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 Emilie Fontaine at MOO. Check them out at MOO.com/blog 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.
MOO is an online printing company, helping people take their online identities into the real world. We help everyone from bloggers to small businesses, freelancers, crafters, photographers, makers and sellers share their contact details and their work. Unlike traditional printers, MOO lets you print a different image on every card in a pack – so for lots of people it’s like a mini portfolio in their pocket.
We’re three years old now, and have expanded from a small office in London, with 9 employees to a slightly bigger office in London, with about 30 employees. We also have an office in Rhode Island, USA, which is pretty exciting for us.
How much of your business comes from the web, either via social media or via traditional web?
Most of our business comes from the web. Our products are created and purchased online, and we consider ourselves an ‘online company’ despite the fact the end product is a physical one.
We’re very active in certain communities – so our business comes from both traditional web and social media.
When did you start engaging in social media?
We’ve engaged with social media from day 1; our initial launch was with the photo sharing site, Flickr. It made perfect sense for us, allowing people to get digital images off the screen and into their hands – sharing not just their photos, but their Flickr urls with friends.
From the start, customers were also sharing photos of the products they’d made and we, as a company, have always played an active role in the conversations that spring from there.
Who manages your social media efforts?
As often happens in start ups, where its ‘all hands on deck’, some of our employees took on multiple roles. Our Creative Director is also our Community Manager, having had experience with new and emerging communities before. Gradually, as the company gets bigger and there are more demands on people’s time, the day-to-day management will be shared among the team.
What networks are you active on?
Aside from our blog we can be found on Flickr (MOO has it’s own account and there are various MOO groups too) LiveJournal, Vox, Facebook and Twitter. We’re also lurking on Linked In.
Which have been the biggest drivers of business for you?
Word of mouth marketing has always been great for us – whether on or offline. People really love the feel of the cards and talk about them very positively in their various communities. Now, customers can find us via blogs or social networks, but we’re also featured in the press and we travel to shows and events too.
Describe any customer interactions that stick out in your mind
We’re very lucky – when people meet the team in person, either at industry events, conferences or socially, we very often hear the words ‘Oh! I love MOO!’ It’s lovely that people react so positively, and we’re always happy to talk about their cards and how they’re using them.
Our online customer service team are also very nice people. We’ve had hand delivered gifts of thanks, from cakes to baskets of fruit and bottles of wine. It’s amazing and wonderful to us that that people can be so kind.
What software tools or web apps do you use in your social media efforts?
For the time being, nothing out of the ordinary. Different people use different apps for twitter, something we’ll standardise in the future. We use WordPress for our blog, Feedburner, Google Analytics etc.
For your business, what makes social media different from other channels?
We love getting feedback, it helps us make better products and social media is the quickest way to do that. We think it should be exciting making cards to promote your business, or your latest project, and we love hearing people’s excitement, or seeing their images first hand. Aside from the customer service advantages, it’s still a big buzz for the team.
What has been the most challenging part of dealing with social media?
Time! Like any business we have deadlines, meetings – sometimes we even leave the office to go home and sleep. Social media is always on, and so more time in the day would be wonderful.
What are your social media plans for 2010?
Top secret I’m afraid. If we told you that, wed have to kill you – but thank you for asking.
I appreciate Emilie taking the time to talk to us, and I encourage you to check out MOO.com/blog 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.