Why You Need To Embrace The Power Of Online Communities
This article was originally published on bandt.com. Our customer, The Cancer Council, provides all people affected by cancer, a space to connect, share experiences and find information and support in a safe forum; it is a pleasure and privililege to work with them!
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that around 135,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia in 2017, with that number projected to escalate to 150,000 by 2020. We know that people affected by cancer have unmet support and information needs and may be unable to access services and/or resources due to cost, geography, illness or other barriers.
It is estimated 82,000 newly diagnosed people will search online for information each year, with approximately 42,000 visiting an online support group forum at least once. An online community, which can provide organised, helpful information, peer support and compassionate context, is a powerfully valuable solution for those individuals.
Cancer Council NSW launched a community in 2009 to meet this challenge and have evolved and improved it over the years since. It’s open to anyone that is or has been affected by cancer, regardless of the cancer type and welcomes people with cancer, cancer survivors as well as family members, friends and carers.
Here are the ingredients that make it a success:
People don’t need to obey opening hours. The community is available 24/7 for support and information platform with forums and discussions, groups and blogs for all cancer types. It is mobile first and available on all devices. The community is free to join. Anyone can view the content (you must be a member to contribute), in case there are some who are less comfortable joining, but still get value from the discussions and information.
High value content
We’re not talking marketing fluff. The community is filled with evidence-based information and resources created and curated by professionals. Content created and shared by members is responsibly organised. And the community complements other services offered by Cancer Council NSW, with pointers to additional sources and resources throughout.
Moderation is always a necessity for a community to succeed, but in a community where people may be at risk, in crisis, or experiencing traumatic situations, it’s non-negotiable. Our site is managed and moderated by qualified health professionals to add a further layer of safety and support. There are easily accessible calls to action if someone feels the need to contact a health professional or a support service.
Privacy and anonymity in communities is critical for people to feel comfortable sharing their stories and engaging in the space. Members can choose a nickname upon registration, rather than using their real names. Personally identifiable information such as email addresses should never be displayed, and closed groups can be provided for especially sensitive issues. Cancer Council’s Online Community consists of over 5,000 members and was recently the recipient of the inaugural Lithium Not for Profit Award for 2017. The Online Community can be accessed at www.cancercouncil.com.au/OC
Kate Fenerty is Cancer Council’s Online Community Manager and will be presenting at Swarm 2017 Australia’s Premier Community Management Conference. Swarm will be convening at the University of Sydney on August 30-31.
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At Lithium, we believe that delivering great digital customer experiences at scale comes down to creating the “right digital moment” for consumers, wherever they are – and regardless of device, platform, or channel. It’s what consumers expect, and brands must deliver.
Dayle Hall, Lithium’s SVP of Marketing, explained, “it’s easier to keep a customer than to find a new one.” However, that, too, is becoming harder and harder in the face of ever-evolving customer expectations for three reasons: 1) culture and technology are changing, fast; 2) resources are not unlimited, making it hard to keep up with demand; 3) and, as technology and culture change, there’s a lot of uncertainty around what those changes mean for business.
This was the perfect segue for Hall, later joined by Lithium VP of Product Marketing, Leslie Jordan, to do a quick show-and-tell around how Lithium is uniquely positioned to help brands harness the digital zeitgeist and deliver awesome digital customer experiences at scale.
Jordan then came up to do a thorough overview of Lithium’s Social Media Management (SMM) tools across all non-owned channels (Paid, Earned, and Shared).
If you want to get the full scoop, be sure to watch Dayle’s presentation here and Leslie’s presentation here . For now, though, here’s a quick play-by-play to keep you in the loop of our latest product updates:
Plan, Publish, Measure: Leveraging Lithium’s many digital marketing partners, brands can now plan, publish (to partner platforms), and measure both paid and organic media campaigns, all from a central Lithium dashboard, making it easier than ever to see all campaign data and insights from a single view.
Monitor and Analyze: As an evolution of Lithium’s metrics dashboard, this update makes it easier for brands to understand how to take action on the data and insights available to them.
Social Impact Ranking: New benchmarking tool that lets brands understand their “impact” (via a series of critical impact and engagement metrics) versus both key competitors and other industry heavyweights.
Mobile Publishing: In alignment with our desktop offering, brands can now create, schedule, approve, and publish posts to multiple channels from a mobile device.
This is just scratching the surface. To get a more in-depth look at our SMM latest product enhancements, be sure to read the press release here .
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Next up on stage was a very special guest who flew all the way from San Antonio, TX to join us in Sydney – USAA’s AVP of Social Business, Michael Dones.
Since the USAA caters specifically to members of the United States Armed Forces, Dones started his presentation with a quick overview of the brand to get this primarily ANZ-based audience on the same page. “Service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity are core to the USAA brand,” said Dones. “We aim to offer value through every interaction our members have with our brand, regardless of the channel.”
FUN FACT: USAA invented mobile check depositing technology, the first financial services brand to offer that service to customers via their iPhone app in 2009.
To deliver on this promise of offering value through every interaction, Dones underscored the importance of creating “frictionless interactions” with customers via technology or, otherwise stated, digital customer experience that are easy, effective, and deeply personal. In fact, USAA is a deep believer that every digital moment counts. And knowing that their members use and rely on their mobile phones to interact with the brand more than ever before, they’ve made it a priority to enhance the social capabilities of the business to better understand, connect, and deliver for members in real-time, at all times. (To see how they do this, check out the slide with the “bowtie” customer experience two-sided funnel below.)
Lastly, Dones discussed the importance of USAA’s member community – an active community of 400K+ members strong that creates a constant feedback loop for the business. “Members are at the center of all digital customer experience decisions,” said Dones. “Doesn’t matter who gets the credit for the experiences we create because the customer is the most important part of any decision we make.” For USAA, listening to the community has been one of the most direct ways in which the company has been able to invest feedback into the business, creating content, products, and services that ultimately meet the wants, needs, and expectations of their members. This is just one of many reasons why USAA has been so successful in reducing average social response time from 105 minutes to 19 minutes in less than one year!
The team at Lithium has always believed that when the customer is at the heart of all business decisions, good things happen. USAA’s digital transformation story is proof of that.
Check out Michael Dones' presentation below:
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Besides attending the first ever LiNC Local Sydney, there are many other great reasons to head down to the harbour city the week of July 20.
Bondi Beach Ahhh…Bondi Beach… takes the crown as one of the most famous beaches in the world. This glorious expanse of golden sand is one of Sydney’s favourite playgrounds, packed with swimmers, surfers and people-watchers. There is some serious money and glamour in Bondi, but it’s never snobbish and is always great fun. Just as our LiNC Networking events are legendary just as Bondi Beach for fun and a hint of glamour thrown in!! LiNC Local Networking Party Dress Code – Smart to glamorous!!
Sydney Opera House The Opera House’s magnificent harbourside location, stunning architecture and varied programme of events make it Sydney’s No. 1 destination and just a stone throws from our Sydney LiNC Local. The modern masterpiece reflects the genius of its architect Jørn Utzon and attracts over eight million visitors each year.
Sydney Harbour Arguably the most beautiful harbour in the world, and the setting for our LiNC Local. To build our favourite Sydney pond, it took the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers thousands of years to carve. From its working docklands to its secluded beaches, the harbour is a natural asset that most cities can only dream of.
Taronga Zoo Head before or after LiNC Local to our glorious Taronga Park Zoo. The zoo occupies a spectacular setting amid 28 hectares of landscaped bushland overlooking the harbour. The Sky Safari carries visitors over the enclosures and terraced slopes to the Edwardian Entrance Pavilion and Information Centre, which provides information on the zoo’s 340 resident species and 4000 individual animals.
Royal Botanic Garden & The Domain Located around Farm Cove on the harbour shore is the spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens and The Domain. Perfect for that morning run or brisk walk to get pumped to spend the day at LiNC Local. This oasis in the heart of the city occupies the land on which the first crops were planted. Australia’s oldest scientific institution is home to an impressive collection of native and exotic plants and trees.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Be inspired at LiNC Local and inspired at Sydney’s Art Gallery just next to the Domain. Opened to the public in 1901, the AGNSW contains some of the finest artworks in Australia. Situated in The Domain, over a million visitors a year enjoy its permanent collection of Australian, Asian, Aboriginal, European and contemporary art.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the world’s largest steel arch bridge. The graceful sweep of its southern approach has captivated artists for years. Francis Greenway proposed a bridge in 1825, but the logistics vexed engineers until 1915, when John Bradfield proposed a single-span bridge, completed in 1932. Checkout the Bridge and the urban sophistication surroundings, whilst celebrating our Lithy winners at the Lithy Networking event at the Blu Bar Level 36 at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Darling Harbour Cockle Bay, the heart of this lively entertainment and dining district, was once a working harbour district where some of the city’s poorest lived. In 1984, a huge redevelopment project was launched to revitalise the industrial site with the building of the Aquarium, the Maritime Museum, and Cockle Bay and King St Wharf precincts. Find some spirited dining adventures with new like minded LiNC attendees and its just a hop, skip and jump away from LiNC local’s hotel – Shangri-La.
Powerhouse Museum One of Sydney’s most popular cultural institutions, the Powerhouse Museum has an extraordinary array of treasures across decorative arts and design, science, technology, space, transport and social history. And we promise a powerful packed agenda at LiNC Local!
The Rocks and Circular Quay Near Circular Quay, The Rocks is not only where Shangri-La Hotel is located but is also a historic precinct of narrow laneways, galleries, boutiques and restaurants. It sprang up soon after the First Fleet’s arrival in January 1788. Today the area is ideal for a winding stroll and a cold ale at a historic hotel; try the Hero of Waterloo or the Lord Nelson. LiNC Local Sydney and Shangri-La Hotel, is situated smack in the middle of our early colonial history district.
We will see you in a week! Register here.
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The countdown is upon us- nearly 1 month until LiNC Local Sydney, where we will bring the best of class in digital engagement locally!
But that’s not all…
On the fence? Allow me to help with the top 10 reasons to register for LiNC Local this year:
Success stories and knowledge share! Customers like USAA will be showcasing their amazing results in their digital customer experience.
Executive keynotes. This year, Lithium’s executives like @RobT & @DayleH will be delivering keynote sessions around the latest in Digital CX along with Lithium product enhancements.
Get involved personally- We have smaller break out sessions, where you can hear tips, tricks and best practices, or get hands on in the roundtable and workshops led by Industry Leaders like Joe Cothrel.
We have an awesome agenda queued up. Take a look at our agenda, featuring some of the most successful brands in Digital CX
Get trained and certified the same week - Register for training for Community Management Certificate II to get access expert insights using the Lithium Community.
A no-brainer: We want you be there! That’s why this year’s event attendance is gratis. We are also offering a group hotel rate.
Celebrate the Lithy Winners! All winners will be recognised at this event. Check out our record-breaking 130 submissions to hear the contenders for 2017.
Get all the value… in just one day! We have a short day with amazing content, speakers, sessions, and experiences! While the agenda is getting the final touches, we have a few speaking slots open. Interested? Contact us today.
Because, it’s Local this year! Call me biased, but this event will be held in the heart of the world’s finest city at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney.
Our customers have said it themselves: our parties are awesome! After a long day of learning, planning, and sharing be sure to join us for some celebratory drinks and networking with Digital CX-ers from all across the globe!
While I’d love to go on, I have a full day of LiNC planning ahead of me. Don’t miss out on this event, and see you in July!
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