Donna Fontenot


Engaging Readers In A Way You Didn’t Know Was Possible

Engaging Readers In A Way You Didn’t Know Was Possible

The online or social media marketing mantra almost always includes the word “engage”. Engage your readers! Engage your followers! Engagement is a simple concept but one that is much more difficult to pull off than it sounds. Readers and followers are constantly distracted by the next story in the feed, the next tweet in the stream, or the next image or video that catches their eyes. This leaves us wondering just how we can stand out in the crowded web stream. We are constantly looking for that “hook” that will draw others to our post. Some focus on crafting the perfect title, and that’s certainly a great beginning. But in a sea of creative titles, even your imaginatively wonderful title can be lost in the waves.

The next tactic most people focus on is the use of rich media, including catchy images and interesting videos. Even these, however, are fighting against the ever-increasing tide of photos, animated gifs, memes, and videos that assault us from every social network and blog post we visit.

How, then, can we make users notice us? The key is in finding NEW WAYS to engage readers. Of course, at some point, if a new methodology catches on, it too will get lost in the swirl as everyone else uses it. Today, I’m going to show you a very cool way to engage readers that is still fresh and new. Make use of it while you can and you’ll be engaging readers in ways that you never imagined was possible.

Create Interactive Images To Fully Engage Readers

Images are great, right? So are videos and other rich media, but what if you can take images to a completely new level, enabling users to interact with your images in various ways? That’s an enticing concept to think about, but once you see it in action, you’ll really GET IT! Ok, enough lead-up, right? Check out the image below (hover over it at any time as well) to see just a few ways you can create interactive images. Now here’s the kicker. You can create these images EASILY and FOR FREE. Oh yeah!

Egret flying over Louisiana bayou

Louisiana bayou

Now, you may not want to use quite so many interactive elements on your images as I have on this one, but I wanted to show a wide selection of things that can engage your audience. As you can see, a simple image has been turned into one that allows users to get more information, purchase a product, watch a video, listen to a song on Spotify, see other images, and connect with you on your various social networks. There are many other elements that can be added as well including:

  • Link and sell products from Amazon, Best Buy and eBay
  • Promote your event with Eventbrite
  • Display Etsy products
  • Set up an email campaign with Mailchimp
  • OpenGraph tags (Wikipedia, Amazon, Etsy, iTunes, Twitter, Facebook)
  • Link to practically anything

Spill The Beans, Already! How Are These Amazing Interactive Images Created?

Ok, now that I’ve really got your interest piqued, here’s the trick to creating these images for yourself. The key is to sign up for a service called ThingLink. I chose the free Business account, and it should be more than sufficient for many business needs. In case you aren’t completely clear on what ThingLink is, this is how the service describes itself.

ThingLink helps you create and discover rich images.

Be creative! Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more!

Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories.

Your images can be easily shared or embedded, making it even easier to get your images to go viral. Share the image on all of your own social networks to encourage your friends and audience to share it as well.

Does It Take An Engineering Degree To Create These Interactive Images?

If you can copy and paste a URL from your browser’s address bar, and you can click on your image, you have all the skills you need to make these eye-catching images. It took me about 3 minutes to create the one above, and most of that time involved opening up the various sites I wanted to link to.

Can These Interactive Images Be Published On Facebook?

Yes! Simply paste the ThingLink URL to your timeline and your engagement stats will very likely skyrocket!

One Other Thing

Have you been wondering how to increase conversions on your Calls To Action? Include your CTA in an interactive image and see what happens. :)

Wait, There’s More!

Custom Retail Solutions — And because top brands know that one size does not fit all, ThingLink offers brands an enterprise level account that lets you customize shoppable images with unique shopping apps and branded tag icons. Build and upload your own shopping apps with product previews, prices, preference, and shopping carts — and drive higher conversion. Use ThingLink to make your images uniquely yours with branded icons that speak directly to your customers.

I hope I’ve managed to get you excited about using a new way to really stand out from the crowd and engage your audience in ways you’ve never imagined. Start engaging your audience now!

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