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Do you have a social media strategy?

by John Coates  |  November 16/2010  |  , , , ,

I was recently asked by a friend, “do you have a social media strategy?” I replied, “No, we actually have a relationship strategy.”

All definition discussion aside, we build relationships with customers. That simply requires going where our customers are.  And it’s why we started using things like Twitter – customers were there asking questions about our products, so we responded.

People don’t understand social media; they think it’s “new”.  The truth is, social media is just like any other channel of communications you maintain with your customers – it’s exactly like telephone, and email, it’s just that most businesses haven’t learned to see it that way yet.

To help change some minds, do you know where we do way more relationship building? It’s talking on the phone, then chatting through email, and finally exchanging cards at conferences. We even take our customers out for dinner to take the conversations offline. We monitor Twitter,  have a Linkedin and Facebook page, but all three produce comparatively less interaction with our customers. We  look at the the whole picture, not getting caught up in new technologies, buzz words or definitions.

Twitter’s most important use for us is as a barometer. Almost everyone at FreshBooks uses search on Twitter to see what customers are saying. So thank you to everyone that Tweets, it makes us smile and motivates us to continue to serve you. Twitter search does provide a great way to get a small sample of what people are saying about you on and offline, but it’s just one way to listen to your customers, don’t forget the time tested and old faithful ways to make your customers happy, like having dinner, or getting on the phone.


  • http://www.safestacks.com Jeff Teschke

    Well said! I’ve always looked up to FreshBooks because of the “little things” you do for your customers (like diners, sending signed magazines, etc.).

    We recently launched our web-app (Safestacks) and will be doing our best to keep up with you! :)

  • http://www.electric-pen.com nickyelectric

    Great post. I’ve been saying for ages that social media is just like any other conversation you have. There does seem to be a fear factor with a lot of people who seem to worry that they’ll say the wrong thing, but that goes for every conversation you have surely.

    Like you say, it’s nothing new, it’s just a different way of connecting :)

  • http://customersrock.net Becky Carroll

    John, perfectly stated. You go where your customers are, you interact with them there, and you build on your existing relationships. Sometimes it happens on Twitter, but as you said, often it happens via the website, phone, or in person.

    Once companies start looking at social media as a way to further their customer relationships, rather than as a cool campaign, they will be less caught-up in the technologies and more focused on their customer strategy.

    You rock!


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