Social interaction with customers works best on Web sites

Summary:The last 12 months have seen a huge increase in the usage of digital media in Thailand, and Bangkok in particular.This year, we're beginning to see a response from companies, not just big brands like Central, Nike, Starbucks and the usual suspects, but the kind of business that could genuinely benefit from the use of Twitter, Facebook, search engine optimization, social ads and other Web 2.

The last 12 months have seen a huge increase in the usage of digital media in Thailand, and Bangkok in particular.

This year, we're beginning to see a response from companies, not just big brands like Central, Nike, Starbucks and the usual suspects, but the kind of business that could genuinely benefit from the use of Twitter, Facebook, search engine optimization, social ads and other Web 2.0 strategies.

While on the whole I'm positive about the interest companies are taking to the new breed of digital campaigns, I've recently witnessed a number of campaigns which go against contemporary thinking and, frankly, all logic.

The campaigns I refer to use digital media, Twitter in particular, as the sole engagement platform for communication campaigns, competitions or product pushes.

The companies are looking to engage with their audience on Twitter where the 140 character-limit severely hampers the dialogue, and the limited functionality restricts the "value" a company can gain from the customer--i.e. there is nothing to buy or interact with.

Then there are those requesting interested parties to send them a direct message (DM).

Adopting Twitter, or for that matter Facebook, as the platform for your campaign will massively affect the clarity (and therefore message) of the communication, but equally the ROI (returns on investment) and conversion rates generated from interested visitors.

Facebook's commerce features mean some companies enjoy interactive elements on the social network but for most, the best solution remains converting interest within social media fans to a homepage with far more space, a lot more information and more compelling opportunities for visitors to interact with a brand.

Dell, and its much cited Twitter revenue making--which stood at US$3 million in 2009--is proof that the company was able to use the microblogging service to generate traffic to its online store by posting compelling messages, in this case, special offers of computers including links for more detail.

Your Web site remains the best place to engage customers, with social media emerging as a new method to attract large numbers when the message, offer and timing are right.

While it is great to see companies embracing social media, those looking for contestants to tweet their entries in 140 characters--the difficulty of which demotivates many would-be players--or to contact you via DM, which requires them or anyone who wants to contact you to first "Follow" you--removing the viral element and adding complexity--or to "Like" your wall or photo album in order to enter a prize draw--which has little value for your brand in the longer term--will want to consider moving the interaction point from social networks to their own Web site where there is an increased chance of interaction (and customer conversion/ROI) and greater potential to build relationships.

Rant over!

Topics: Networking, Asean, Enterprise 2.0, Social Enterprise

About

Dwight Turner is an American social media addict living in Bangkok. He especially loves gadgets, photography, and examining the ways society interacts with emerging forms of technology.

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