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Interactivity Means Business

If there is one word that best describes the evolution of the web from the user’s perspective during the past decade, that word is “interactivity.” People using the web no longer passively accept information published by others. Everyone can be a publisher now. Countless people have eagerly embraced the opportunity to have a voice on the web, to the point where whole industries have been transformed.

Take the travel industry. When you set out to select a vacation hotel in a new destination, how do you determine the quality of the experience you can expect? A common method is to search through blogs and social-media sites for comments from travelers who have stayed in that location. That competitiveness factor didn’t exist a decade ago but is a game-changer today.

When web users – including site selectors — are presented with information, particularly in an advocacy context, they expect to be able to respond in some way. They want to pass the information around, comment on it, test it, see where it might lead.

How can you take advantage of the modern web’s interactive capabilities to add value to your investment-attraction website for visitors and for your community?

Encouraging visitors to answer questions or express opinions is an effective way to establish communication and engagement. Invite them to comment on articles or events, or respond to surveys on business issues and view the survey results right away. You may be surprised when you attract participation from potential investors in places you would not otherwise reach. You will also be able to demonstrate the involvement of people in your community, its business activities and enhance your search-engine rankings in the process.

A great example about how much people love to participate in their community through the web, is available at http://www.uwishunu.com/. This site is part of the City of Philadelphia’s long-term strategy to entice more people to live, visit or start a business there.

Written by a diverse group of Philadelphians, uwishunu (pronounced “you wish you knew”) was created by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation to give people around the world an insider’s look at the Philadelphia scene. Contributors are obviously passionate about their City; the site contains scores of blogs as well as uncountable numbers of photos and videos and reviews of everything that’s happening. The information can readily be distributed all over the social-media world. Certainly is an inviting interactive site for the creative class!

The lesson to be learned from observing these developments is that the web has become more than a communications vehicle – it is a vehicle for sharing, for support in decision-making, for generating engagement and building relationships. For all these reasons your investment-attraction site should promote interactivity as much as possible. Interactivity means business!

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