When Companies “Get” Social Media

I always get really excited when companies and brands that I’m familiar with have a strong social media presence and utilize it well. Nothing is more aggravating than seeing a company fake their online savviness. Just because your company has a Facebook profile and follow a million people Twitter, does not mean you’re a leader in social media. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always a little offended when a company decides to follow me on Twitter, regardless if I would actually benefit from their services or product. Shouldn’t a company engage in social media to connect with their key audience, not to the faceless masses?

I’m very passionate about two things: The Music Industry and Social Media. To feed my hunger for the Music Industry, I manage a band, Earthtone. Seeing as the band is pretty young (they’ve been together since April) and they’re the first band I’ve ever managed independently, most of our work is DIY and “grassroots” (as is the general direction of the Music Industry these days). One resource we’ve begun to utilize is Sonicbids, “a Web site that helps bands get gigs, and promoters book the right bands.” Their mission is, β€œTo empower the artistic middle class.”

A few weeks ago, I was setting up Earthtone’s account on Sonicbids and I came across a few obstacles. My first instinct was to go to Twitter (I may or may not be obsessed…). I tweeted and asked if anyone had any experience using Sonicbids. Within the hour, I received direct messages from two Sonicbids employees, at the tune of “Hey Meghan. Saw your tweet about Sonicbids. Is there anything in particular you’re wondering? Feel free to email at ……!”

WOW! I was impressed with their response and eagerness to help. I sent an e-mail to the address, asked for some troubleshooting advice. I was still having problems (on my part, not theirs) and the fine folks at Sonicbids had me e-mail them my files, and they put together the parts of the profile that I was having trouble with. Having spent most of my summer internship on the phone with the Help Desk because I used a computer that ran Windows 98 (really, Live Nation?!), I was expecting a long and tedious process to get my problems solved, but it was fixed almost immediately.

I’m always suspect when I use a site’s anonymous “contact us” e-mail address or submission form. I want to know that my question is important and that my concern will be heard. Thanks to social media, companies and brands are able to engage with their customers, fast and more efficiently.

A Marketing Vox article, “How-To: Using Twitter to Build Brand Integrity” highlights several great strategies for companies and brands (IMO, Sonicbids is right on track). A few key points include:

  • Don’t just be casual; be personal. Enterprise blogging works best when a blogger is frank about what’s happening in his company. But it is generally understood that the blogger will not discuss his personal life. On Twitter, people expect to learn about you. Only then will they care about your company. The CEO of Zappos generated a sizable following for taking this philosophy to heart. He addresses Zappos employees and Zappos issues, but he also shares the things he saw while walking to the airport.
  • Be responsive. When you address the CEO of Zappos, he replies to you. The sense you “know” him contributes to goodwill surrounding the brand, which many people already have strong positive feelings about. If you don’t have time for Twitter, find an employee or brand advocate who does. It will probably serve you better if people build relationships with your warm and friendly intern, versus with cold and negligent you.
  • Ask for help. From time to time, ask followers what they think about a given campaign or product. Consider their advice. Tell them if you incorporate it. This lends the sense your company values them β€” not merely as users but as friends with sound opinions.

[Visit the link for more points and further detail]

What companies and brands do you engaged with that use social media effectively?

What advice would you give to a company that is breaking into social media?

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10 thoughts on “When Companies “Get” Social Media”

  1. Was interested to note that you had such good experience with Sonicbids employees. It’s good to know that there are “real” people working there.

    I signed up a couple of months ago & have started to feel like it’s one big money pit….throw your cash in and get nothing out! I’d love to know if you’ve managed to actually get any work or good leads from the site?

    I’m yet to come across anyone that’s earned more than they’ve put in (if that).

  2. If you loved that kind of response, you would also absolutely love Get Satisfaction. I was absolutely obsessed with it for a week, until I figured out most of my own problems and got annoyed with all the way way way un-tech savvy people on there. Check it out, though!

  3. Interesting post. Begs the question where is the link between company forums and social networking sites like Twitter/Get Satisfaction.

    Given that the social networking sites have a much bigger following than most company’s efforts, should they put more emphasis in this area?

    BTW, for those new to Twitter, I’ve put together this tutorial:
    http://www.cagedether.com/twitter/

  4. Follow up:
    Regarding my response to your blog, I received a lovely email from Tess, a Sonicbids employee who gave me a list of artists in similar genres of music to mine.
    She suggested I contact them, & even offered to contact them on my behalf if I wanted!

    I must say I am very impressed with their customer service!

  5. I was impressed by “Wolf of Wall St’ (book by Jordan Belfort) believe it or not. I said I liked th book and immediately got a Twitter back saying ‘Thank you for Reading it. I’m so glad you enjoyed it”. Now I will remember the book and continue to recommend to friends.

  6. Just found your blog today – great post. I find that Twitter is becoming more and more where I go to find answers about companies or products. It impresses me a lot when a rep from a company will take the time to genuinely help out. I think that alone can make one service over the other that much more valuable for me to use (knowing that there is a channel where I can get help instantly or problems solved quickly).

    I also am very passionate about music (and becoming more so about social media). When I managed a band in Minneapolis, I found that ReverbNation is an essential site to use (http://www.reverbnation.com/). Lots of great tools for creating mailing lists and street teams, tons of widgets, and lots of other cool ways to get more attention for you band.

  7. Very very true – staying personal, especially within certain circles where authenticity is valued (and I think musicians fall within that category) is crucial to gaining trust.

    You posted a comment on one of our blog posts recently – that post was actually a good example of what you are talking about here.. We contacted Derek Sivers before posting that article because we weren’t sure if he wanted to attract publicity before the launch. He was kind enough to answer with a long email and gave us permission to blog about his newest venture (for those who don’t know, Derek is a very influential person in the web-music space, and we didn’t expect an answer that gracious or that quickly)

    “Muckwork” then tweeted about our post, which of course was rewarding because it gave us a sense that muckwork appreciates our interest in their product – and that there are real people behind this company that care about their potential customers.
    This is definitely an example to follow for anyone trying to “grow” (whether it be a band or a brand) online and offline.

    I just added you on Twitter, look forward to more insights on music+social media πŸ™‚
    Mruff!
    Greg

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