Engagement is the Holy Grail of Online Product Promotion

Engagement is the holy grail of online marketing. Broadly speaking, like any other type of product promotion, there are two methods of promoting products online:

  • Passive
  • and Active

Several recent posts to this blog have focused on the active method of using online resources to promote products. Specifically, we’ve talked about email marketing, and, specifically, why, in 2013, it makes more sense for tech businesses to use email marketing as a method of stimulating engagement than it does to use traditional cold call telemarketing.

It’s worth noting that there are several other tactics specific to online marketing at tech businesses can, and should exploit to actively pursue engagement. These other tactics offer users opportunities to push information out to an audience. The tactics, in one form or another, are included in social media applications like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and GooglePlus. They include:

  • Group Discussions
  • Activity Updates
  • Targeted News and Announcements
  • and Annotation

We have substantial current experience with 3 of the above tactics. It’s worth taking a few moments to look at the last of these, annotation. After all, we, ourselves, were slow to understand this tactic. Therefore, we hope that, at the start, our readers will benefit from a definition of annotation. The literal definition of annotation, per the Merriam Webster online dictionary is a note added by way of comment or explanation.

A useful definition of the term, which, perhaps, better presents how it is commonly used in 2013 as a method of pushing engagement, is specific to venues like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Yammer (within the confines of an enterprise) and even Salesforce.com (the Chatter feature). Each of these online applications provides an activity feed or status text box. In the case of Twitter, this text field (which offers no more than 149 characters) constitutes the top level feature. All of the engagement features of Twitter depend upon the 149 character text box, and what a user does with it.

What we do with the Twitter text box is usually publish short, pithy notifications to our audience of the availability of content elsewhere, in other words, on blogs, news sites, or even other Twitter pages. Usually we produce the pithy notifications by simply republishing information already published somewhere else. This republishing process is referred to as a “retweet”.

But, rather than simply “retweet”, we like to annotate these pithy notifications with our own very short (usually no more than 20 – 25 characters) original content. Often this original content is produced in the form of an opinion about the pithy notice that we opt to “retweet”. These annotations have produced engagement for us. Specifically, we have engaged directly with the authors of the content promoted by the pithy notices and also, directly with other readers of these notices. In the next post to this blog we will take a look at curation which is very closely related to annotation.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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