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Digital Donations #12Days of Christmas App

Christmas is fast approaching and our elves have been busy in the workshop creating something extra special for this year’s holiday season. We have created an app to harness the power of social media that will enable 12 Irish charities to spread their messages further and faster this Christmas.

We are inviting you to help lead the movement for a really important campaign. Christmas is a time of joy and happiness, or so says all of the advertisements that started in October (yikes), but let’s not forget that Christmas can also be a hard time for so many and we want to give a helping hand. Will you join us?

We are starting a digital donations campaign urging the online community to give a helping hand this Christmas. We are asking Facebook and Twitter users to donate their online influence to help spread the important messages of various Irish charities over the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

Coming together as a community is more important the ever at this time of year and we want to encourage the gift of giving through a simple Facebook post or Tweet. We have created an app that posts a different charity’s message each day to your Facebook or Twitter feed for the 12 days running up to Christmas. By banding together through our social networks we can ensure that important messages from charities are heard and spread quickly throughout the online community, encouraging others to reach out and show a bit of Christmas spirit this holiday season.

So how can you help us? With your influence of course! We are encouraging you to sign up and join the cause. It’s the time of year for sharing and caring and we want to get as many people as possible to donate their online space through using the app and helping those in need the Christmas.

Charities we are supporting are all worthy of support and are the Irish Youth Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, UNICEF, Goal, Barnardos, Jack & Jill Foundation, WALK, ARC Cancer Support Centre, Gay Switchboard, Irish Kidney Association, PAWS & Console.

Please support the #12days Digital Donation Campaign here

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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Engaging Nonprofit Volunteers through Social Media

Volunteer Ireland are hosting the National Volunteer Management Conference today so naturally our interest spiked when they asked a member of our team to give a workshop on engaging volunteers through social media. We jumped at the chance, as here at connector360 we have a special place in our heart for nonprofit organizations and the great work they do.

Our whiz kid project manager Sarah was chosen for the task due to her background working with The Irish Cancer Society. She got the head down and immersed herself in research on how nonprofits use social channels successfully. What did she find? They are pretty darn good at it!

She packaged up her findings into a lovely presentation which you can find on Slideshare below:

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Some of the major insights she uncovered was the volunteers today are young, they’re generous and they are your online influencers. They share, share and keep on sharing the good work of the organizations they are involved with.
So, connector360 is sending a call out to all young people out there to get involved with a charity that is close to their heart. There’s no comparison to how rewarding the work is but more importantly you are helping others.

Meet connector360 at the Dublin Web Summit 2014

The two biggest days in the tech calendar are upon us, The Web Summit. It is now Europe’s largest tech conference held right here in Dublin. The event will see some of the smartest minds from the tech industry come to Ireland and share their knowledge of all things digital.[/blockquote]

Meet connector360 at the Web Summit on 30th – 31st October – just tweet @connector360! – Tweet Now –

Top 3 customer communities in action – SAP, Weightwatchers & beaut.ie

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Building and interacting with your customer community can be a challenge, but it can lead to massive pay-offs for your business. Regardless of your size, it’s possible to create a community that nurtures your client base and improves your business. Below are our top three examples of customer communities. Whether the business is large, medium or small, these communities provide real value to the business.

sapSAP Community Network (SCN)

The SCN has been around for nearly 10 years. It provides SAP users worldwide with a massive forum to offer advice, seek guidance and self-manage issues amongst themselves. SAP provides the framework and let their customers do the talking.  How successful is it? Have a look at these figures.

  • SCN contains over 2.5. million members
  • 3000 posts daily, 450 blogs monthly, over 230 countries have active users
  • 375 topics active for internal product managers to monitor with over 600 moderators!
  • Their IdeaPlace suggestion hub has seen over 9000 customer led product/service improvement ideas to date, with over 200 already implemented to their solutions (Forbes, 2012)

We consider SAP to be a best in class example of large scale community maintenance and management. Take a tour of their community at http://scn.sap.com/welcome  so you can get some inspiration.

Weight-WatchersWeightwatchers

The famous weight loss and dieting community. You’d think that they would naturally lend themselves to online communities, and you’d be right. Their US and UK sites have a massive, highly active communities.  The largest groups contain over 15,000 users where topics are opened by members, not the company. The site promotes their own branded food to a receptive audience, which happens to create a legion of brand evangelists along the way, not a bad result.

An interesting point to note is that the Irish site currently contains no community section.  We assume they think the Irish market’s size isn’t large enough to support a thriving community. Other Irish sites, such as rollercoaster.ie and mummypages.ie, however, both maintain large forums in part devoted to lifestyle issues such as dieting.

logo2Beaut.ie

This Irish site offers a friendly, accessible alternative to the more aloof magazine culture regarding beauty products.  Their posts are delivered in such a conversational tone that forums quickly became populated by thousands of fans. They use the forum to share tips and cement Beaut as the leading authority in the Irish market, far ahead of the traditional magazines.

We include this example to show you how disruptive even a small community can be to the market as a whole.

 

Communities take time to nurture, but they can be so rewarding for a company’s efforts to really connect to their client base for the long term.  If you’re playing for keeps, it’s worth the effort!

Communities gang up to love their brands

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As we showed you yesterday, clued in consumers have formed communities online. They tell each other about what they want from life, what they have, what they need and what their favourite goods and services are.  Seth Godin calls these communities “Tribes” and you can learn a lot by interacting with your tribes.

Idea-mining your customers

Working with customer communities involves more than just support and troubleshooting.  You can also use them to mine for potential ideas and innovations.  Large companies done this to great effect. Some examples are Dell’s Ideastorm initiative, My Starbucks Idea forum, and of course Microsoft’s ‘I’m a PC and I designed Windows 7’ campaign that lifted them from post-Vista blues.  They admitted that consumers hated their last product, that they needed to take advice from users more and made it their launch campaign to great effect!

Strategy formation

Listening to your communities can help you switch your marketing focus from ‘push’ to ‘ pull’. I.e. in future your brand won’t push itself onto potential customers, instead you’ll be there to help customers when they are ready, pulling them in.

Listen to the problems they have, what they expect from you and how they use your product. Look at your business from their perspective and see your brand as they see it. Take an ‘outside-in’ approach and update your strategy based on their needs, this will let you target your audience better, improving your reach.

Stories, dealing with the bad and the good

When dealing with a negative stories sprouting online, the main thing to remember is that the complaining customer will have the sympathy of the community.  Whether it occurs on ‘neutral’ ground or your own social media pages, David V Goliath thinking often prevails. Communities need to be convinced that you are there to help them.

The customer usually holds the sway of public opinion (especially in a complaint situation), so tread softly, be polite, offer to take them ‘offline’ into a private email, phone or face to face conversation and resolve things there.

If they are talking about a good experience, then jump right into the conversation and thank them for their feedback. This will enhance their warm and fuzzy feeling, making them feel that they made the right decision.

Doing it right, an example

A great example of this type of community interaction happens daily on tripadvisor.com.  As the hotel and hospitality industry are so beholden to public opinion, hotels will often respond to comments. They’ll give an explanation for bad feedback or thank good reviewers for their kind words. Either way, this kind of interaction shows they care, painting a positive image of their brand.

Check back tomorrow for some success stories on making community outreach a priority…

Business blogging masterclass

Finding Customer Communities Online

Anywhere that people gather online creates a community, whether its a handful of enthusiasts swapping tips on fly-fishing equipment, to giant consumer and business forums sharing ideas and experiences. Recent Neilsen reports state that over 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations for purchase decisions, whereas just 53% of people trust content written by your company about your own product or service.

What has changed of course is where this discourse takes place. Facebook is the new watercooler, Twitter is the chat over the garden fence, message boards, forums, even blog comments are the gathering place where every manner of product, service, business and brand are discussed.

The good news however, is that these conversations aren’t taking place in a hidden consumer clubhouse that your business will never learn the secret knock to enter. You can find these customer communities and listen to their discussions to enhance your own product offering.

Open Sesame… Finding the Door

Online communities are there to connect data and people, so naturally people will congregate where this data exists in easy to find pockets. This can of course mean that the usual social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums etc are hotbeds of these types of conversations, but digging a little deeper and you can find all kinds of specialist communities such as

  • Industry centric communities like pissedconsumer.com, Tripadvisor, or tech repair forums. They can contain highly motivated, very active and extremely knowledgeable members, their thumbs up (or down) may stick!
  • Consumer advocacy groups such as Which? Local
  • Online investor forums, for example onlinetradersforum.com. These communities are info-loaded and highly attuned to the strengths and weaknesses of companies. Being negatively mentioned here could be a real alarm bell.

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Forewarned is Forearmed

It is now increasingly important for a company to know every nook of the web where chatter about your business may be taking place. These online tribes of like minded and information hungry customers can make or break your brand. In certain markets, even a smaller number of savvy customers can possess the knowledge levels and opinion leader status to deliver a word of mouth blessing, or kiss of death.

So get listening, get monitoring and get searching for these communities that will be discussing your brand. As Oscar Wilde aptly put it “the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about”.