Yesterday, I wrote about my superior Twitter-based customer service experience with Seattle's Bill the Butcher. I was so intrigued by how this small business does its thing that I tracked down the person behind the Tweets. Here's my interview with Terri Ann Johnson, trainer and social media coordinator:
TWF: How did you get started Tweeting?
TAJ: I started as a clerk, or Tenderizer, at our Madison shop and began helping with some marketing initiatives. That turned into being handed the 'keys' to the social media efforts of the company. I started my 'takeover' with a Father's Day Twitter Contest, challenging our followers to write a dedication to dad in less than 140 characters. Since then we have seen our fans or followers nearly double.
TWF: About how many hours a day does she spend monitoring and responding to social media?
TAJ: Depends on the day, and varies from couple hours spread over the course of the day to more concentrated time if we have a promotion or message to communicate --or if getting active feedback from our followers. I now work in the shop a few days of the week, and in the office part of the week, and at home or on mobile as necessary.
During our First Annual Pigskin Promotion -- celebrating pork and football -- I spent time searching out pork recipes and pig/pork or pigskin-related trivia to share daily. [I also] stayed engaged with the audience to help generate some buzz and excitement about the promotion and a drawing that gave some lucky participants football tickets or a Bill the Butcher gift certificate.
With upcoming holidays that are important sales times, as well as having center component of holiday meal, I plan on concentrating a chunk of every day sharing or discussing recipes and meal preparation, answering questions, sharing traditions and trivia, and communicating how Bill the Butcher is here to be a part of holiday planning.
TWF: What tools do you rely on?
TAJ: I make use of HootSuite and a few search tools to help monitor mentions of our shops, which is a huge time-saver. It enables me to easily pick up when, for example, someone on Twitter recommends us to someone looking for turkeys, or someone asking a question on different types of rib meat.
TWF: Why social media good business?
TAJ: Social media gives us the ability to engage in the same conversations we have with customers in the shop, online and above and beyond our shop hours. It enables us to demonstrate our mission statement, our commitment to customer service, and reach an audience far beyond the store walls. We can engage with potential customers before they leave their house, or as they are on their mobile device and just looking for brisket for a recipe. It enables us to really build upon our community in every sense: exchange recipes, articles, events; and convey and our love of meat, sustainable farming & healthy living. We can alert a wide audience on a new or returning product line, or announce a promotion. We can also reach out to clear up misconceptions or react to a bad experience quickly. Social media is customer service, marketing, PR and partnership building all in one; all of which is not just good business but necessary part of business.