One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is that they don’t understand that they shouldn’t be focusing on followers, fans or views. These statistics are practically worthless in a world where the majority of web users are quick to abandon web pages and social media content.
Instead there are other statistics and important metrics that need to be considered. These statistics are about interaction rather than simply viewing and these statistics can be so much more powerful.
What Is Interaction?
Interaction is when someone actually looks at your published material and then takes action to engage with it. The interaction could be something like sharing, commenting or accepting an offer. There are different levels of interaction: low, medium and high.
While it is preferable to always have high interactions, low and medium interactions are also important. Here are examples of each level of interaction:
Low: liking a post.
Medium: commenting on a post.
High: clicking on a call to action.
Low and medium interactions are what spread your content to the followers and fans of the engaged member. The call to action does not do this, but it does give you a solid lead. However, a single person can actually interact with your content at all three levels in quick succession. This is the most beneficial but it is very rare.
Why Aren’t Businesses Concentrating On Interaction?
The main reason why most businesses don’t concentrate on interaction is because they are too fixated on the number of followers they have.
This lack of concentration on interaction is because for much of the past, marketing has been about getting messages out to the masses, hoping they retain the information long enough to act. When businesses were solely using advertising mediums such as television, print and radio – there was no way to engage interaction, therefore, their only focus was to reach as large an audience as possible.
However, with the rise of the internet and interactive marketing channels (blogs, social media, PPC and emails) you can now concentrate on the next stage of the cycle – the interaction. Getting the interaction rate high is more important because it leads to a measurable return on your investment. A campaign going viral boosts your businesses profile and often leads to greater website traffic.
At the same time, when people click on a call to action they are either placing an order or signing up to your email newsletter. Every new customer or subscriber increases the value of your business, giving you a real return on your investment.
But Doesn’t More Followers Mean Greater Interaction?
The more followers you have the greater the number of interactions you are likely to accumulate. Yet this is not always the best option for your business. In some cases it can be highly ineffective and expensive. For example, you could have a mailing list of 100,000 people and have 50 people click through to make a purchase.
While this looks positive, there are issues. The first is that sending an email to 100,000 people can be expensive. On MailChimp for example, this would cost about 0.2 cents each. So your campaign costs approximately $200 in total.
If you have a more highly engaged audience, then you can achieve far better results. For example, if you have a list of just 1,000 highly engaged and interested individuals and 50 of these make a purchase; your campaign will have cost nothing. This is because those businesses with less than 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per month have free accounts.
Between the two campaigns, the return on investment (ROI) is far greater than in the second, smaller, more engaged group of subscribers.
What Interaction Rates Should I Be Looking For?
Many people believe that interaction rates have to be as high as 20 or 30%. Most businesses will struggle to achieve this. Instead you need to look at realistic interactions rates and try to improve them with good quality content.
The interaction rate also depends on the medium and your industry. For instance, email marketing for the hobby industry has a very high open (30%) and click through rate (5%) while those in coupon / daily deals have much lower results (14% and 2% respectively).
Interaction rates are also far lower on some social media channels. For example, Twitter has a very low interaction rate on average (less than 1%) while on LinkedIn you should expect about 5% for Pulse articles.
How Do You Calculate The Interaction Rate?
The interaction rate is calculated by taking the total number of interactions at all levels and dividing it by the number of views the piece of content has. This can be difficult to measure on Twitter as you can never be sure of how many users have actually seen the content – but for other social media channels this is far easier to calculate.
It is important to study what level of interaction you are getting. People who are not reading the full article, but are finding some of the content interesting are likely to share it. Those who have read it but haven’t found a call to action or anything else of interest are likely to comment and those who have clicked through have found your content highly engaging.
By monitoring trends in your audience’s reaction you can ascertain where improvements need to be made. However, one of the best ways to improve interactions (and the quality of them) is to stop talking about your business. Instead you should focus your efforts on:
- Providing valuable lessons related to your audience.
- Engaging in conversation with your target audience.
- Sharing content from other influencers in your industry.
This will demonstrate your expertise and make you more approachable, friendly and trustworthy.
The number of followers, fans and subscribers has little value in the digital marketing age. Instead of paying attention to these vanity metrics, you should be looking at how your audience is reacting to the content you are publishing.
By improving interaction rates with a smaller, focused and highly engaged audience you can improve your ROI and ensure your business is seen as a market leader.