Back in June, Apollo Hospitals created a portal which they named “Blood Connections,” that created a community for blood donation. The idea behind this is pretty simple.You can register if you are looking for a blood donor or if you want to donate blood. With an online community idea that helps people in real life situations, this initiative needs to be lauded for its thought. By combining telecom, email and social media portals, it is certainly an interesting idea. But is the idea living up to its potential?
As you log on to the Apollo Blood Connections page, you have the option of either creating a new account, logging in through an existing account, or logging in through Facebook.
On your first registration, you then get the option of importing contacts from Facebook or Google.
Moving on, you get a list of all people with a particular blood group in a particular locality. You can then filter the results on the basis of blood group, locality, and can narrow it down further with a pin code.
You are then given the option to reach out to a particular potential donor through SMS or Email. The portal however, limits this option to a maximum of 20 SMS/day and 50 SMS/month. If you want to be contacted only via email, you can limit these contact options in the settings.
Thus, when you are in need of blood, you enter your blood type, and choose the locality and the database shows you all the people matching the criteria in the database. When you click on the SMS/Email button to contact someone, you can add additional contact information and the units of blood required in a quick compose dialogue box.
If you are in need of blood, there are options on the top, to send out an emergency tweet and emergency post, that let you send out tweets and Facebook posts.
Hence, it is an entire social community in place. In order to promote the same, Apollo Hospitals has been making a few Facebook posts from their official page as well.
On the Apollo Hostipals’ extremely active Twitter Handle, the brand is seen reaching out to people on a one-to-one basis to promote the idea. Along with retweets of people searching for donors, there are tweets to redirect these people to the Blood Connections website.
It is a great idea with huge potential, however, Apollo needs to have more clarity about the initiative and then set it up properly. Detailed information about the project needs to be listed. Blood Connections needs to be linked from the main Apollo Hospitals’ website as well. Apart from this, there are a couple more steps that could bring more convenience and visibility for the project.
Though the “Log in via Facebook” is a popular option, Log in via Twitter is good as well. Why not add that option?
As of now, looking for a donor is easy on a one to one basis, but this is not at all convenient when you don’t have the time to reach out to individuals. The major limitation is that you don’t know whether the person you are contacting is willing to donate or not. Why not create a division between those looking for donors and those willing to donate?
Putting in place a separate Twitter Handle and Facebook page that sends out regular updates for those in need might also spread the idea further. If all automated tweets have a Blood Connections related hashtag, it might make the search for blood donors using Blood Connections easier.
Even if a separate Twitter handle is not put in place, using the @HospitalsApollo handle the way it is being used at present, the brand can retweet tweets sent out using the website to reach a wider audience.
With the increasing dependence on online media, Blood Connections is a one of a kind initiative that combines real life issues with a virtual community. With a more detailed system in place, it can surely turn out to be one of extremely specific online social communities that help make a difference.