This is a guest post by Christine Townsend, founder of MusterPoint

It’s been a little over a year since I first decided to design and build my own social media monitoring and management platform.

MusterPoint was created with the sole aim of offering a cost-effective solution to help large organisations manage social media effectively.

Having worked in policing both as communication professional and a special constable, I could see the benefits of engaging online with the public and have always been keen on enabling individuals and organisations to do so.

As ever, many barriers kept cropping up and I was growing increasingly frustrated with the limited options available for monitoring social media. The main concern was how prohibitively expensive existing solutions were – they essentially limited growth of adoption within the organisation.

I wanted something that would work fully across the organisation – taking into account the corporate communication function working seamlessly with the contact centre. The two should never be mutually exclusive and I am a firm believer that all contact centres should be answering the public’s enquiries online. After all, when the phone rings and someone asks where the nearest police station is, it certainly wouldn’t be put through to the media office to answer.

However, finding something that would allow tens, if not hundreds of people to respond to social media enquiries as they would the telephone was going to cost a small fortune – the funds for which were certainly never going to be made available.

In addition, the level of audit and accountability simply wasn’t there so after working on some consultancy work with a police force, I decided to set up on my own.

The key thing is that I wanted to have a collaborative approach to the build. Any suggestions for enhancements would be implement for everyone at no extra cost, and most importantly, there would be no limit on users or social media accounts.

MusterPoint was once a small germ of an idea in my head, but once I started designing and getting feedback, it started to take shape. Now it’s being used by a couple of police forces to monitor social media 24/7 and a number of public sector agencies and local government are trialling it.

It’s been a tough year, but I’ve received fantastic praise and feedback for MusterPoint. It’s also been a very steep learning curve, but MusterPoint is really helping organisations to benefit from engaging with the public online at a fraction of the cost of alternatives.

Looking forward, MusterPoint looks set to grow to enable other sectors such as the transport industry enable their call centres to engage online.

I’ve met some great people along the way who have all contributed to making MusterPoint a fantastic product, without whom, it would probably still be a scribble on a notepad. It was a great moment being able to sponsor Blue Light Camp back in April and it was there in 2012 that I started thinking about what I could do to improve what we had. You can read how that came about here.

As a result of my bumpy journey, I’ve started to write a blog to give an insight into what it’s like getting a business off the ground when you don’t have anything but an idea and some determination. You can read it here.

If you want to find out more about MusterPoint, take a look at the info or contact me or via LinkedIn.

A dummies guide to making an idea work – building a software platform with no experience
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