Human beings define themselves in all kinds of interesting ways, but one is by the technology that they own and love.
By Joel Willians
Here at Nokia Conversations, we see this every single day by the amazing ways individuals and entire communities use our smartphones. Whether it’s bloggers analysing our latest Lumia, photographers developing new genres of photography or freerunners videoing their newest moves, one thing that unites them all is their love of Nokia. It’s this passion, which has powered our Nokia Connects programme and been the driving force behind it getting bigger and better.
Now in its eighth year, Connects have given countless people their first taste of our tech, showcased thousands of stunning stories and celebrated our fantastic community of Nokia advocates in a myriad of different ways. With the program now more popular than ever, we thought it was time to hook up with the woman at the helm and discover more about Connects’s past, present and future.
Please put your hands together for Nokia Connects Head Honcho and mobile maestro, Carla Eid.
Thanks for joining us, Carla. You’re the Global Head of Social Engagement and Advocacy. Can you tell us what that means in practice and how your work relates to Nokia Connects?
Happily, my role is a lot easier to grasp than my job title. Simply put, I lead the team who are the public face of Nokia. What that means in practice is running all the global social channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Facebook etc. This means we get to chat with Nokia users worldwide and hear what they’re loving and what they’re not, and respond to their opinions, their suggestions and their questions.
I also help our global and local teams launch all those fun social engagements and campaigns you see and hear about, whether it’s Generation Stories or sharing some #NokiaGloveLove.
However, the majority of my day is spent leading the global Nokia Connects program, which means helping Nokia fans do what they love best, play with Nokias, and helping would-be fans learn why they should play with Nokias!
Our 7 super rules of engagement
Nokia has a huge community of fans, everyone from tech bloggers and app developers to mobile photographers and film makers. How does Nokia Connects engage with them all and why is it so important to do so?
We connect with people on lots of different levels. You can break it down into what I call our “7 super rules of engagement”
- 1. We discover and get involved in relevant conversations.
- 2. We reward people who create amazing things with their Nokias by showcasing and amplifying their content.
- 3. We give people the opportunity to test out the latest Nokia products through device trials.
- 4. We inspire our community to be creative with creative content and challenges on Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Facebook and Nokia Conversations.
- 5. We take members of the community to key events around the world such as MWC, Nokia World, CES and Social Media Week.
- 6. We build real relationships through years of community management on social media, telephone, email and most importantly, one-to-one!
- 7. We provide our community with access to Nokia employees, from R&D to Product Managers to Marketing.
It’s important for many reasons. Obviously, we want to keep our fans informed about new products, services, events and changes to the company. I always make sure that all the big news that we have gets shared with as many of our fans as possible. We want them to hear it from us first and get a chance to ask questions and share their feedback. Thanks to this, we get lots of honest feedback, good and bad, and we can take it all on board.
But just as importantly, we can respond quickly too. This is where we really come into our own. Thanks to our social media channels and blog we can share people’s opinions with the right people at Nokia and help instigate change. If people don’t talk about you, then they don’t care. I’d rather have a few complaints now and then people happy in the future. You only have to look at the comments here on Nokia Conversations to see how engaged people are with our products.
My favourite Nokia Connects projects
Nokia Connects has launched dozens of projects over the years, including trials, blog series and competitions. Can you share some of your favourites and what you best like about them?
This was the first initiative and it’s still the most popular. It gives access to Nokia phones to anybody with an interest in testing, experiencing and creating with Nokia technology, while inspiring honest, no nonsense reviews and opinion.
An ongoing competition that challenges the community to shoot photos, videos and even create things with their bare hands. I love the unbridled passion for the brand that comes through in some of the entries.
This is a relatively new blog series we’ve launched showcasing the amazing ways Nokia Lumia photographers are using Instagram to develop their photography. When you have the world’s best camera smartphone it makes sense to celebrate the world’s most popular photography community. I love the insight this gives into Lumia fans’ lives worldwide.
Nokia has a long and glorious history of mobile tech innovation so it’s no surprise that we have such dedicated fans. This series ask some of the most passionate users (often with collections of Nokias numbering in the hundreds!) to share their love for Nokia tech by talking about their favorite Nokias ever. It generates huge amounts of discussion and really helps underline both Nokia’s pedigree and the enthusiasm of our community.
This event was arguably the most historic of the last few years and it generated a huge buzz. It was great to see the excitement on everyone’s faces, from Nokia people like Chris Weber to bloggers and tech press alike.
This a great initiative, which celebrates our community every month by awarding our most innovative, creative or proactive member the title Most Valued Connector. Anyone can be nominated and they’re voted on by our panel. The winner gets to be showcased and a cool prize, like helicopter rides or photography trips. I love how it celebrates the diversity and passion of Nokia fans.
Why people love Nokia Connects
What makes this sort of approach so special and how do people react to it?
Our approach is genuine and honest. We’re like a family with many close friends rather than followers. For a start, we treat bloggers in just the same way as we treat the tech press. They are just as important to us. We never ask for anything in return for them enjoying our technology. The same can be said of our community of passionate users. We do everything we can to encourage and help them develop their creativity. What’s more, when they do, we put their content first. You only have to visit Connects here on Nokia Conversations or our Twitter feed to see how we share their ideas, reviews, videos, images, creativity in all it’s many wonderful forms.
How do people react to it?
They love it! The feedback we get is fantastic. Nokia fans and bloggers alike tell us we treat them in a totally different way to our competition. We are more personal, more giving and understanding. We amplify and showcase the best of their efforts and encourage budding talent. Building a community takes time, and we have relationships that go back as far as eight years in the Nokia Connects community.
With visual content platforms such as Instagram and Vine becoming ever more popular, I think the big change will be in that area. We’ll need to find ever more creative ways to engage the Nokia community through video and photo content. We’ve kicked this year off with the launch of brand new Instagram and Vine channels for both Nokia Connects and the global Nokia official channels. These are growing bigger by the day and we’ve got lots of exciting ideas about how we can involve our community. So if you’re a photographer or filmmaker, be sure to watch this space!
It’s clear from Carla’s words that hanging out with the Nokia community is a labour of love. And that’s really no surprise. Our community is, in our opinion, like no other on earth. Time after time, you guys and girls amaze us with your enthusiasm, your ingenuity and your breathtaking creativity. To quote the late, great Freddie Mercury, we think “It’s a kind of magic.” But what about you? Let us know what you love best about Nokia Connects and the Nokia community in the comments below.