This post is part of our series where we talk to real companies (and other organizations) around the world to find out how they’re leveraging social media, how it has impacted their business, and what lessons they’ve learned. Today we’re talking with Tara Anderson at Lijit. Check them out at Lijit.com or follow them on Twitter here.
Tell me a little about your company, what you do, how long you’ve been in business, how many employees you have, etc.
Lijit Networks provides search and advertising services to online publishers. We’ve created a relevant search tool that bloggers can install on their sites, allowing readers to find more of their content and giving them stats about what those readers are searching for. The newest part of our business has been in helping publishers better monetize their site with our ad services.
There are currently over 11,000 online publishers using our search and you can find us on some of the biggest sites out there, including FAIL blog, Lamebook, Neatorama and VeloNews.
We’ve been in business for almost four years, have over thirty employees and consider ourselves lucky to work in beautiful downtown Boulder, Colorado.
How much of your business comes from the web, either via social media or via traditional web?
It’s safe to say that a large majority of our business comes from the web.
When did you start engaging in social media?
Since we make a tool for bloggers, it’s made sense for us to engage in blogging from the get-go. Almost everyone at Lijit has a blog, although some of us update ours more than others. We hopped on Twitter in 2007 but didn’t start becoming active on it until 2008, when I took over the maintenance of it. The majority of our users are on Twitter, so it makes sense for us to have a presence there.
Who manages your social media efforts?
As marketing manager, it falls under my scope to manage these efforts but since we have so many employees active on Twitter, everyone helps out with re-tweeting important announcements.
What networks are you active on?
We’re probably the most active on Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, we also have a Flickr account where we post pictures and answer support questions within our Get Satisfaction community.
Not to mention the fact that we take a lot of pride in our company blog, The Second Click.
Which have been the biggest drivers of business for you?
My money’s on Twitter. All it takes is one of our users mentioning something they like about our service and we see new sign-ups sent our way. Customer evangelists are a beautiful thing.
Describe any customer interactions that stick out in your mind.
There are many but I love it when our users are surprised by the fact that we’re listening and that we’re quick to respond.
Twitter has also been incredibly helpful in dealing with quick tech support questions (if there is such a thing). If a user needs something, we can shoot them an answer or let them know that we’re working on a fix. And, I think Twitter helps to humanize us because I can be funny and show that our company has a unique personality.
Not to mention the fact that we like to link to our publishers when they’re posting good stuff. Twitter allows us to give back some of that love to the people that keep us in business: our users.
What software tools or web apps do you use in your social media efforts?
I’m a big fan of Filtrbox (a local Boulder company located a few blocks from us) which tracks mentions of Lijit on blogs and Twitter. Also, BackType has been great at picking up Lijit references within blog comments, which is where conversations can really take off. And of course, where would be without Twitter Search? I occasionally use HootSuite to schedule tweets and love bit.ly for tracking clicks when we announce a new feature or blog post.
As you can tell, I tend to favor a “less is more” approach when it comes to the tools I use. There are plenty other good ones out there but I hate to feel overwhelmed when the purpose of these tools is to make social media monitoring easier.
For your business, what makes social media different from other channels?
Like I mentioned above, we want to be where the conversation is happening. And because we make a tool for bloggers, people are talking about us on their blogs and often, on Twitter.
What has been the most challenging part of dealing with social media?
Honestly, it’s probably the 24/7 nature of the beast. Living where we do, we’re firm believers in the work-life balance and it can be difficult to check Twitter mentions from the ski slopes. But I think that most of our users understand that we’re only human, but it’s still difficult, especially since I like to sleep at least seven hours a night.
What are your social media plans for 2010?
I’d be happy to continue along the same path, using the power of social media for good and not evil. And also, to keep our social media use totally Lijit.
I appreciate Tara taking the time to talk to us, and I encourage you to check out Lijit.com and follow them on Twitter here. We’re always looking for interesting companies and individuals to talk to, so if you know of anyone that would like to be profiled, please contact us.