Interviews


Real Companies Using Social Media: Chrometa on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Phone

Real Companies Using Social Media: Chrometa on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Phone

chrometa founders

This post is part of our series where we talk to real companies 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, our interview is with Chrometa cofounder Brett Owens, who has some great insight regarding which “social media” channels offer great ROI. You can keep up with Chrometa on their blog, LinkedIn group, 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.

We make software that helps people account for their time…it’s basically time tracking software that does all the work for you. Most of our customers are professionals who bill hourly – like lawyers – who need to account for their time down to the minute. We founded the company about 2 and 1/2 years ago. We have 3 full-time employees, and several part-time team members that help us out in varying capacities.

How much of your business comes from the web, either via social media or via traditional web?

100% of our business comes from the web – more of it comes from traditional web, but a decent portion will come from coverage we’ve received on blogs, which would fall under the social media category I believe…even though some will say blogs are “soooo 2005″!

When did you start engaging in social media?

When we launched our 1st release in early 2009, we started getting active in social media as a company.

Who manages your social media efforts?

I quarterback them, and our product manager, JP, is also quite active, so we’ve got a team effort going.

What networks are you active on?

We are probably most active on LinkedIn, where we have a User Group, in addition to our personal accounts and networks. We’re also pretty active on Twitter, both from a personal and corporate standpoint.

Which have been the biggest drivers of business for you?

Traditional web methods are by and large the biggest drivers for us. Users will usually find us after reading about us somewhere – often from an industry source such as a blog, email newsletter, etc – then they’ll hop over to our site and check us out.

Describe any customer interactions that stick out in your mind

We have a support practice that always floors people – when they send in a support question or issue, we usually pick up the phone and call them back to help them personally. They usually fall out of their chairs that a real person actually called them back, and when we’re able to help them, they are extremely appreciative.

So for us, an “old school” social media tool, the telephone, has been a great way to connect with customers. In fact we offer free phone support in addition to email support, because we want to encourage people to pick up the phone if they want to chat live with us.

What software tools or web apps do you use in your social media efforts?

We use TweetDeck to manage our Twitter action – we’ll always monitor what’s being said about Chrometa, as we like to participate in those conversations. And then we use LinkedIn’s website for managing our user group and connecting with our users who have an LI profile. For support, we love GetSatisfaction, and we encourage users to head over to our GetSatisfaction page to post questions, ideas, etc. Finally we have a WordPress powered blog, that we primarily use to communicate product info.

For your business, what makes social media different from other channels?

It’s more personal – social media is all about personality. And people who use social media are easier to get a hold of and communicate with – for example, it’s usually much easier to connect with a blogger, than a writer for a more traditional type of publication.

What has been the most challenging part of dealing with social media?

It’s easy to spend A LOT of time on social media, so it’s always a challenge to make sure that we are not spending too much time on social media without generating value from it. It’d be easy to spend all day staring at the Twitter streams!

What are your social media plans for 2010?

We’re going to continue to use our blog to communicate product updates and future enhancements…people seem to enjoy that use. And we’ll continue to grow our user group, with LinkedIn being the central source of that activity. Finally we plan to continue to use GetSatisfaction, both for community based support, but also for aggregating and keeping track of product feature requests and ideas.

Much thanks to Brett for taking the time to talk to us, and be sure to check out Chrometa’s blog, join the LinkedIn group, and follow them on Twitter. 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.

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Real Companies Using Social Media: Aquapac Dives Into the Conversation

Real Companies Using Social Media: Aquapac Dives Into the Conversation

Aquapac Kitesurfer

This post is part of our series where we talk to real companies 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 to Tim Turnbull, CEO of Aquapac. You can keep up with Aquapac on Facebook or follow then 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.

We’ve been in business since 1983. We make a range of innovative waterproof cases that not only protect your iPhone, camera, eBook, etc but also allow you to actually use the gear normally while it’s in the case. We make other kinds of 100% waterproof cases too, such as backpacks and drybags. We currently employ 14 people in London, half of them doing the manufacturing, and we have a director in Oyster Bay, NY who runs our US sales. Read more »

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Real Companies Using Social Media: How SmartyCard Makes Kids Smarter

Real Companies Using Social Media: How SmartyCard Makes Kids Smarter

A satisfied SmartyCard user

This is the first post in our new series where we talk to real companies 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 to Aaron Burcell, VP of Marketing for SmartyCard. Aaron has some interesting insights about both social media and customer development and how they’re using it as part of their mission to provide kids with high-quality games that are both fun and educational. You can keep up with SmartyCard on their blog or follow SmartyCard 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.

SmartyCard is a startup incubated within Gazillion Entertainment — same founders as Gazillion — less than 20 employees. SmartyCard is both a supplemental education games service AND a flexible virtual currency that empowers kids to earn and access family-friendly virtual worlds, MMOGs, games, books, toys, DVDs and downloadable media from well-known brands like Club Penguin, WebKinz, Nickelodeon Games and iTunes. Read more »

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New Series: How Real Companies Around the World Do Social Media

New Series: How Real Companies Around the World Do Social Media

We’ve been talking to a lot of businesses over the last six months about how they use social media and what it’s done for their business. We’ve learned a lot, from what products we should build to how we should market them. We thought it might be interesting to share some stories and interviews with these companies and others we’ve found along the way. We hear a lot about how Fortune 500 companies are using social media, and we hear a lot in the echo chamber of the web industry, but what about the rest of the world? What about the mom-and-pop diner in Iowa, or the machine shop in Delaware? What about the dive shop in Belize or the artisanal garment factory in Paris? How has social media impacted their world?

The companies and individuals we’ll be profiling and interviewing represent a broad spectrum of commercial activity, from freelancers to small firms to large corporations. They come from many different industries, including health, non-profits, media, telecommunications, and more. They have two things in common: they’ve had positive results working with social media, and they handle their social media in-house, instead of farming it out to an agency.

The first of the interviews will be posted next week and we hope you enjoy them. If your company would like to be profiled or you know of a company that would be interesting to interview, please contact us. Thanks!

PS – We’d especially love to hear from more companies based outside of the US!

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