Social media at a glance
R+V Versicherung is one of the leading insurance groups in Germany. As such R+V is maintaining various social media media channels in order to keep in touch with their customers. The R+V Social Media Team tweets, posts and writes about current developments, events and security risks.
This scattered information is aggregated in the R+V-Newsroom, where it is presented with a modern skin. Giving the user a dynamic, flexible interface to all R+V social media activities was the key goal of this project.
At launch day more than 9,000 social media posts from past years had been imported. Various APIs are polled more than 600 times each day to import new content to the Newsroom.
Master of APIs
The R+V Newsroom collects news about the R+V and R+V24 brands from eight sources, polling 14 accounts in total. These include various social networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, as well as XING, Flickr, Wordpress, and two R+V press portals.
The retrieved posts are aggregated by the Newsroom and then resyndicated in wide range of formats. In addition to the classic HTML view on www.ruv-newsroom.de the stream of posts is available as both RSS and JSON. The Newsroom can also be embedded into other web pages as a widget.
Any of these formats can be filtered by tags or origin. For example, R+V might include a filtered widget into their career page that will automatically present the latest posts tagged #karriere.
Smart error handling
By definition, external APIs are under external control. Hence downtimes and other remote problems can lead to local issues in the own system.
makandra uses a combination of asynchronous processing and intelligent error handling to account for these external issues. A failing import is retried several times in increasing intervals. Only after a number of failed retries the development team will be notified. Using this approach, intermittent problems are resolved automatically and developers only need to fix real problems.
Content management system included
In order to give the R+V social media team full control of their new content hub, the Newsroom has been equipped with a professional backend. Using this backend all aspects of the application can be controlled:
- The properties of all topic pages can be edited. A stream of posts or a photo gallery can be included in any page. The URL of each page can be controlled by setting a "slug".
- The backend allows to add "pinned posts". This is a special type of post that is created manually rather than being imported. Pinned posts will be highlighted at the top of their stream. They can also be used as a welcome message or as an introductory message to a topic.
- Editors can manage widgets for embedding a stream of posts into other websites. The stream shown in a widget can be filtered and limited to a number of posts.
- The available filter tags can also be managed in the backend.
makandra was tasked with the technical implementation of this project. Conception and project coordination with the customer were performed by d.Tales, a content marketing agency from Munich. Christian Ringleb from Ringleb.UX created the frontend design that was then implemented by makandra.
„The design was implemented very accurately“, Christian Ringleb says. We can confirm the enjoyable and productive collaboration with Christian and believe that the result speaks for itself.
Thank you very much!
Development and operations from a single source
From the very beginning, the Newsroom's testing and production environments have been hosted on makandra's high-availability server infrastructure in a German datacenter. A redundant systems architecture guarantees that the Newsroom is always accessible and that R+V Versicherung can syndicate their social media activities around the clock.