FML Blog

In Touch with Innovation: interview with Flockler

by Toni Hopponen, Flockler

Thursday, April 07, 2016      Toni Hopponen            0

Editor's note: On 26 January 2016 the Future Media Lab. hosted its annual conference, which brought together politicians, media representatives, journalists, innovators and academics to discuss the impact of technology on Europe's media sector, particularly in regard to changes taking place in relation to audience engagement. In the run-up to this event, the Future Media Lab. team had time to talk to some of the leading innovators in Europe's media sector about the challenges they see and what solutions they offer.

 

In the eighth edition of the recurring interview series, "In Touch with Innovation", the Future Media Lab. team talks to Toni Hopponen, Co-Founder and CEO of Flockler – a publishing platform with a social twist.

 

What is the main idea behind your start-up?

 

Flockler enables brands and publishers to create engaging editorial content and collect social content created by the organisation, its employees and their audience. Create a new Flockler-powered website or integrate content to your existing websites, applications, ecommerce sites and other services. Create and curate content manually or set up rules to publish content automatically from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

 

What observation kicked off your project?

 

About four/five years ago we started helping publishers to gather content directly on their site – news stories, images and videos straight from the street created by their readers. Our clients simply wanted to build engagement with their users and as mobile adoption was huge in Finland (thanks to Nokia), there were new opportunities available. As we all know social has grown during those five years and our clients started asking, - if they could create a mashup of editorial, UGC and social content. Today the platform powers websites, applications, real-time news reporting, social TV, event displays and a lot more.

 

What is your added value to media companies in audience engagement?

 

The basic product can be used to build the engagement with users by asking them to contribute to a news story or during an event. In addition to management, curation and publishing, the platform analyses all the social content curated to a specific site, and, for example, we are able to tell our clients which content is the most popular, which users have been the most active ones and who’s the most influential user on social. This helps our clients to further strengthen the relationship with readers, reward active users and use that information for retargeting or social advertising.

 

What is the biggest challenge for an effective collaboration between media companies and innovative start-up companies?

 

To be honest, two main issues are: - Old technology solutions (+sunk costs) and a huge barrier to entry built by IT - Most of the media organizations still work print & editorial content first instead of building truly valuable digital services for customers. How many media organisations really capture the information about their user and use it to create tailored experiences? This is something that’s basic for digital start-ups and gaming companies.

 

How do you help publishers to engage with various audiences across platforms (including the social media)?

 

Our basic product can be used to build the engagement with users by asking them to contribute to a news story or during an event. Customers can contribute directly on the site or on social channels. In addition to management, curation and publishing of all that content, the platform analyses all the content curated, and for example we are able to tell our clients which content is the most popular, which users have been the most active ones and who’s the most influential user on social channels. This helps our clients to further strengthen the relationship, reward active users and use that information for retargeting of advertising. This information is gathered directly from social channels and is something that media organizations do not typically capture and use at the moment.

 

If you are a media company on which platforms do you have to be mostly visible?

 

I believe this depends on the organization – there are so many social channels out there that you need to analyse which ones makes sense (where’s your audience and how to monetize?) to your organisation and start producing content tailored to those channels to be able to cut through the noise. I call that social first publishing.

 

What makes social media more relevant than any other platform?

 

Size of audience, viral effects and no geographical boundaries. Targeting a niche audience is possible even with limited resources and some of the social services might be able to help you to monetize the content as well (e.g. FB’s instant articles).

 

 

For more information about  Flockler, visit www.flockler.com.


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