Listening to Customer Feedback: Kathleen Talks About Building Brands with Twitter

Interviewer’s Note:  I’ve been talking a bit about the public relations disasters that can happen when companies turn a deaf ear to social media-borne customer complaints, but today’s interview addresses the flip-side of that dynamic.  Kathleen Sperduti, who works for MacReportMedia, is a PR firm that makes extensive use of social media.  In my interview with her, she talks about how she counsels companies to take advantage of feedback they receive in its many online varieties.

Hi Kathleen, welcome to the Pluggio Blog!  In a nutshell, how do you describe your business?  What do you do for your clients?

MacReportMedia is a leading investor and public relations network that specializes in small and micro cap public companies. We do press release distribution, EDGAR filings, IR/PR campaigns and we are also one of the first providers to all encompassing campaign that focuses on the imporatance of social media in order to gain more visibility to the websites of our clients.

What role does Twitter and\or social media play in your business?

Social media is a great way for us to reach our audience in a more personal way. We can gain feedback directly from the audience in order to shape our online content (by giving more of what they like, less of what they don’t) and deliver breaking news as soon as it happens. Additionally, the social media scene gives us new avenues above and beyond the traditional news wire outlets for increasing visibility for our clients, allowing us to focus on not just news they may wish to publish but also helping them with developing their brand and online presence.
What impact or change have you seen due to Twitter/social marketing?

Social media gives the general public the ability to interact with and in many cases, provide important feedback to our clients in a way that was never possible with the traditional ‘consumption’ news aggregation model.

As a customer, social marketing is a great way to voice my opinion on the product, good or bad, and receive the response I was looking for in a timelier manner.

How can companies and customers use social media for those purposes?  Why do you feel it’s vital?

Companies with social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter are also a great place for customers to come together and talk about their experiences. If you’ve never heard or never tried a product before, you can go to a Facebook page or a Twitter account and read some testimonies.

In order for our company to be successful, we believe it is vitally important to listen to feedback from our customers. Their feedback to us has a direct impact on our day to day direction. This is how we shape our marketing and our websites. If there’s something that works and the customer is really enjoying it, why not do more of it? If something isn’t working, I want to hear why so we can fix it and try again.

Are there any of your accomplishments with social marketing that you are particularly proud of?

We have created a brand awareness for many of our clients that was not possible only a couple of years ago. Traditionally a company would establish an online presence with a website. This would be a relatively static component that would not allow the company and their customers to interact in any truly meaningful way. This new approach forces any and all marketing to be an effort that the company themselves must undertake. With our IR initiative, we have given companies the ability to take advantage of the natural effects of social media, such as word of mouth or viral advertising. Additionally, by taking advantage of many social media platforms we are able to provide real-time feedback related to customer awareness that just isn’t possible with a static website alone. We truly believe we have added a tremendous value impact to our customers who have utilized our IR services.

How do Twitter/social media help you achieve your goals?

Twitter and social media provide access to not only current clients, but potential clients. If we post or tweet something that interests a follower (or even a follower of a follower) they can speak directly to us and get more information about us and our services.

It’s also a great way to find new content. In order to use social media (including Twitter) effectively, it’s important to have interesting and relevant content in order to attract an audience.

How did you build your following?  What kinds of people/businesses are they?

Other businesses/people in the industry (financial, media) and past customers.

How will you choose who you will follow?  What do you look for in a follower?

Finance, Media (including people in Public Relations and Journalism) News networks (National and Local) we also like to follow clients (if they have a Twitter account)

What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can do?

The great thing about Twitter is its simplicity. Facebook’s switch over to the timeline feature caused a huge stir, not just because of its sharing capabilities, but because it was a little complicated to understand. Other social networking sites like Linkedin and even Google+ may require you to actually know someone in order to start the networking. With Twitter, you can start with a company profile and as you begin to network, you can add as you go. Twitter has also stayed away from adding too many features, keeping it simple for everyone to use: Can you copy and paste a link? Can you keep your message under 140 characters? Great, then you can use Twitter.

What lessons have you learned about Twitter and online marketing?

With Twitter, you only have 140 characters to say what you have to say. We have learned to keep my message short and sweet and get directly to the point.  This helps with online marketing in other networks. No one wants to read a long, drawn out message and finally reach the point. Content needs to be eye catching and interesting from the start, or you will lose your audience.

Follow Kathleen on Twitter here.
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