8 Creative Ways Posterous Groups Can Bring People Together

social media toolsAre you looking for an easy way to foster internal social communications at your company? Perhaps you’re seeking a simple way to build a community with your customers?

Here’s the good news: A new (and free) tool may be just the solution you’re looking for.

Looking for Something New?

Collaboration, innovation and communication—all three have become corporate buzzwords. But they are also critical components to any company’s success. These are three areas where organizations are constantly looking for new ideas and social media tools are increasingly playing a larger role in that process.

Businesses have a need to communicate. They’re always looking for new and different ways to foster collaboration among employees and ways to innovate—faster and more efficiently. “How can we come up with new ideas while using the least amount of resources?”

The list of tools that can fulfill these needs is long, but Posterous Groups, a recently launched social media tool (that’s free), should be considered as a way to meet these business needs.

For the uninitiated, Posterous Groups is one part Facebook group and one part email listserv. In essence, a Posterous Group page is really a living, breathing, collaborative document. And again, like Posterous itself, it can all be done via email.

posterous groups

Posterous Groups represents an easy, simple opportunity for brands to collaborate with, learn from and communicate with customers, brand ambassadors, volunteers and external partners.

The key Posterous Group benefits and features include:

  • Uber-easy to set up. Simply email the name of the group and group member emails and your group is ready to go (no blog/platform account necessary).
  • Privacy is assumed. Posterous Groups defaults to a private group setting, which means content shared within the group is protected from prying eyes outside the organization (if you wish).
  • Post a variety of media formats. PDFs. Microsoft documents. Photos. Video. You name it and you can post it to Posterous Groups.
  • View content on the go—easily. Posterous Groups is also optimized for viewing from mobile devices, including iPads. A nice inclusion as more folks are accessing online content via smartphones and tablets.
  • Receive daily email summaries instead of instant notifications. For more active groups, this is a nice feature. Keeps you more connected and plugged in to what’s happening within the group.
email-daily

Daily email summaries make it easy to stay current on Posterous Groups.

slideshow

Slideshows are a great photo-sharing feature to add to your Posterous Groups.

The biggest advantage of Groups is the ease of use and the fact that everything is wired right to your inbox. After all, who doesn’t have an email address in 2011? Even that guy in accounting who thinks blogging is “never going to catch on” can still participate using Posterous Groups.

And remember, photos, video and other files you post to the Group are hard-coded into your emails—no big attachments. And finally, while conversations occur on email, they’re forever archived on your Group site so members can go back and track discussions that occurred weeks ago in just a few seconds.

So, what does all this mean for brands? There are a number of organizations already using Posterous as a blogging platform. One of my favorite local brands, Punch Pizza, uses Posterous to share photos and coupons, which are routinely redeemed en masse at Punch restaurants.

pizza

Punch Pizza routinely offers online-only coupons through its Posterous blog.

chevrolet

Chevrolet is one of the few brands using Posterous Groups.

Nationally, Chevrolet has been using Posterous for more than a year now to promote talk about the Chevy Volt.

And Twitter app TweetDeck is also using Posterous as its primary blogging platform.

But, by and large, not too many brands are using Posterous Groups—at least not groups that we can see.

That doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist, because they certainly do. Given that Posterous is an email-based platform and it’s extremely easy to use, I’ve long felt more risk-averse companies have a big opportunity with Posterous as a means to start blogging—and I think with Groups, there are a number of clear opportunities, too, both internally and externally, for organizations.

Internal Applications for Posterous Groups

#1: Company intranet

Probably more appropriate for small businesses and non-profits—organizations that can’t afford an off-the-shelf solution. But think about it. Doesn’t Groups offer much of the same functionality as an intranet? Document, photo and video sharing, all accessible via email or the Internet. And remember, it can be private.

Sure, it’s not behind a firewall on your company’s servers, but you have to weigh the advantages and benefits versus the potential risk. This certainly presents a different way to think about an intranet, but I tend to think it’s a collaborative (and very easy) way to get your internal teams involved.

#2: Special interest groups

Look inside any company and you’ll find a number of special interest groups. Some are more formal than others; running clubs and bowling teams, for example. What if you had a way to give them a private space online where they could stay connected between meetings or events? They could use this area to post photos, videos and just share information about the next event or meeting.

#3: Team communication

Just as Posterous Groups is a great tool for special interest groups within your organization, it’s also a perfect tool for business communication between teams. Think about it from a marketing/PR standpoint.

Your team could use a Posterous Group as a project-planning tool, a way to brainstorm ideas across geographically disparate offices (complete with photos and video), a vehicle to aggregate and share media coverage with the team and a tool to share organizational updates and news. Again, all in one spot—as opposed to the different areas this information probably exists now.

#4: Short-term collaboration

For those who have managed a new agency relationship, consider all the information you need to share with that partner to get them up to speed. Wouldn’t it be great if you could house all those documents, images, usernames/passwords and graphics in one easy-to-find and common area? Hello, Posterous Groups.

External Uses of Posterous Groups

#5: Promotional/corporate event pages

Think about the promotional and community events your company participates in regularly. Wouldn’t it be great to have one spot where you could house RSVPs, key event information, promotional coupons, offers, photos, videos and interviews with customers and participants after the event? How are you doing that now? Would Posterous Groups present an interesting alternative?

#6: Private brand ambassador groups

What about creating a private group for your most cherished brand ambassadors? A space where you could share special offers, rewards programs and sneak peeks at upcoming marketing campaigns? You could also use the Group as a means to communicate with these ambassadors. Even use Groups as a way to run new product designs by them and get initial input and ideas. A plethora of options here.

#7: Volunteer groups

For non-profit organizations, Posterous Groups would be a great way to keep in regular contact with one of their most important audiences: volunteers. Many non-profits say one of their biggest challenges is not having enough touchpoints with volunteers. Groups would provide an easy solution. After all, who doesn’t have access to email? (Even that 77-year-old woman who volunteers on Wednesday evenings has access to email.) And the best part? The volunteers themselves could contribute meaningful content to the Group.

You could ask volunteers to post photos from events that they capture—photos that you could use in newsletters and brochures down the road. You could also share news about upcoming events, organizational priorities and more detailed instructional information that would only be relevant to volunteers. This is a great, low-cost, easy way to keep in touch with your volunteer force.

#8: Customer forums

Your customers have questions. Why not address them all at once using Groups? You could even provide video responses to more complex customer issues/questions (I’m thinking about tech products here). Sure, there are definitely other ways to organize customer forums online—but Posterous Groups is free, easy and would tend to stay in front of customers because Groups would alert these folks via email each time a new post is made.

Those are my ideas about how brands could use Posterous Groups. What do you think? Any creative ideas on how your organization might take advantage of this new tool? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Arik Hanson

Arik Hanson is the principal of ACH Communications, a digital communications firm based in Minneapolis that drives digital relevance and builds measurable growth through social channels. Other posts by »




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  • http://barakonews.blogspot.com/ dimaks

    Very comprehensive article covering Posterous. I have been a member of Posterous for quiet a long time but have not had the time to really exploit its capabilities and potentials. Perhaps, it is high time to re-visit my old account :) Thanks for this wonderful write up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Crystal-Zhang/100001363077760 Crystal Zhang

    great point of view

  • Julie

    Can anyone explain the differences between a Posterous microblog and a Posterous group?

  • Jenanne285

    Isn’t hosting a blog on your own company website better for SEO than putting it somewhere else? Wouldn’t a Posterous blog be separated from your own site?

  • http://www.osmguy.com/ Ryan Sleeper

    Our team has been using Rypple (http://rypple.com/) for a couple of months now. It’s just an alternative to check out. It has a fun edge which I have personally enjoyed, but maybe not as many capabilities as Posterous.

  • Janet

    Is it just me, or is anyone else having issues with Posterous? I’ll schedule a blog post, and when it goes live, it’s jibberish code.

  • http://remarkablogger.com Michael Martine

    I would be a little concerned that as a business it’s not an asset you own or control like if you had something set up on your own server. But I think for the most part Posterous groups look really promising.

  • http://marketingfortomorrow.com/ Amanda Moore

    Thanks for sharing this article! I am not familiar with Posterous but I will be looking into it. Seems like a good way to get other members of the corporate team involved. I have not looked into the software yet but it sounds a lot more user friendly then setting up a standard blog site and getting other members of the corporate team involved with contributing. I would also be curious as to the answer to Jenanne285 as to their being better SEO opportunities with a typical blog. Can you offer any insight on this?

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  • Lesley

    So, how do you pronounce “Posterous”? As in “Post”?

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    For me, Posterous Groups is a bit more like Facebook groups. More community-based with blog capabilities instead of the other way around. They do have a lot of similarities and pieces of functionality in common. From a strategic standpoint, I guess I would use Groups as a way to collaborate where I would use the blog piece Posterous provides as a storytelling device.

  • Julie

    Thanks, Arik, that helps!

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Hmm…not sure. I don’t think hosting a blog on a separate URL from your Web site necessarily “hurts” your SEO, but it depends on your strategy. I don’t claim to be an SEO expert, but I’d love to hear other thoughts on this. And, I’m not sure how Posterous plays with search engines–another good question for a more technical SEO expert.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Right, that definitely is a concern. Same thing with Facebook Groups. But, in many situations, the risk is worth it.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Thanks for the comment, Amanda. See my response to Jeanne above re: SEO. Basically, I don’t think having a separate blog site hurts you in SEO terms, but like I said, I don’t have the deeper technical know-how to elaborate. I will say a lot of that depends more on your marketing strategy–not on the technical back-end.

    And, I definitely see a lot of advantage for an internal corporate team with Posterous Groups. If you do end up using, I’d love to hear how it goes. See a lot of corporate uses there that don’t need to include a lot or risk.

  • http://www.arikhanson.com Arik Hanson

    Good question–I’ve also wondered that. I think it’s actually a soft “o” ;)

  • Leland

    Hmmm, Arik what do you think about using postereous for your customer forums vs launching a real forum via phpBB or vBulletin? There are so many options for forums these days.

  • http://myinternetcorner.com Steven Sentosa

    I have been using Posterous Group for couple months now. However, I still can’t find a way to do a search in Posterous Group. Am I missing something here? or is it really no way to search our post in Posterous Group? You can have a search feature in the regular Posterous Site though, so I don’t see any reason why I can’t have that ability in Posterous Group. Any thought?

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