcasts or even social posts. Something has to be created – and planned. The difference is in the delivery. Live, there won’t be editing afterwards, but you may have to rehearse more beforehand to get a smooth delivery practiced.

Interactive content gives businesses the closest approximation in a global, digitally connected world to engaging with a customer in a store or a client in a chair opposite you. You can sell stuff anywhere in the world, you can service clients anywhere in the world. How you show up and engage WITH them is key for growing your online presence.