In times of weeks of home office and “social distancing”, digital contacts and communities naturally play an even greater role. This is accelerating the trend that users in the digital world are increasingly bustling, exchanging and informing themselves in closed communities. No wonder: In an emergency, one is looking above all for an exchange with like-minded people. These are often not just your own friends or team members, but also colleagues or experts from the industry, the region or the district. These are also people who share the same hobby or interest because they all have similar questions, are looking for similar answers.
As a mobile content and community platform, tchop connects communication professionals, editors and makers with your target groups on the most important end device: the smartphone! Because data from Italy and China show that the use of smartphones in the home office in particular is increasing: by a total of 30% to about 5 hours per day (see here.).
In this blog post we want to explain why a “community of interest” is so exciting right now. And why it makes sense not only to use Facebook & Co here (unless you deliberately want to make yourself more dependent on the large social networks).
More than a mobile playback station
It is crucial not to consider your own mobile app merely as a technical extension of an existing online news offering, but to think it further as part of your own product strategy, to continuously develop it further and to understand it as a mobile communication platform for your own community offers more – and enables more.
Because in our view, good mobile apps are always about the idea of “empowerment”. In the crisis, this term takes on a whole new, central meaning.
It’s also about what you enable your community (or at least selected users in it) with your smartphone, what you enable them to do. This includes networking the community more closely with the editors or the right experts. This also includes networking among users. And also to offer you the opportunity to get involved, give feedback and express your opinion. Social networks turn millions of amateurs into content producers every day – so why shouldn’t the simplicity and efficiency of these mobile processes be transferred to professional, editorially controlled communities? Every day people not only post messages, but millions of content, images, links and videos on WhatsApp – why can’t you also use this for your own brand?
1. A place for (really) all relevant content
Today there is no shortage of digital content even in niches – least of all in the crisis. However, there is often a lack of context and understanding. This is exactly where “Communities of Interest” offer sustainable added value as a central point of contact for a specific topic, for a very specific perspective. They make it particularly easy for users who are unable or unwilling to follow what is happening on Twitter or in the usual news tickers and portals every day.
It is also not economically feasible for small editorial offices to cover all relevant topics sufficiently and quickly with their own, self-produced articles. Curating, commenting on and classifying third-party content therefore has an important function.
tchop makes it easy to efficiently aggregate your own but also any third-party content sources in your own app and to create a central point of contact on the smartphone of the user. Using a lean input API and tchop integrations, RSS feeds, social media sources or any website can be scraped. Videos, podcasts or even newsletters can be imported automatically and made available clearly. In this way, current or timeless content can be combined in one offer. In a flexible structure that can be dynamically adapted and changed.
Thanks to a high degree of automation and integration, even small teams create a news offering in which your target group will find everything – up to date and correctly structured.
2. Editorial control
The difference between an editorial news offer and a social network is obvious. Even if the components are quite similar, there are basically different functions. tchop tries to combine the “best” from both worlds and to rethink the idea of the “community” from an editorial perspective.
We do not believe that it makes sense to let all users in a community become content producers. Many users don’t want this either. We believe in the quality of strong moderators and editors who know exactly which users in the network can make a meaningful contribution to which topics and aspects and ensure a quality of content that users in “open” networks lack.
The last word is at tchop, and therefore the final control is always with a real person or an editorial office or a communication team made of flesh and blood. This determines how and where your own offer should become “social” and ensures that the content is up-to-date and relevant for the target group. tchop sees itself primarily as an efficient tool for these teams.
In times of acute crisis, this editorial sovereignty is particularly valuable. Because it also protects against “fake news” and manipulation. In the insane “Information Overload”, she quickly and reliably reveals what is important and does not optimize the offer based on algorithms and maximum range, but looks at the real benefits for the target group and the community.
3. Easily share content
With the tchop apps, the editorial team and the community are able to share all kinds of digital content either from other apps or directly “in the app” (as with the well-known social networks) with just a few clicks. This applies to images and videos as well as tweets or interesting links, because a community only becomes a place for all relevant content if the right users in the editorial and community can participate efficiently.
The focus is on simplicity and comfort, because something like this can only function sustainably if technology makes it as easy as possible for users. That is why tchop deliberately relies on well-known functionalities and “user patterns” that most of the usual apps are familiar with.
The ability to easily share content in your own app or from other apps and add it to your own offer – no matter where you are – enables even small teams to curate a daily relevant news app offer.
4. Discuss content easily, directly and securely
The exchange within closed groups works today on the smartphone in chats. Regardless of whether it is about professional communication in the company (e.g. Slack or MS teams) or private “conversations” – realtime chats are the standard. However, these platforms have disadvantages for your own community: Not all users are ready to use these channels or a specific channel. You give up a lot of control and there are also questions about data protection and privacy, which are particularly important for e.g. WhatsApp should be viewed critically.
tchop is the first platform to combine current content with real-time chat – in its own app. The creators always have full control over who can communicate with whom in which chat group, which chat groups are visible to everyone and which are confidential. In private 1: 1 chats, users can give feedback or an editorial team can exchange information directly with users.
The possibilities are so diverse that we explain them in a separate blog post here.
Having your own chat is also a perfect “retention” tool, because users get – as you are used to from WhatsApp & Co – push notifications for chat messages when you are not currently active in the app. And with each push message your own brand is visible in the “Message Center” of the smartphone!
5. A high quality user experience
Today’s demands on mobile apps are correspondingly high. This is a problem for many online publishers and communities, because developing their own app makes this complex, expensive and complex.
The tchop apps therefore rely on the latest, native app technology, because only a high-quality user experience creates acceptance and binds users permanently. And native features such as realtime chat can only be realized with high quality using real app programming.
The apps are optimized for iOS and Android, i.e. they are also not 100% identical, but use the strengths of the respective platform. As a result, users are immediately familiar with UX details.
6. “Killer feature”: push notification
In addition to existing online news, our own apps also offer other USPs that a responsive website does not offer. One of the main points is the famous “push message”. When used correctly, they are a key added value for many users, because they keep the community up to date outside of the app. These messages often “perform” better than the classic newsletter with opening rates between 60-70%.
Push notifications always bring users back to the offer and also offer additional added value for their own brand, because their own app icon is thus visible and relevant in a user’s daily news stream.
tchop allows push notifications to be sent and “timed” with just a few clicks. Important content in or outside the app can be easily linked.
If you don’t want to rely solely on the large platforms when building your own community, but instead want to invest in your own customer relationship, tchop is the first to get a powerful, complete solution. This direct customer relationship is worth its weight in gold, particularly in times of acute crises and profound changes. It can be monetized in the long term, reduces dependency on third parties and thus creates the basis for sustainably successful business around your own content and services.
As a platform, tchop combines the central advantages of native social media and chat apps with the possibility of a wide-ranging content curation. Users can quickly and easily exchange ideas with the editorial team, with the right experts or with each other.
Content and conversation come together on one platform. That is exactly what is crucial in these times.