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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 22, 2010

Brands failing to engage website visitors via social media

An in-depth assessment of the engagement strategies employed by some of today's top online brands shows that many are not featuring social media on their websites which, as a result, remain void of engaging and relationship-building content.

by Helen Leggatt

episerver logo.gifAccording to online community platform specialists EPiServer's recent report, "The Engaged Web", not many of the 80 leading* online brands studied made use community-building features, such as blogs, on their websites to engage consumers.

Even less made use of social media.

Brands that don't actively encourage consumer engagement will, most likely, be left behind in a world where social media already plays a huge part in brand recommendation, loyalty and affinity.

Just last month the U.K. Online Measurement Company (UKOM) released findings that showed social networking/blogging to be the most popular online activity in the U.K. accounting for 27% of total online time - up from just 9% in 2007.

Yet even some of the most popular online brands neglect to keep up with the times.

Here are a few of the numbers from EPiServer's report:-

- Just one-third (34%) featured any sort of community on their website.

- While blogs were present on 40% of sites, only 39% were updated on a regular basis.

- Just 19% of websites with blogs promoted the fact to site visitors.

- Only 15% of companies advertise their Twitter account directly on their homepage and just 19% draw attention to a Facebook Fan page.

- While over three-quarters (79%) of websites studied offered a telephone number as a contact method, just 5% offered a live chat option, forcing site visitors to change communication channels.

- 34% of websites allow a visitor to "share" content on a social network, but only 16% allow the visitor to "rate and tag" content.

- Only 44% of companies with a community actually initiate a conversation with visitors or users.

"As the web continues to grow in importance, delivering engaging online experiences will become increasingly key for businesses that are looking to engender brand loyalty and improve their business online," said Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe at EPiServer.

In exchange for your name and email address a download of the report, which features more insights and best practice suggestions, can be obtained online.

* Ranked by Hitwise as being the most visited in the U.K.

Tags: brand loyalty, community building, consumer engagement, consumer relationship, e-commerce, social media

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