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  • The 4 C's of Community and how you can use them to leverage your crowd

    • By jennifer
    • |
    • Friday, November 22, 2013

    We last discussed how three important trends are changing the face of digital marketing: the visual web, socially curated discovery and superfan communities. The great news is that consumers are more willing to share your brand’s story than ever before, but only if its authentic, useful and ideally, allows for open dialogue.

    Communities are the next-generation to Facebook pages and microsites, so building community right can yield you some major loyalty points with your customers, search engines (yeah, SEO boosts, baby), and grow a level of trust and authority that no other marketing strategy can.

    4 cs of communityIn our research, we’ve discovered four elements to community-building and they all happily begin with C:

    • Content
    • Curation
    • Cultivation
    • Collaboration

    So, are these community elements just phonetic fun or very vital to building a loyal tribe? Let's dig deeper.

    Content

    You want people to come, right? For communities, content really is king. Meaningful content lays the foundation and will engage your audience, communicate your story, convey your customer's needs and fuel an effective SEO strategy.

    But you don’t have to go it alone. That’s where curation tools and your superfan curators come in…

    Curation

    Curation is two-fold: curating content and curating the community.

    Content curation: So much of what’s in our news streams isn’t original journalism, but rather curated, shared or distributed to us via aggregator apps or our niche community. To offer up a great experience to your community, you don’t necessarily have to create reams of fresh, original content. In fact, 95% of people are looking for aggregated news that is multi-sourced, fresh and free. Most of us seek trusted curators to filter out the overload of data and categorize it into topics that matter to us.  Plus, we want the option to add our commentary to the mix, while connecting with others of like-mind.

    This isn't a free ticket to forsake unique content. Of course you'll need some original content based on your expertise in order to be authoritative, but many companies can’t dedicate to a full-time editorial team. But content curators are your key to winning the content game and building an army of trusted contributors. Which leads us to the next point in curation.

    Community curation: The right community platform will provide deep analytics into how your audience is interacting with your content, each other and your brand. Once you know who the superfans are, you can tap into their passion and give them some leeway to curate and create content for you. Yep, I do mean that you'll have to give up some control. Understandably, that terrifies the goodwill out of some companies but with the right guidelines and platform in place, you'll still guide what's published on your behalf with little overwight.

    create content that lives onPlus, why not follow the lead of some of the most community-driven brands? Community curation is already being done by companies like Sony, Sephora, LEGO and Harley Davidson.

    Identifying and leveraging your superfans can mean finding your best advocates. And they’ll "work" for you because they’re passionate, not because they’re pulling down a paycheck. Since paying them would turn them into employees, you'll want to reward them in non-monetary ways like community notoriety - which will further fuel the flame of curation prowess.

    Cultivation

    Cultivation is the process of refinement. In this stage, you’ll figure out what matters most to your community members, who’s most involved, how to optimize your content, what rewards are working and  how to better leverage your superfan curators - the 1% of your community - for the good of the many.

    This step in the process is remarkably fun because it means that you’ve got an active audience. Your analytics will reveal the opoprtuntiies and wins, but what the stats can’t tell you is whether you really “get” your community and whether they sincerely <3 you. Sure, social shares, likes, vote ups, interactions and inbound numbesr will give you an idea, but you’ll need to dig a little deeper. You’ll need to ask for input (polls can help), conduct A/B tests, develop one-to-one relationships with active voices and open the door to actually working with vetted customers.

    Collaboration

    This is where you ask. You listen. You implement and evolve based on your community’s feedback.

    Consumers are more educated and discerning than ever. To win their attention, offering free shipping isn’t going to be enough, nor writing a few informative blog posts, nor making your product new-and-improved.

    In the near future, the brands-winning-hearts-and-wallets will be going to companies who will literally give up a little control to their crowd, engage their customers and respond with authentic, positive good-for-all evolutions. Companies that do will be rewarded because a lot of times, people just want to share positive feedback (Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Nielsen).  LEGO uses their online communities to produce new ideas for LEGO sets. Now, not only developing loyal customers – a notion that is increasingly hard to come by - but it will make more money (crowd-sourced improved product = more sales).

    Its not an easy migration from push marketing to collaborative customer conversations, but it will not only make your brand stronger, more authentic and help you remain competitive for the long-term.

    its your community

    Have questions about community building? Contact us to start a dialogue about how we might be able to assist with your community strategy. 

  • 6 things in your home you wont believe are connected to the internet

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    First, our Internet Public Service Announcement (IPSA):

    Tracky takes privacy seriously. It’s why we created a platform with three tiers of visibility: secret, private and public. While we focus on the concept of open social collaboration, inherent in this is the ability to collaborate in the way that works best for you.

    If privacy is important to you, and you do a lot of work online, then protection of your data is vitally important. You may not realize it, but anything in your home or office that is connected to the internet has an IP address and therefore, may provide  information about you. An Internet Protocol or IP address is like a phone number or address specific to your device. It contains information about location in order to identify that particular device.

    The easiest way to protect your information? Make sure you have a secure, encrypted wireless connection. Since these devices are in your home, work with your internet service provider to ensure this is setup correctly. If you want to completely hide your IP address from potentially prying eyes, look into using a proxy server. You can also install a firewall  that alerts you if there is ever any suspicious activity. (And, don’t forget to use a VPN service if you’re surfing the web via public Wi-Fi.)

    Now, onto the fun stuff, we present you, the The Internet of Home Things:


    [PHOTO CREDIT: HapiLabs]

    Your fork
    The HapiFork, launched during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), claims to help you eat at a slower pace. The company says health benefits to eating slower include decreasing acid reflux, obesity and diabetes.


    [PHOTO CREDIT: LG]

    Your refrigerator
    Well, only if you have something like the LG Smart ThinQ™ refrigerator. The device’s LCD screen tells you what’s inside, food that’s about to expire and ingredients you have to make specific meals. All of the information can be accessed on your smartphone, too.


    [PHOTO CREDIT: Beam]

    Your toothbrush
    Win prizes for brushing your teeth and get your oral health updates to sync with your smartphone. No more worries about mom and dad quizzing you to see if you brushed. Your phone can prove it.


    [PHOTO CREDIT: Lixil]

    Your toilet
    It plays music, monitors water usage and a major power drive cleaner--the ultimate smart toilet. Plus, if you don’t like using your hand to flush the toilet, then you’re in luck. This toilet and app from Japanese firm Lixil, can be flushed from pushing a button on the app. Just make sure to wash your hands and your phone when you’re done.


    [PHOTO CREDIT: NY Daily News]

    Your shoe
    “Don't be surprised when Google's new high-tech Adidas start talking. The 'smart shoes' know up to 250 phrases, can track physical activity and communicate with the wearer's cell phone contacts.”


    [PHOTO CREDIT: SmartWallit]

    Your wallet, backpack, dog and more
    Although the product isn’t a reality yet, it’s only days away from its Kickstarter deadline and already surpassed its goal.  The attachment hooks to whatever you want to keep track of and, when you get more than a few feet away, an alert is sent to your smartphone to avoid you leaving it behind (or someone taking it from you).

  • Social collaboration and productivity platform Tracky

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Post by Sarah Evans, Tracky's Chief Evangelist



    Are you feeling a little overworked and constantly buried under the weight of too many emails and to do’s? You might not realize it but an online social collaboration platform can improve your productivity many times over. And, it can actually be fun to use.

    I’ve used a lot of systems aimed at organizing my inbox and improving my workflow, but there is only one that I’m really passionate about. Tracky. Here’s why: Tracky helps simplify your life by managing all three circles of your life in one platform: personal, professional, and social.

    Tracky helps people and companies organize all of their to do’s, work projects and social connections in a single, easy-to-use dashboard – from planning a wedding to launching an international brand. They’ve put together the most popular types of productivity and collaboration tools into one (amazing) platform, including:

    • To-do lists
    • Shared calendars
    • Live chat
    • Task management
    • Social accountability
    • Cloud-based file sharing
    • Community building


    That’s why I’m a fan and couldn’t wait to share it with you. The sooner you invest time in checking them out, the sooner you will get your life on track.

    Does the concept of investing time scare you? It’s not a magical cure-all, you must first break the cycle of  “lack-of-time-and-I-hate-project-management” to start fresh. How much time? It depends on how quickly you pick up new technology and how passionate you are to change your life for the better. Out of all the social collaboration platforms on the market, Tracky is the easiest to use.


    Tracky was built for life’s doers. The ones who get things done. It’s not only a social media tool for communication, but an open social collaboration platform focused on the art of DOing and helping you to be the best DOer you can be. Tracky is scaled for the enterprise, but accessible enough anyone can use.

    Tracky is best experienced through your favorite web browser, and they have a great (and newly redesigned) iOS app. That means Tracky is always within arms’ reach.

    One of the most compelling benefits I’ve enjoyed is a reduction in email. Here is how I decided to take back my inbox:

    1. Sign up for Tracky and get the three people you email most to do the same. This is an essential first step.
    2. Edit documents without using email to send drafts. It can be done! If you use Google Docs, it’s even easier. Click on “new file” to create a real-time document you and your collaborators can edit.  No more saving a million different versions and making sure the right one is attached. This is one document you and your team can edit and make notes using the “discussion” area in each track.
    3. Send one recap email with links to all appropriate tracks. If you’re working on several tasks with people, you can include links to the tracks in your email. This helps eliminate separate emails for each task, loooooooong emails no one wants to read and reduces the chances that your email will get lost in the ever-growing thread.
    4. Plan meetings directly in a track. Trying to coordinate five different schedules? Workers spend more than a third of their time trying to, among other things, schedule a meeting. Bring all of the people in one track. Suggest dates in the discussion area. Once confirmed, you can send the calendar event from within the track.


    That’s too much!

    Where else can you work on a project with someone real-time, tweet a comment from the dialogue, check off a task list and add something to Outlook? The answer is NOWHERE, except for Tracky.

    For more information on using Tracky and sharing your success, check out our FAQs and the Tracky Training Center.

    You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and AngelList, too.

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