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The newest Open Social extensions are game-changers

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When we kicked this year off with the Open Social rebranding, we promised that 2021 will be the year Open Social becomes an unstoppable force in the online community software space. Only three months in, and we have already released a whole new suite of amazing extensions that helps you turn any Open Social online community into a powerful purpose-built platform.

These new extensions listed below are all game-changers for one reason or another. Read more about each of these below.

Table of contents

What are our latest extensions?

 

Zoom Live Events

Zoom Integration Icon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With our new Zoom Live Events extension, you can directly integrate Zoom webinars or video calls and conferences straight into your community events. No more external links, scheduling conflicts or changing passwords for meetings.

What this extension allows you to do is to create a Zoom event within your platform. A Zoom call will automatically be generated at the time of the event and a notification to join will be sent to enrolled attendees. Everything happens inside your platform and within your control!

If you aren’t already familiar with Zoom’s unique features, here are just a few of them:

  • Real-time chat
  • Break-out rooms
  • Mobile support
  • Multiple screen-sharing
  • Video recording

 

Read more about Zoom Live Events

Why is this a game-changer?

In one of our latest blog posts, our industry expert Mathijs Vleeming wrote that the engagement model of associations is changing and that online communities provide a great opportunity for association communities to interact in-between live events and increase their impact as change agents.

This means that Zoom calls, webinars and online conferences aren’t going away after the pandemic. Instead, they are going to become part of larger and more hybrid online community events and modes of engagement. This is why having live events integrated directly into your online community is such a powerful tool for continuous engagement. Zoom calls and events shouldn’t be discrete once-off events, but should rather take place in the same content- and media-rich space in which everyday community engagement happens.

 

BigBlueButton Live Events

BBB Integration Icon

For clients who want an open source alternative to Zoom Live Events, we now also offer BigBlueButton integration. BigBlueButton is one of the most popular tools for creating engaging and interactive webinars and video-calls.

It is ideal for online learning and includes the following features:

  • Multi-user digital whiteboard
  • Polling
  • Real-time chat
  • Break-out rooms
  • Multiple-screen sharing
  • Note-sharing
  • Video recording
  • … and more!

 

Read more about BigBlueButton Live Events

Why is this a game-changer?

With our new extensions, we are giving our clients more and more freedom to choose between popular proprietary software integrations, such as Zoom, and the top open source alternatives for their platforms.

We believe in an open software ecosystem and an open web. Open source alternatives like BigBlueButton allow us and our clients to contribute to a more open software ecosystem, while also benefiting from the trust and transparency that open source software provides.

 

Engagement Automation

Engagement Automation icon

Engagement Automation allows your community manager to free up their time instead of doing repetitive platform administration. With Engagement Automation you can link member actions to trigger specific platform content or events – allowing you to create a sequence of activities to stimulate member engagement.

Sounds complicated? This is how it works:

  • You set up a trigger: Site-managers can set specific triggers, such as when a new member signs in to your platform for the first time.
  • Create a trigger condition (optional): Site-managers can link the trigger to specific conditions. E.g. the member watches a welcoming video on the platform.
  • Connect to an action: Site-managers define what action is performed when the trigger gets resolved, such as sending an email to the member with more information or the next steps they need to take.

 

A great application for this extension is automating onboarding processes by setting up events that lead new members through your platform with welcome messages and notifications as they complete tasks.

Read more about Engagement Automation.

Why is this a game-changer?

Engagement Automation is an extremely powerful and exciting extension that we are rolling out. Using an Event Condition Action (ECA) workflow system, this extension has boundless potential for future development that will help turn your online community into an intelligent automated self-managing system.

The net gain of automating more tasks on your platform is that it releases your community managers from doing boring administrative tasks, and lets them spend their time engaging with community members in more meaningful and personal ways.

 

Gamification

Gamification

Gamification is a proven technique for maximizing online community engagement with badges, challenges, points and more. The Gamification extension lets your members earn points through community activities. You decide which activities or actions earn points – and how many points they earn compared to other activities.

You can then bring out the competitive side of your members and increase engagement with a leaderboard that you can add to a dashboard.

Read more about Gamification.

Why is this a game-changer?

Gamification at Open Social is taking off this year! This is because of our partnership with THX, an innovative startup specializing in exciting new blockchain gamification technology.

Our Gamification extension is going to keep getting more advanced and innovative over time as we roll out new features made possible through our partnership. We believe that gamification (and specifically gamification innovation) is going to be able to fundamentally impact any of our clients’ online community engagement strategies.

 

Real-time Chat

Real-time Chat Icon

Real-time Chat allows your Open Social community members to easily and instantly talk with one another simply by toggling the on-page chat window.

A slide-out chat panel allows members to jump in and out of a conversation. While waiting for an answer to a message, members can easily do something else or continue their work.

Real-time Chat is designed to let your members connect, communicate and share without disrupting their workflow or taking them away from their current activities.

Real-time Chat Web

Read more about Real-time Chat

Why is this a game-changer?

The Real-time Chat extension might seem simple, but it represents a technological shift at Open Social that you might not realize is happening. We are currently ‘decoupling’ the Open Social platform to make it leaner, faster and future-proof. Decoupling means that Open Social will increasingly feel and function more like a modern social media platform with dynamic real-time content-streams all taking place on a single page without the user needing to refresh the page they are on.

As one of our developers, Alexander Varwijk wrote in a recent blog post:

“Real-time Chat represents only the first step toward more widespread, real-time communication in our communities”

 

CiviCRM integration

CiviCRM Integration - Icon

The CiviCRM integration lets your Open Social community seamlessly sync with one of the leading open source constituent relationship management (CRM) software available today.

  • Manage bulk email lists with member segmentation, A/B testing and monitoring
  • Create and track case management workflows within your membership-base
  • Choose one of the 40 standard reports or create custom reports to maximize community impact

 

CiviCRM is the ideal open source system for nonprofit organizations and comes with a full suite of tools, including: event management, email marketing, accounting integration, contact management, contribution management and more.

Read more about CiviCRM Integration

Why is this a game-changer?

CiviCRM is just the first of our CRM integrations. We are aiming to become a platform that is ‘CRM agnostic’, which means that we will eventually be able to integrate with any CRM system used by a client.

So watch this space!

 

Video Upload

Video Upload - Icon

With the Video Upload extension, your members can quickly upload their videos directly to community content and comments. This allows you to:

  • Host videos easily and securely right on your platform
  • Avoid external links or Youtube embeds with annoying third-party ads
  • Keep video content completely secure on your platform

 

Read more about Video Upload.

Why is this a game-changer?

Trend analysis says that 2021 will be “the year of video”. This is also based on a study that predicts that by 2022 a whopping 82% of internet traffic will be video.

What this means is that internet users are getting more used to engaging with video content wherever they go online. As a result of this, your members will expect more and more video content on your online community platform as well.

The Video Upload extension will let you turn your platform into a video-friendly space that makes uploading and sharing videos a breeze for your members.

 

Continuously updating existing extensions and features

A lot of the extensions above are game-changers because of the exciting potential they have for further development as well. As a SaaS company, we continuously update and improve our core features and extensions to make Open Social bigger, better and more interesting to use. This is where the added value lies: when you add an Open Social extension, you are continuously getting new feature updates that you weren’t even expecting!

For example, two of our most recent feature updates are:

Photo Album

With the launch of Open Social Version 10.0.0 we added this exciting new feature to our platform. Photo Album allows members to share more by:

  • Creating personal or group photo albums
  • Uploading multiple images to posts at the same time
  • Easily finding all the albums they’ve created from their profile

 

Photo album feature

Management Dashboard

Management Dashboard is a new addition to the Dashboard extension.

You can now create a dashboard specifically for your community manager or site manager where they can have an overview of all the key performance metrics, community KPIs and other community intelligence.

Setting up a management dashboard gives you clear insights from your community to help you make informed decisions that will improve your platform.

Do you have any Open Social extensions or feature updates that you’d like to see in the future? Add them in a comment below. 

Share your thoughts with us

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