Group Leader Interview: Norbert Keil, IT-Connection, XING

Norbert Keil is the group moderator of XING’s IT-Connection group – a group which recently participated in a community engagement campaign with Astaro – a leading global IT security vendor.

Norbert shared with us his learning’s and insights into how best to partner with brands to ensure everybody wins including the groups’ members, the advertiser and the groups’ leaders.

What was your motivation behind creating the IT-Connection group on XING?

My motivation was to support my sales activities and to get more visibility in the web.

What is the value for members joining the group?

Business -networking including high level IT-knowledge.

What motivates you to engage your members?

Activity is the key for an efficient group, otherwise your group has no distinctive feature.

How much time do you invest into your group?

Approximately 20 hours / week, sometimes less or more

What benefit do you think can brands offer a group?

Brands are able to create a win-win situation within the group. The group gains knowledge, the brand gains visibility.

What do you think about engagement campaign initiated by brands within groups?

The campaign has to be well prepared and coached. The approach within social networks is different to traditional advertising.

What were you biggest concerns, regarding the seeding of branded content within groups?

The biggest concern was the success of the project. If we took to much advertising content, the whole campaign could fail.

How did your members respond to content provided by a brand?

The response was very positive.

How did you feel working close together with a brand, whilst offering the brand’s content to your community?

I tried to put oneself in the role of the brand, in order to fulfil the prospects.

What was positive/negative regarding the workflow?

The project team was open minded and very professional. My personal time frame was short.

To accept a sponsorship/ engagement campaign, what does a brand need to offer to you?

The whole package should fit: concept – content – flexibility – budget

In which case you wouldn’t accept an offer?

If the package does not fit.

How do you invest the earnings of engagement campaigns?

We invest in the group and in new campaigns.

Which 5 tips would you give any brand trying to engage with members of a group today?

  1. Please consider: the approach within social networks is different to traditional advertising.
  2. Avoid pushy direct advertising
  3. Occupy oneself with the group and try to understand the need and wish
  4. Please try to follow any of your discussions, in order to react within short term
  5. Please take care of your online profile. This should be up to date & include an actual business-picture

What are your personal 5 best practises to engage your members?

  1. Content is king – actuality, complexity, interesting, sometimes comprehensive, sometimes specific,
  2. Neutrality of the moderator – team
  3. Balanced combination of on- and offline activities
  4. Balanced combination of sponsored and group-member activities
  5. Co-operations with other group / moderator in order to create win-win-situations

What was your biggest key learning from this pilot?

The number of participants for the free trail package was pretty high.


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