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.