Corporate Marketing and Social Media: Phil Jones, Brother, Malcolm Coles, internet content consultant, Neil Hardy, head of e-commerce at the Co-operative Group and Ivan Croxford from BT.
This was a really interesting session with some top dogs from big companies discussing how they have embraced social media, chaired by Massimo Burgio.
I thought I recognised Phil Jones from Brother Printers, and it turns out I’m following him on Twitter (@Philjones40). He explained that he spent good few months using Twitter personally and finding out how it all worked before considering using it for business. He then ran the Twitter account for the first few months and set up the Tweetdeck, before passing it on to a team of employees. One of the other panellists pointed out that it’s rare to get the sales and marketing director implementing social media.
Phil said; “We deploy social media tactically – I don’t have a Facebook group, for example. It’s about making it relevant, and I’m always thinking one level up. I talk TAT – time attention and trust – the things lacking in society now. I no longer distinguish between B2B and B2C marketing anymore, I think it’s B2me. I think consumers really just think about how it affects them.
“I think about all these trends and how to make it relevant to Brother. We use Twitter to listen and engage, and Linked In for a sales perspective. We are profiling our largest customers before we make an approach. We also use You Tube because we want you to know more about out printers.
“Overall, it’s about staying relevant and just doing the things that matter.”
Neil Hardy, from The Co-operative Group said: “We’ve been a bit cautious in terms of Facebook and Twitter. We’re using Twitter to put out news, travel news etc, and also looking to use it as a help line. With Facebook, we are using it as a mechanism for people to talk to us and trying to engage with us.
“Social media is representing what’s happening online but also what’s happening on the high street. Travel reviews and video are very significant for us and we have a partnership with Trip Advisor. Reviews and video are the most important things for us going forward.”
Ivan Croxford from BT explained that they have a customer service channel (@BTcare) which aims to respond to customers who need help. He said: “The customer service teams have embraced social media, in particular Twitter. This has become a very successful channel for us. It’s a very broad relationship you have with customers – more than marketing.
“We’re still at the beginning of exploring how social media can work but applied in an intelligent way it’s going to be critical going forward.”
David Edmundson-Bird asked whether the panel could envisage call centres but for Twitter, with hundreds of people in a contact centre responding to queries. Ivan brought up a great point, which was with Twitter being a real time conversation, customers expect their problems to get solved really quickly and get upset when this doesn’t happen.
Malcolm and Phil both agreed they could see Twitter centres, possibly integrated with communication centres – all doing phone calls, emailed and Twitter.
Another question from the audience asked if all the companies had social media fully integrated with the marketing and business plans, and everyone said it was.
Neil Hardy added, “One of the advantages we have as a travel company is that we get to a different target market. We would try different voucher codes online to target new generation. It’s important we do things a bit differently but keep to the brand line.”
When asked about the cost and economies of responding to Twitter, Phil Jones said: “It’s a trend now. We can’t ask all of you to turn the volume down because we can’t resource it. When someone starts a conversation with you it’s in real time.”
Neil added, ‘I don’t see any difference between a tweet, email or phone call. People can multi-task with communications.”