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Collaborative Content And Technology: A Beautiful Alliance
Collaborative Content And Technology: A Beautiful Alliance

Customers naturally want to engage with brands when browsing online. They want to see reviews, ratings, user-generated content, and forums on a site. Collaborative content features like these help build trust around a product or service. They also assist in the creation of a community of micro-influencers around your brand. Collaborative content platforms allow you to facilitate this.

“Shopping for a product or service online should be an engaging, immersive experience. Something that helps connect you to a business or brand, entices you to wander and spend time on the site and leaves you with 'that loving feeling' or at least some sense of a relationship.” – Virginia Backaitis, CMS Wire

Fundamentally, collaborative content platforms add user generated content and interactions to a website. As we know, the longer a prospective customer spends on your site the more likely they are to purchase. These plugins can be adapted to suit every stage of the purchase cycle. On-site community features, for example, can work to foster post-purchase engagement. Whilst a feature like a review feed can help in the pre-purchase period.

None of this would be possible without some serious techy action going on behind the scenes. We know collaborative content platforms undoubtedly help drive sales. But new technologies and plugins you need to get there fragment any social data you manage to capture. This creates problems for data integration and analysis.

Challenge #1: Data Silos

New and exciting platforms for social content engagement present great opportunities to connect with your audience. They also make it nightmarish to pool data. Plugins often don’t interact well with each other, resulting in disconnected data silos that make it near impossible for marketers to report on their efforts holistically. These disconnected data silos, combined with a common lack of understanding or appreciation for social content internally can make it very difficult to track return on investment for marketing dollars.

“The problem is many organisations still have highly fragmented views of social data internally. This, in turn, prevents marketers from being able to pool social insights together in a way that can really improve customer engagement” Mila Dand, Lighthouse3

Challenge #2: Data Saturation

New social tools and customer interaction on many fronts mean a tidal wave of data that can be difficult to make sense of. Sorting through data to decide what’s worth reporting is a resource-intensive process. Deciding what matters most, and creating actionable insights from the clutter, is no easy task. But creating meaningful reports is fundamental to informing social strategy, so nailing it is a must.

So, how can you make the most of your collaborative content platform without compromising data analysis?

Define your community

Ensure you know exactly who you want to target, and at what phase of the purchase cycle. Define what your business objectives are. Is it to drive revenue? Is it to improve engagement? Whatever it may be, any data you pull should align with these objectives. Don’t waste time analysing information that won’t give you actionable insights.

Hold a deep dive afternoon

Give your team one afternoon to take a deeper look into the data you have available. Setting time aside to do this will ensure that you won’t end up spending weeks sifting through masses of information. Decide which data streams are important to your business and defined community. Get your team involved, informed and invested in the data that comes from your collaborative content platform. The deeper the understanding your team has, the more likely they are to support and engage with the program.

Set a time frame for your deep dive and once you've reached it, stop. The task of data analysis is never done, but after a certain point, the return isn't worth the time investment. Pack up the data set after the deep dive and then shift your focus to the actionable insights.

Create Social Intelligence

Your deep dive is also a good opportunity to discover more about your community. Try and uncover what really drives your audience. What do they value? What’s their ethos? Qualitative social examples mined from social media can help you to connect with your audience on a personal and emotional level that goes much deeper than simple sales metrics. Drive changes in your business, product, and tactics from these findings.

Report on the basics

Don’t get bogged down with complicated metrics that you can’t clearly link back to your business objectives. We suggest creating a quick report that pulls essential data on a daily basis. Make it simple. The report should be easy to understand for anyone and everyone. The metrics you choose should link back to your defined community’s needs and to your objectives.

Pick technology that integrates

Whilst it may seem obvious, wherever possible, pick collaborative content platforms and tools that can be integrated with your existing marketing systems and processes. This will not only make the setup process easier but also improve data analysis. Finding the right tools and enacting the integrations is easier said than done, but looking for technologies that address multiple needs and fit neatly into your business structure will save a lot of time and headaches.

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