Terena Chetty, Author at Social Media 101
Social Media Employee Amplification – A Concise Guide [With Stats]

Social Media Employee Amplification – A Concise Guide [With Stats]

Social Media Employee Amplification is one of the three main categories of social media advocacy marketing. The other two categories are influencer marketing and customer endorsement. Influencer marketing relates to promotion by traditional brand ambassadors like celebrities or affluent personalities. More recently, social media accounts with a large follower base have been added as influential entities. Customer endorsement refers to positive public commentary by clients and is considered word-of-mouth marketing.

This article focuses on the third and most intriguing form of advocacy, namely employee amplification. We will explain what this concept means, what the benefits to using it are, and highlight key considerations for implementation.

 

What is Social Media Employee Amplification?

In short, this approach centres on harnessing the power of your staff as brand ambassadors for your organisation. The process itself involves tapping into the value offered by employees through social media activities. This is done by encouraging staff members to publish or share brand messaging on their personal social media pages. The concept of employee amplification certainly adds a whole new dimension to the term “human resources”…..

“76% of survey participants said they were more likely to trust content shared

by their network (people they know) versus content shared by brands.” (Adweek)

 

 

Who should use employee amplification?

Theoretically, any brand could use this technique, regardless of organisation size or business industry. But success of employee amplification hinges on how your staff feel about the brand. Are they passionate about it? Are they proud to be associated with it? Do they believe in the service or product offering? The more loyal an employee is, the more authentic their endorsement will be. No staff member should be forced to publicly support their employer via their personal platforms if they are not keen to do so. Unhappy or unwilling individuals are likely to cause more harm than good.

“79% of firms surveyed reported more online visibility after

implementing a formal employee advocacy program.

65% reported increased brand recognition.” (Hinge Marketing)

 

Benefits of Employee Amplification

Reach & Exposure: Earlier is year, Facebook made a change to its algorithm that had a major impact for business pages on the platform (click here to read more). The change meant that users see more posts from their friends rather than business pages, drastically reducing organic reach by brands. Employee amplification means that you can counter-act this change as content shared by staff will not have the same restrictions as posts shared by your business page.

Using business networking platform LinkedIn as part of an Employee Amplification strategy is also a great way to gain exposure via employees’ professional networks. The platform has a viral quality to their algorithms in that every post that a user likes, comments or shares is directed to their contacts timeline. Content shared by users has a generally much wider reaching when compared to a business’s own page.

Organic reach: As mentioned above, posts shared by employees will have organic (free) reach. Such exposure would result in better social media figures that are unlikely to be achieved via any other unpaid method. It is therefore a financially beneficial technique.

Credibility & Engagement: Content shared by a staff member is largely seen by people that know the person thus adding a level of credibility to the message. Posts by network contacts will also have a higher engagement percentage (views, likes, shares, comments) than those sent directly from the brand’s account.

Business & Marketing: Other tangible benefits include increased sales, improved brand awareness and affinity, and a higher level of consumer trust in the brand. Not only do these elements positively impact bottom line objectives, but also support other company activities like recruitment due to favourable positioning.

Company branded messages reach 561% further when

shared by employees versus branded.” (www.postbeyond.com)

 

 

Ways to promote staff support & activity success

Position relevant/key employees as thought leaders and trusted advisors. This not only impacts the brand positively, but also helps elevate employees’ personal brands. For certain companies, this could also lead to more business. For example, a high-level or high-involvement sale often relies heavily on the relationship between sales consultant and potential client. As most people research new acquaintances online, the more impressive; credible and trusted the brand’s employees look, the higher the possibility of closing the deal.

Include value-rich content for users: Centre messaging should on interesting or useful content such as articles or tips. If you need to send out direct marketing posts, incorporate some sort of value for the recipient, such as a great offer or valuable resource.

Craft posts in a way that makes staff want to share it with their audience. Again, valuable and interesting content is key. This includes posts shared directly from the brand’s page, as well as employee-generated content. Visually appealing, good quality content is imperative to encourage staff advocacy.

Make the process as simple as possible. This means providing them with suitable high-quality, correctly sized images. Written content for posts can be provided as well should certain employees prefer a less time-consuming option.

“33% of employees agreed that relevant content would

encourage them to share.” (postbeyond.com)

 

 

Employee Amplification Strategy & Risk Mitigation Tips

Start by getting staff trained on social media fundamentals. Training will provide them with a basic knowledge of social media etiquette (such as do’s and don’ts), as well as best practices per platform. This upskills and empowers staff. It also ensures a level of quality when it comes to social media activities. These skills will benefit them in both in their personal and professional capacities.

Have a social media policy in place to mitigate potential risk. This is an imperative requirement that needs to be in place before employee amplification activities start. It provides staff with rules to abide by and sets out company recourse if they fail to do so (including possible legal action). It is best to consult a legal expert knowledgeable on the social media legal landscape for advice.

Implement an internal social media procedure. Structure a plan that includes an approval process so that all content is screened prior to publishing. Each participating employee’s personal accounts should also be screened before they share any company posts. This will prevent the brand from unintentionally associating themselves with undesirable viewpoints that the employee may have on their page (such as prejudicial or controversial content).

Offer employee incentives. While you may be fortunate enough to have staff that are happy to share brand messaging out of sheer loyalty, use incentives as effective motivators. Whether you measure trackable data (e.g. clicks to website) or engagement statistics (such as comments, shares and likes), the choice is yours. You can also have specific rewards for a certain outcome, such as lead generation or recruitment referrals. You are likely to find quite quickly that the value gained from leveraging off staff resources far outweigh the incentive expense.

“31% of high-growth firms have a formalized employee

advocacy program.” (Hinge Marketing)

 

Social Media Employee Amplification is an under-utilized method that could open up vast opportunities for your organisation. However, it is a technique that requires planning, research and infrastructure before implementation. Statistics clearly reflect that the effort and resources required are a viable investment with attractive returns. In this context, being a statistic is a good thing – so get started now!



Need assistance with employee amplification? We can help with:
  • Social media training workshops (employee amplification, personal branding, social media etiquette, how to understand and analyse data)
  • Structuring customised social media policy and procedure documents
  • Screening employee social media platforms
  • Complete content and platform management
  • Influencer marketing

      …..and much more.

 

CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101

 

Social Media: The Marketing Solution for Niche & B2B Brands

Social Media: The Marketing Solution for Niche & B2B Brands

 

The economic climate is tough to navigate in general, but when it comes to businesses with a niche market base, there are even more challenges to face.

One major issue is marketing. Most traditional methods are based on advertising to mass audiences, which does not suit brands that service a niche client base only. Such specialist companies have largely come to accept that these kinds of difficulties come with the territory….….

….… but what if there was a solution that could be fully customised to suit each organisation’s unique requirements and objectives? One that is both cost-effective and result-driven?

If this sounds good to you, keep reading – it gets even better…

 

 

Challenges Faced by Niche Brands

Organisations that service a very small consumer market are known as “niche” brands. Their small market size could be as a result of a limited consumer demand for their business offering, for instance. A company that offers a highly specialised product or service is an example of such a niche brand. Most business-to-business (B2B) based organisations, as well, fall into this category.

While marketing is important for all businesses, the small consumer bases that these companies service makes it even more crucial to connect to right audiences. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, most advertising methods focus on mass communication to a generalised audience. As only a small percentage of message recipients are relevant to a niche company, the result is excessive wastage of investment and low returns.

Other more targeted options are print ads in industry-specific publications or exhibition stands at trade shows. However, these techniques are expensive and yield poor results. Not to mention they grow increasingly outdated as market trends progress.

 

The bottom line is that traditional marketing methods have never been effective when it comes to niche audiences. But as market minorities, specialist brands have not had much choice but to use the options available, as unsuitable as they were. Until now……  (I told you this was going to be good)

 

 

Social Media as a Marketing Solution for Niche Brands

At this point, you may be thinking, “why the big build-up – everyone knows about social media”. BUT, do you, as a niche brand, fully understand what this type of media offers you?

Let us explain why we are so excited about the capabilities of social media when it comes to niche brands. Arguable, niche brands have the most to gain by transitioning from solely traditional media to social media marketing. This is because such brands experience the most wastage when using mass promotional methods (versus more mainstream brands). The highly customisable nature of social media allows you to substantially reduce wastage, and therefore increase return on investment. But it’s not just a financially beneficial option – it opens up a wealth of information, insight and audience tools that promote overall business growth.

 

 

Key social media benefits for Niche Brands

Below, we have listed a few of the core characteristics of social media that make it the ideal solution for niche and B2B brands. We also provide practical examples of how each of these factors can be used for tangible business benefit:

 

Fully customisable and agile:

Social media offers highly customisable options – meaning that niche companies are able to tailor functions to suit their needs. This relates to a range of factors, including: targeting different audience segments, options regarding spend per message, control over campaign duration and growing a client base.

 

Detailed targeting:

Targeting on social media supports detailed, multi-level criteria that can be used to streamline audiences. For example, you can specify geographic regions, then restrict to an age group within these areas and further target based on specific interest (such as a sport or activity). The result is a high quality, custom target group.

 

Different audiences:

If you have different audiences within your market, you are able to customised messaging to suit each group. Let’s say your business sells to both end-user customers as well as other businesses. You can advertise a product to B2B clients with technical info and specs, and then promote the same product to consumers with details of where they can purchase.

 

Client connect:

With a niche market, customer engagement is even more important. These client bases are minority groups sharing something in common, and therefore they relate to each other more in comparison to mass market bases. Common ground could be due to shared interests, knowledge, experience or business activity. Social media allows you to connect with relevant people and tap into their expertise and experience to improve your business. It also gives fans a way to connect to people they relate to, providing an enhanced customer experience.

 

Billed for actual exposure:

Paid advertising on platforms like Facebook is based on actual message exposure (as opposed to traditional media platforms that cannot provide data in terms of views). This means you only pay for content that appears on a user’s news feed. In addition to the financial benefits, this provides a realistic indication of your online market size based on audience response.

 

High-involvement: expensive or technical

Some sales are considered high-involvement purchases. This could be due to their pricing or complicated application. Social media campaigns provide a way to market these. For instance, educating the audience on functions and benefits first, and thereafter driving sales. Again, this is a great approach for B2B or technical products. Social media platforms are also a viable and practical way to generate leads for your technical sales team.

 

Social media is an inexpensive, effective method that provides high returns and measurable results. In a niche market, a well planned and executed platform could give you a competitive edge based on customer loyalty, as well as allow you to tap into new markets. It is definitely a winning option for B2B and niche-based brands.

 

 

For more information on how to make social media work for your niche business,

CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101

 

How Agile Is Your Marketing Strategy?

How Agile Is Your Marketing Strategy?

 

How agile is your marketing strategy?
Hmmm, putting you on the spot with this one, are we?

 

If this is a question you have never asked yourself before, you are not alone. The term “agility” is not generally at the top of the agenda when marketing teams sit down to meet. But we are here to explain why your marketing plan should, in fact, be agile. We will also provide you with information on how to incorporate agility into your existing brand strategy, as well as highlight key benefits of doing so.

 

 

 

Why do marketing strategies need to be agile?

 

When we talk about agility, we are referring to the adaptability and responsiveness of your marketing activities, content and execution infrastructure. Historically, agility was not a significant factor as marketing was predominantly done using traditional media and methods. This typically entailed one-way communication sent from brand to audience, and content was generally passively consumed.

 

However, in the current business landscape, being agile is of paramount importance. Consumer use of digital methods – social media in particular –  is ever increasing. This means that customer commentary (both positive and negative) is mass and even globally communicated in an instant.

 

 

But what does this have to do with your brand?

Well, if you do not have the ability to react or respond at the same speed and with the same level of reach as the general public, you are at a serious disadvantage. Whether in reply to customer demands, taking advantage of a market opportunity, or damage control in terms of negative publicity, agility is required. In fact, in serious cases, being agile could even mean averting potential legal action.

 

 

Ok so now that we have emphasised the importance of agility, how do you get your marketing activities to meet these criteria?

The key is to use the very same platform that consumers do – namely social media. And doing so does not mean you have to throw out your current marketing plan. While social media can be used as your sole marketing medium, you can also incorporate it into your existing strategy as part of an integrated solution.

 

 

 

Social Media as an Agile Solution

 

While plans and objectives differ from business to business, certain key aspects should underpin all agile strategies. Including these factors not only improves marketing activities, but positively impacts the brand as a whole.

Below is a list of a few core features that are characteristic of an agile approach. We explain the importance of each element and demonstrate how social media is ideally suited to support it:

 

 

 

Adaptability

A fundamental factor of agility is the ability to adapt. The need to adapt could arise due to changing organisational, consumer or industry requirements. Such changes may range from relatively small adjustments (like correcting a minor error), to major amendments – such as alternate messaging due to a serious matter (e.g. due to public concern or negative feedback).

Social media marketing, by nature, is highly adaptable. Strategies, while planned and structured, are not set in stone. Instead, messaging is flexible and can be adapted to suit changing needs as they arise. As content is digital-based, changes can be done at little or no cost. This is in contrast with traditional alternatives such as printed promotional material, which incur high costs and wastage if content needs to be adjusted.

The level of control offered by social media is not just limited to content, targeting can also be adjusted. For example, when it comes to Facebook, you are able to change the audience target criteria while a campaign is ongoing. This allows you to speak to different demographics and monitor the results.

 

 

Responsiveness

Brands need to be responsive to consumers at all times. Although general queries form part of customer service, marketing activities also need to be client-centric. This means developing content in response to preferences and needs as communicated by clients.

The interactive nature of social media supports this function excellently. Client engagement behaviour such as comments, shares and likes indicate how the audience receives each post. By using this insight, the marketing team is able to post more of what the audience wants, thus increasing customer satisfaction. Also, poor engagement rates or negative feedback on certain posts indicate that such content should not be repeated, or there needs to be an alternate approach by marketers.

In the unfortunate and undesirable situation of public backlash or outcry as a result of brand communication, the brand needs to respond quickly and in a manner that diffuses the situation (as opposed to leading to further criticism). It is important to craft the correct response before publishing it – if needed, legal or public relations experts should be consulted.

 

 

Rapid Turn-Around Time

Responsiveness and adaptability are only efficient if done with relatively speed. In order to be agile, marketing activities need to have a quick turn-around time.

In comparison to other marketing methods, social media has one of the fastest turn-around times. You can eliminate certain components such as third-party printing companies, or publisher/broadcaster timelines. Posting a message, removing a post or amending an existing one can be done quite quickly when the need arises. As mentioned above, in the case of a sensitive issue or public matter, do not compromise quality for speed of response – always ensure that the best possible response is delivered.

A rapid turn-around time is also especially valuable when it comes to maximising market opportunities. For example, let’s say an area is hit by a sudden hailstorm. A vehicle bodyshop/panelbeater could send out a post that targets people from that area – possibly offering a booking special. This is an example of using agility to make the most of an opportunity through social media.

 

 

Data-driven decision-making

Agile marketing techniques prioritise factual data as opposed to estimations and assumptions. Most traditional marketing options do not provide accurate statistical information, nor do they support cost-effective market testing.

Social media platforms, on the other hand, offer a wealth of accurate data metrics. This includes not only information on market and consumer behaviour, but also the results of each marketing activity. You are able to run A/B testing via the platform in order to improve future results. Effective use of measurement and reporting tools means that you are able to constantly improve the success rates of marketing activities. Thus not only do you get a higher return on marketing investment, but you also use your marketing budget efficiently.

 

 


 

Goals of agile marketing strategies include a high level of responsiveness in terms of both rate and speed, being adaptable to changing internal or external needs, having a rapid turn-around time and achieving higher success rates when it comes to marketing activities. The technique of crafting content based on audience response is likely to improve customer sentiment, promote brand loyalty and even lead to word-of-mouth marketing.

 

Social media platforms have the capability to support all these requirements and much, much more. Be proactive and incorporate agility into your brand’s marketing plan – preparation and planning are key to successfully navigating through what may lie in the future.

 

 

 

For more on developing an agile marketing strategy, CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101.

We will help you prepare for market and industry hurdles. 

 

Disruptive Marketing is Dead

Disruptive Marketing is Dead

What is Disruptive Marketing?

 

Disruptive marketing refers to communication that is considered intrusive by the recipient.

These are generally outbound mass marketing messages, usually with a hard-sell approach. Traditional forms of interruptive promotional activities include unsolicited sales calls, print marketing and even billboards. Online pop-up ads, push-messages and spammy emails are digital methods that cause disruption.

 

Intrusive and Interruptive

Marketing Does Not Work

 

Why?

Well, for starters, it’s annoying. No one wants to be interrupted by an unwanted and/or irrelevant message. Think about the fact that movies on paid television channels are ad-free, or that web browsers have ad-blocker settings. Some businesses, however, still disregard this trend and continue to use push-marketing tactics. These type of “force-feeding” practices are not well received by consumers who feel that the brand does not respect their time or preferences as an individual.

 

Customer needs and desires have also changed over the years. More so with the emergence of increasingly demanding consumer segments (such as Millennials), as well as the growing use of digital platforms by clients. These evolved audiences have little tolerance for self-absorbed interruptive brand messaging. An irrelevant or unwanted advertisement will be ignored and the marketer regarded with disdain. And once this negative view is established, it is very difficult to connect with such a client in the future as they become unresponsive to any further communication sent by the brand.

 

In addition to customer behaviour, mass marketing is not good for business. Media ad space is expensive, yet does not provide factual data in terms of returns. Untargeted messaging is not an effective use of resources due to excessive wastage. And with ad-blocking device and app functions on the rise, an increasing percentage of “push” communication messages will not even be seen by the intended recipients.

 

Alternative Solution to Disruptive Marketing

 

The essence of successful marketing lies in ensuring customer expectations are met. Social media is an ideal way to communicate with consumers in a non-intrusive and client-based manner. It allows you to connect to your audience, as opposed to just pushing promotional material onto them.

 

Social media is considered a permission-based form of marketing as clients can choose to opt in for more communication by liking or following a page. Engaging and interesting content that is targeted to a relevant audience leads to them choosing to continue receiving messaging from the brand. Quality page posts that add value (for example: articles, tips and guides) pulls consumers in promotes positive customer sentiment. Once users see that the business is client-focused and useful, they are significantly more open to brand marketing messages related to products or services.

 

Users are also able to discover a brand’s page through search engines. This generates inbound audiences that have an existing interest in the business’s offering. The interactive nature and two-way communication channels offered by social media further assist in allowing inbound communication from client to business. Also, the business’s page contains a history of brand activities including value-adds and information. This is a form of storytelling that lets new or inbound audiences see the “bigger picture” and get a sense of overall brand identity. And I’m sure you will agree that it is highly more effective than a traditional broadcast ad or print ad viewed in isolation.

 

From a business perspective, social media returns far outweigh other forms of mass marketing. As audiences can be targeted for maximum relevance, investment is efficiently used. Targeting is especially significant for brands with a niche market or a business-to-business model as it provides a viable way to reach specific clients without having high wastage typical of traditional methods. Reports provide measurable data so that you know what you are paying for.

 

Quite frankly, in the current market climate driven by client needs, there is no room for business-centric hard-sell approaches characteristic of disruptive promotional messages. Communication has to be focused on meeting customer demands in order for brand marketing to succeed. Social media supports the entire client journey, creating a platform to attract and retain customers.  It also delivers positive results through effective, objective-based planning of activities. Invest in your social media presence and compare the results – we are confident that you will be pleased at the outcome.

 

We would love to chat you to about your business requirements over a cup of coffee.

CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101 – we look forward to meeting you.

 

Cambridge Analytica Scandal: What is Facebook doing to safeguard user data?

Cambridge Analytica Scandal: What is Facebook doing to safeguard user data?

In an explosive revelation this week, data firm Cambridge Analytica has been accused of using personal information collected from 50 million Facebook users without their consent. It is alleged that the London-based company used the data to sway public sentiment in support of their political and social agendas.  

Two of the most significant of these events are the election of US President Donald Trump and the Brexit vote regarding Britain exiting the European Union.

 

Kogan Scandal:

Unauthorised data acquisition & sharing 

 

How was the user data originally acquired?

In 2013, a Cambridge psychology researcher called Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app for Facebook. Users who signed up were paid to participate by taking the online psychological test.

However, the app not only gathered information from the 270 000 users that installed it, but also accessed and acquired the data of the participants’ Facebook friends without user knowledge or consent.

 

How did Cambridge Analytica get the data?

Kogan allegedly supplied the collective information to Cambridge Analytica, in violation of Facebook policies. In addition to the unauthorised gathering and misuse of data being unethical, such acts are illegal in many countries.

 

What was Facebook’s reaction to the unauthorised use of data?

Once Facebook was made aware of the unauthorised acquisition, transference and use of the data, they took action against the offending parties. Kogan’s app was immediately banned from the platform. He was ordered to delete all records of the data – including those sent to third-party entities such as Cambridge Analytica – and furnish proof of the data destruction. Facebook received formal certifications from both Kogan and Cambridge Analytica confirming that all collected information was destroyed. They also changed the platform to limit further unauthorised access to data.

 


 

Cambridge Analytica Scandal:

Unethical misuse of data

 

What was Facebook’s response to the revelation of data misuse by Cambridge Analytica?

 

Facebook has come under sever fire for the unauthorised use of the user data obtained via their platform. Their initial response was defensive, with one senior executive stating that “no systems were infiltrated, no passwords stolen or hacked”. Facebook claimed that the improper use of data did not constitute a “breach” on their part.  They asserted that they were deceived by both Kogan and Cambridge Analytica (recent events indicating that despite the certifications given to Facebook by these parties, the data had not been deleted).

 

However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg later admitted that not investigating further in 2015 was a mistake, one that he deeply regrets. Holding himself accountable to the platform users, he said:

“I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”

Full statement by Mark Zuckerberg:

I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we've already taken and our next…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

 

What steps are being taken by Facebook to ensure the security of user data?

 

Facebook has outlined a multi-faceted approach to user data security that includes: limiting data access, auditing and managing developer activity, protecting data misuse by third-parties and promoting increased user management of apps.

Some of the initial adjustments by Facebook are listed below, with the social media giant expected to reveal addition changes over the next few weeks.Current measures being taken by the Facebook team include:

 

Auditing and review:

  • Review of apps that had access to data prior to the 2014 platform change (which restricted access to data)
  • Conducting of thorough audits of all apps and services that have access to user data
  • Banning of any party displaying irregular or questionable activity
  • Banning of any developer that does not agree to an audit
  • Should apps be banned due to misuse of data or policy non-compliance, all users of that app will be notified accordingly
  • Encouraging users to report inappropriate or prohibited use of data by developers by rewarding people who identify such behaviour

 

Restricted access to data:

  • The scope of access to data in general by developers will be restricted to protect users.
  • Login data will be limited to name, profile photo and email address
  • App sign in information will be limited to name, profile photo and email address
  • Developers will have to get a signed contract from users in order to access their posts or private data
  • Any additional information required by developers will be subject to Facebook and/or user approval

 

Increased user protection and control:

  • Apps that have not been used for 3 months will be deactivated from account
  • Users will be notified about any suspicious activity observed relating to apps they use
  • The existing app permission tool will be moved from the privacy setting to the News Feed area for ease of access and use
  • Users will be shown how to check which apps have access to their data, as well as view the permissions settings of each app
  • Users will be shown how to manage apps, including setting such as permission changes and revoking of access
  • App management services will be improved for enhanced user experience

 


As the saga continues to unfold…

 

Investigations by various entities including the US Congress and the European Parliament are underway. Cambridge Analytica deny all allegations of wrong-doing, saying they are willing to undergo a forensic audit. Nonetheless, CEO Alexander Nix has been suspended pending the outcomes of the probes. And the man at the heart of the scandal, Aleksandr Kogan, says Facebook is to blame.

Despite Zuckerberg vowing to take corrective action aimed at preventing such data loss in the future, he did not escape unscathed. The Facebook founder may have to provide the US Congress with testimony relating to the security of user data on the platform.

 

Regardless of what the ultimate findings of the investigations will be, the sheer magnitude of this scandal is expected to impact policies governing user data security on a global level. And due to the uncertainty of the current situation, the resulting effect on businesses is, at present, a matter of speculation.

 

How secure are your online assets?

Social Media 101 can help you find out – CLICK HERE to contact us

 

 

 

 

 

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