People don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do itWe took a lot of effort in making sure that the new site reflects our why and that you understand it from first glance. The other great thing about the site is that it is a living thing. It’s not done. It may never be done. However, now, it’s time to walk away and let it breathe.
CASE STUDY: NPRN – The Non-Profit Resource Network
There are over 350 non-profits in Santa Barbara County with hundreds of Executive Directors, Board Members, Staff and Volunteers yet there was no private, secure way to make connections between each other easily. The Hutton Parker Foundation wanted to create an online resource to replace the physical building that was used to provide help to local non-profits. In addition, they wanted to focus on capacity building and helping all aspects of the non-profit community. Board members are frequently civilians and don’t know what’s expected of them. Staffers need to find peers in other organizations to be able to solve problems quickly. Executive Directors need a place where they can ask questions and find help with specific challenges. Volunteers use the site to build profiles of what they are interested in, so that the organizations can search for specific people to place on working groups and committees. introNetworks worked closely with a strategic team to tune the Visual Matching Engine to meet the exact requirements of this unique community. The four dimensions that the Community is matched on are: Passions/Focus (Things like Youth, Family Care, The Arts) My Interests (Concepts like Big idea, Fitness, Learning….) , How I can Help (Specifics such as Team Player, Critical Thinking, Idea Generation), and I need Help With (Areas of Focus include: Grant Writing. Building a Board, Marketing Strategy and other concerns). With NPRN the non-profits are able to:
- Learn about non-profit news & opportunities
- Community Calendar, by Group and Organization in one view
- Connect with fellow staff, executives & board members and volunteers
- Find valuable resources & information
- Share knowledge to raise the level of competency across all organizations
- Discover the people, the passion & purpose of the local nonprofit community
Videos Created for the NPRN UsersGetting Started with NPRN
Navigating inside the Community
Creating an awesome profile
Forums, Groups and Resources
Using Your Google+ ID To Login
CASE STUDY: TEDxMidwest Event Community
TEDx Event Community Goals
- Find other attendees based on I Am, I Seek, I Value and What’s Relevant
- Create meaningful conversations before, during and after the event
- Learn from others that share similar values and reasons for attending
- Find like-minded attendees and start special interest groups
Connecting Attendees in Advance of the EventOne of the challenges for TEDx is connecting a very disparate group of people who come from different parts of the local Community. They all share a common passion of learning and new experiences and celebrate the diversity of opinion and thought that is typical of a TEDx event. Being invited to create a fun and interesting profile extends the TEDx experience right at the time attendees’ register and helps to get them even more excited about the upcoming event.
Working with the Organizing CommitteeAs TEDx is independently organized and run entirely by volunteers, it is critical that there is a very easy to understand way to design, launch and grow the Community. We worked with the TEDxMidwest team two years in a row to understand the unique aspects of their event, it’s one of the largest in the US, and draws a large percentage of CEO’s, business leaders and influential citizens from the region. This means that the design needed to be very engaging so that attendees didn’t feel like they were wasting their time on yet another social network. Designing the Profile to be relevant to what they want to get out of the event was a prime consideration for the committee.
Using the network to gather insights on the attendeesOne of the things that the event organizers appreciated after their first year as they went into planning the second year was the metrics the platform reported. Being able to understand deeply what people were seeking, how they described themselves, what values were predominant among attendees was critical as they reimagined the community the following year.
“We are extremely happy with the introNetworks system for both tracking milestones, info, and communicating with attendees and more importantly getting people who do not know each other to meet long before our event.” – Mike Hettwer, Executive Producer, TEDxMidwest and TEDxMidwestYouth
CASE STUDY: NASA Educators Online Network
It’s taking you too long to find the right people
This is what we call smart connections.We don’t stop there. Seeing your best connections visually is powerful, being able to search on multiple dimensions using those weighted tags as search terms is another way that introNetworks is radically different. The results of searches can show on a Pin View, a Map View, an ordinary list or in an animated Tag Cloud that invites exploration. The secret to making this all work is to make sure it never takes more than a very few clicks to find the right person. This is the ‘smart’ part. Making the true human connection we leave up to the humans, they can take it from there.
5 Simple Ways to Grow Your Business In This Tough Economy
After talking with hundreds of executives and analyzing research reports and white papers, it is clear that social media is no longer an emerging technology that is nice to have and instead is a solution that businesses must have now. Social media is rapidly being adopted by the Fortune 5000 as well as small and medium sized businesses that are strategically utilizing these proven technologies in their organizations. On the surface, these solutions seem to meet their needs yet how do these companies know if they have selected the right strategies?Companies who want to remain competitive by having a closer connection to their clients and aligning their employees to the mission and vision of the organization are experiencing tremendous value out of their investments in social media. Success in social media is not a technology problem, instead it is a business problem. Here are five critical success factors to consider before you launch the right social media strategy for your organization. If you clearly understand the outcome you want (results) and why you want that outcome (purpose), then creating a list of actions that will make your strategy come to life is easily done.
1. Compelling business objectives
The first aspect that is often overlooked in designing a social media implementation is the actual strategy, purpose and planned outcome. Businesses often forge straight away into a tactical implementation without anything more than, “We will put up a community or forum and our customers or employees will simply show up.”
Thinking about your strategy as a business goal rather than a social one will change the conversation that you have about what the most important part of the social media strategy will be. It is important to visualize where you want your company to be within twelve months and ask yourself the question, “How has my social media strategy transformed my organization?” This is a hard question because in most cases, you may not have developed your strategy – yet. Having a clear and detailed understanding of your business objectives is critical. What does success look like to you? Once you have established that, developing the road map, selecting the tools and the team to get there is much easier.
Question: Do you have a clear view of a social media strategy? Suggestion: Consider having an expert guide you through this process in order to develop the ideal social media strategy that fits your ultimate outcome perfectly.
2. Ideal implementation considerations
One of the challenges to utilizing any new tool is implementation. There are often a lot of areas to consider, many audiences to appease and numerous constraints. When you begin working on your social media tactics, choosing solutions that can offer simple and fast implementation options is very important. If it will require IT resources and a team of people from your company, you may want to consider alternative solutions.Another option is to begin with a pilot, rolling out your social media initiative to a small group of customers or employees first. This will enable you to test, measure your results and make changes before you unleash your strategy to the entire target audience. Ideally, if you can set up your social media solution without having to connect to existing databases, without linking to existing websites, or without having to be concerned about user authentication – at least for your pilot – then don’t. In many cases, it can easily take you six months to understand all of the potential issues that HR, IT and Legal may put forth and this may distract you from executing on the core business objectives you have worked so hard to create. Instead, consider building internal momentum with a pilot program first and then you can replicate your success with a more in-depth integration of the tool or tools throughout your organization.
Question: Have you taken into account the steps you will follow to implement your ideal solution? Suggestion: Ask your vendor what the process is to be up and running with a solution or a pilot within a week.
3. Measurable insight and business intelligence
In developing your social media strategy, you will need to understand the audience that you plan to offer this solution to. This knowledge will allow you to mold your solution to best fit their specific needs.
You may be familiar with the idea of website analytics or statistics. These are metrics that track usage of a website, time spent on pages, and where the visitors come from, for example. Similar to website metrics, it is critical to choose a social media solution where you have the ability to measure the key aspects of your strategic objectives. With the ability to track campaigns and analyze the intelligence you gather, it will be clear how you can best use that information to serve your audience. Having the ability to utilize the business intelligence to deliver insight is not only a key driver of success; it can transform your business.
In order to have insight that is valuable enough that you can make better business decisions, you can start by creating tactics that will yield answers to deliver the insight you are looking for. Great rule to follow: If you want great answers from your audience, you have to ask great questions.
Question: Do you have the ability to access business intelligence about your audience at your fingertips now? Suggestion: That which gets measured, gets done. Make sure you have instant access to key metrics at all times.
4. Engaging user experience
One of the biggest challenges to any social media experience is to create something that captures the attention of the audience in three seconds or less and keeps them coming back for more. If compelling enough, three seconds of interest extends to three minutes of interaction and then into three hours of repeat activity. This is the ideal situation. Think of how many websites you have been to that were slow or poorly designed. Chances are that once you had a negative first impression, you did not return.
Choosing social media tools that are easy to use, visually engaging to interact with and that offer value to the audience will play a significant role in the success (or failure) of your strategy.Understanding how good design helps people use social media will transform how they interact with other users and information. This should be a key objective for you. If you spend significant effort on crafting the other key aspects of a successful social media strategy, yet you neglect design, your efforts will not deliver the best results possible.
Question: Are you offering your audiences a compelling and engaging experience? Suggestion: Impeccable design makes complicated concepts easy to understand and will result in delivering greater value to your audience. Insist on it.
5. Easily communicated ROI
If you follow the steps covered above carefully, you will definitely see results in as quickly as one to three months after implementation. Understand that these efforts take time to grow organically; your initial steps must be nurtured so that they become great strides moving you forward.
To recap: 1. Make sure your objectives are clear that you have a road map to follow throughout the process. 2. Insist on a solution that is easy to understand, easy to set up and maintain. 3. Choose a solution that delivers measurable insight. 4. Select tools that have a high level of attention to design and user interaction.
The return on investment you receive will be directly tied to the strategic objectives you stated at the beginning. Are you trying to communicate better with your customers so that they know more about your products, and as a result buy more? Or are you making sure that your employees can find the right resources at the right time and save hours hunting for experts to help them? With a successful social media solution in place, imagine the thousands of hours saved if you were able to provide this type of information to your audience with just a couple of clicks of the mouse.
“Economic hardship is demanding that we produce more from less. As a result, we’ll need to embrace new ideas and deploy new approaches so we can arrive at new goals.” – May 2009, Deliver Magazine.
Being able to move a successful pilot project to the next step will mean that you can show the business results of your pilot to other stakeholders and clearly demonstrate how it has affected your business. You will have command over these results because you will have taken a baseline measurement at the beginning of your effort and measured it continually throughout the initial phases. This practice of defining your outcome, understanding your purpose, then taking the actions to implementing your chosen social media solution will result in success.
Question: Do you know how to effectively identify ROI from existing efforts to solve your challenges? Suggestion: Focusing on the ROI you want to deliver can change business trajectory of your campaign. Consider your ROI goals early in your planning process.
Do you have the five aspects of a successful social media strategy in place now? Can you afford to not seriously think about what it will take to get started with your own social media strategy?
At introNetworks we understand how daunting this information may seem to you. There are hundreds of choices, different paths you can go down and many people to convince along the way. It is a significant amount of work to take this all into account and develop an ideal social media strategy.
If you feel like you aren’t sure where to even begin, we can help.
Every week we help companies discover and develop their own effective social media strategies. After working in this industry for over seven years, we understand the nuances and politics of putting together and implementing a strategy that will align you with your customers and employees like never before.
We will be in touch shortly to answer any questions you might have as a result of reading this report. Alternatively, you are welcome to reach out to us to explore the possibilities.
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