31 March

Happy Mother’s day to all mums from connector360!

Our Mums are wonderful and next Sunday will be a special occasion to show them our affection – we hope all our readers have been making their plans to look after their mothers this Sunday!

If not, you still have a few days to buy a gift and even win tickets for a Garth Brooks concert for herby participating to a fantastic competition we helped organised for our new partner EuroGiant!

Click here to enter the competition

Think about your mum, tell us how lovely she is and get people to vote for her!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Read More

29 March

3d printing – a creative dreamland or a counterfeiting nightmare?

The 2010s have seen the spread of a revolutionary concept: 3D printing. However the idea itself is not so new, as the invention of 3D printing dates back to the 1980s, but has only become available to the general public over the last few years ago.

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is based on a really simple idea. Once you are in possession of 3D blueprints of an object, you can use a 3D printer in order to build said object. You can even design an object’s blueprints yourself with the help of CAD software. The printer will then break up the digital file into layers of data, which will be printed on top of one another until the final object is formed.

The field of applications is endless. 3D printers can use a wide range of materials, and 3D printer owners and designers are continuously finding more creative and useful ways to exploit the true potential of this tool.

A few months ago Mark Ebeling, founder of Californian non-profit organization Not Impossible Labs, came up with a life-changing idea after hearing about the story of a Sudanese boy who had lost his arms in a bombing. Ebeling was so moved by the story – which is sadly only one among so many others – that he decided to bring 3D printing equipment to Sudan and print inexpensive prosthetic limbs for people who were left handicapped by the war, starting with the boy. Even though the limbs were cheap and only restored a small amount of motor functions for the patients, it changed the lives of those deeply wounded by the war and finally gave them a chance to lead a more normal life.

However, while 3D printing brings a lot of wonderful ideas to life, it also comes with a few drawbacks. 3D models are easily accessible via the Internet and an increase in counterfeit goods could quickly become a big problem. Potentially nothing could prevent someone from setting up a large-scale counterfeit production unit equipped with 3D printers, and the proliferation of such goods could lead to a dramatic fall in the market success of the genuine original items. Even with the best intentions in mind, the use of such tools may negatively impact the lives of those in the manufacturing industry and create financial difficulties for the industry as a whole.

3D printing has its advantages and drawbacks, but that can be said about almost anything. One of the most interesting emerging ideas within this sector is bioprinting. What if we were able to print replacement organs for those who urgently needed them? That’s what some companies are starting to think about, and if successful, could lead to a bigger revolution than 3D printing itself.

What do you think about 3D printing? Please let us know by commenting or getting in touch with us.

Read More

08 November

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:

[hana-code-insert name='Engaging Nonprofit Volunteers Through Social Media' /]

;

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.

Read More

15 May

Become a Monitoring Master and Generate Leads

Listen to your competitors customers, you might learn something! Getting honest and unsullied opinions from consumers regarding your competitors has never been easier.  In fact, you don’t even need to ask them!  Traditionally, surveys and focus groups have always been useful sources of measurement on customer sentiment. Neither, however, offer the currency and (arguably) the honesty of some discreet social media monitoring.

By now many businesses are using social media monitoring tools.  The most obvious application is what some call ‘Ego monitoring’.  ’Ego monitoring’ is listening for any mentions of your own company online, be it positive or negative. This style of monitoring can be useful, but instead, why not take things up a notch?!

listen-300x300-resized-600Become a Monitoring Master

If you read yesterday’s blog on determining your competitor’s KPI’s, then  you have a perfect framework for zoning in on their strengths and weaknesses. One example we enjoyed reading about was from Harley Manning’s book ‘Outside In’.  Accor Hotels (owners of the Novotel and Sofitel chains) prepare daily reports from head office for their individual managers, these reports contain up to the minute customer sentiment online.  This way they can detect potential problems, branch by branch, and can then act to nip them in the bud before they snowball.

A savvy social media manager would have the same reporting set up, except they’d report on other chains in their market, such as the Radisson Group, Best Western and Marriott Group.  The company can probe for weaknesses in the competition across different territories.  Now armed with this easily sourced, hugely insightful customer data they can base a marketing or ad campaign around highlighting these shortcomings.  Cheeky yet highly effective!  All from gold plated, freely sourced competitor information.

David Vs Goliath – smaller size equals nimble reaction

A 2012 study by Conversocial has shown that a mere 13% of customer complaints delivered to the door of America’s biggest brands (including Footlocker, GAP) are responded to. They receive so many @mentions per week (over 8000 in some cases) that even the largest brands are buckling under the weight of this volume.

At home, with high streets containing empty shop units like missing teeth, independent retailers that are determined to grow could use this to their advantage.  Maintain a laser focus on the big players in town for these type of complaints and service gaps, filtered by geography.  A clever, smaller retailer could jump into the conversation, offer to fill the gap in experience the customer has suffered and hey presto!  You’ve got yourself a lead.

Now, just ensure when they enter your store that you have the means to deliver on any promise you’ve made.  But that’s a project for another day.  One step at a time!

 

Read More

09 May

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

banner

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!

Read More

08 May

Communities gang up to love their brands

banner

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…

Read More

07 May

Finding Customer Communities Online

communities

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.

engagement-sm

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”.

 

 

 

Read More

03 May

#SocialMedia #Political #Revolution – The Public Sector Magazine [Article]

The Public Sector Magazine, April 2013

Social media is the media of the people and successful politics is of the people too. In this article Conor Lynch, CEO, at SocialMedia.ie, aims to show you the reason why successful political organisations are embracing social media and shares some of their secrets.

[hana-code-insert name='The Public Sector Magazine' /]

Read More

02 May

Digital Marketing Review – Soft Drinks Market Sector by NUI Maynooth students

image

As part of an E-marketing project, myself and three other NUI Maynooth students conducted a digital review of brands in the Soft drinks industry both internationally as well as here in Ireland. As students who indulge in a fizzy drink on almost a daily basis, we were keen to learn more about the market and the brands which dominate it.

Our review focuses on five popular Soft Drink brands in both the global and Irish market: Coca Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Irn Bru and Club Orange. We have looked at the performance of the social media platforms of the five brand’s, and have conducted a boss metrics analysis of their respective Facebook and Twitter accounts. Finally, we compiled our findings and presented key insights in a final report.

 

[hana-code-insert name='NUIM softdrinkk slide' /]

 

The following video highlights each brands respective commitment to social media through facts about each brand and there use of social media.

[hana-code-insert name='NUIM softdrinks youtube' /]

download2

Read More

01 May

Digital Marketing Review – Irish Cinema Market Sector by NUI Maynooth students

image

We conducted our research on the Irish Film Industry, it’s market and who the competitors are. We named our team, TEAM FOUR which included Clare McCourt, Iman Mann, Laura Mooney and Shauna O’Sullivan. As a team we all had a passion for movies and decided to research into the different cinema’s that are currrently available. We used methods such as BOSS Metrics reports, website review, mobile app review, social media review and report promotion. We all worked extremely hard to achieve the results we wanted and are all happy with our assignment outcome.

[hana-code-insert name='NUIM film slide' /]

[hana-code-insert name='NUIM film youtube' /]

 

Read More
Contact us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Questions, issues or concerns? I'd love to help you!

Click ENTER to chat