How to captivate and engage your online community: is social media past it?

TRP: Livefyre streams content to audiences in real-time; why is that important and can you talk us through the technology behind this?

JK: Facebook posts get over half their reach within the first 30 minutes, and on Twitter this figure is even greater. Think of the biggest brand successes this year, and most will be those that are instantly shareable. Stats alone should tell you why real-time is so important – the truth is that people want to feel like they are a part of what's happening right now, rather than being served news that's even an hour, let alone a day old.

This isn't something that's news, it's just that with online media updating so rapidly now we have come to expect that it's possible. This is of course true of publishers and their readers, but for brands also this is now a major opportunity. They can prove how quickly feedback is responded to through new product launches. Or share a positive customer review on their site that proves how recently someone enjoyed their product. In order to have the 'talkability' factor, brands must create a real-time experience.

TRP: The industry is moving at such a fast pace, what do you think will be the next big trend in content engagement and how is Livefyre planning to respond to these changes?

JK: There are a couple of major trends bubbling. The first is that recommendations are becoming a much more important factor in online commerce, as consumers have almost unlimited choice. Rather than trawling the web or defaulting to search engines, people will ask their friends much more often for advice. Socially shared content will therefore hold more weight in the minds of consumers.

The second trend is that the content strategy being adopted by publishers and brands will really start to give back. Not only in engagement levels, but also in data points as we separate out what works for individuals as well as whole communities. The data you will get from your site will be much more rich and plentiful so that you can then drill down into it for much more personalised interactions and experiences.

At Livefyre we're continually looking at the data to see how people are using the web so that we can create products that people really want to use, and add to a positive on-site experience of sharing and reward.

TRP: Livefyre is based in San Francisco, but also has offices around the world. What markets are the most important to you, and do you see this changing in the future?

JK: We've opened many offices over the last few years, and are expanding rapidly. I see opportunity everywhere, for example we opened an office in London because of its thriving tech, publishing and advertising scenes. There are many fast developing areas of the world such as Brazil and South-East Asia where traditional publishing models are opening up through mobile, and ecommerce is starting to boom.

The platform itself is extremely well suited to brands with a global presence. And the bigger we get, the more efficient it is for us to deliver a pageview, so our customers join us in our success.

I firmly believe that ambition is the most important asset in business. As we grow we continually reset our goals so we have a new bar to reach in impacting the online experiences of people around the world.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.