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Moving offline engagement online

Posted by Louise Andrews on 9th July 2010

Anyone who knows me will know I’m partial to (more than) the odd beer at my local pub. But when it closed indefinitely last month, us villagers were quick to up sticks and walk the 20 yards across the road to join the Royal British Legion.

I’ve paid my subs for the year, the membership card sits nicely in my purse and I’ll admit I’ve become a real fan. The beer is flowing (at a much reduced rate), you always get a warm welcome from old Fred behind the bar and they’ve even got a new bowl for the dog so he can join in the proceedings.

It’s a charity I’m very pleased to be supporting, so I was keen to move my new found allegiance online and look for the British Legion on Twitter.

But oh dear.

I checked out @RBLPOPPY and @POPPYSUPPORT . But where was my warm welcome? The cheery banter? The sense of community?

@RBLPOPPY just shows me a list of URLs about how to become a member of the forces, with no updates since the beginning of this year. I don’t want to sign-up to the army, but I do want to know how my support is helping veterans and wouldn’t mind the odd bit of interaction (akin to my little chats with Fred) via Twitter.  No @ replies either (unless you count the one to Cheryl Cole applauding her on a great X Factor show). Crikey.

@POPPYSUPPORT
seems better. A greater variety of news and information provided by the team, but I did get the sense I was being bombarded with links rather than getting drawn into a conversation, and it all appears to be focused around the Autumn to link in with Remembrance Day. Surely it would be better to keep me engaged all year round and use loyal followers to draw in even more fans by the time the poppies go on sale next year?

But now I’m starting to feel a bit mean. I really do like the British Legion and what it stands for.

I guess my disappointment stems from knowing that they do offline communities so very well and wishing they would transfer that sentiment to their online presence, and potentially bring a whole new generation of British Legion fans with them.

Louise Andrews

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile and versatile Associate Director and fantastic resource for the team, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.