Social media in big companies

A couple of months ago Telstra joined Twitter via their ISP Big Pond, I and others wrote harshly about how the implementation had been a failure. Since that time the Telstra team have been taking on board the feedback and have made significant changes to the way they engage with people online.  After initially trying to go alone they have engaged with some of the best minds on social media in Australia to change their approach. The changes have been so dramatic I am surprised and impressed.

The original engagement via Twitter was:

@bushgeek Got a BigPond® query?! Ask about BigPond® via this link http://tinyurl.com/ 5ufhvf & a BigPond consultant will email you back.

Now this is a typical customer engagement via Twitter:

@jackmcintyre It’s a known issue being worked on,we suggest keep calling Tech to get it more attention to get it fixed quicker.

They are also having a bit of fun with people, yesterday was games day:

@BigPondTeam Wow! There are some fast people out there. #1 track currently is ‘Poker Face’ by Lady Gaga for $0.99 and its DRM Free! about 17 hours ago from TweetDeck

@BigPondTeam Who can tell me what is the #1 track on BigPond Music, and how much does it cost to purchase? about 18 hours ago from TweetDeck

@BigPondTeam We are going to try a few different things today, so feel free to play along!! #BPS

They are generating interest in some of the services on offer and yes this is marketing but in a fun way. I played along and to tell you the truth will go back to the Big Pond site to check out what is there.

Telstra also ran a short survey yesterday to get feedback from a number of people on how they were performing on Twitter. Before filling in the survey I thought I would ask my Twitter followers their thoughts as well. Here are a few.

pollyemj @mspecht my only interaction with @BigPondTeam was a bit spooky – just weird to be contacted randomly after i mentioned them in a tweet about 19 hours ago from twhirl in reply to mspecht

joshsharp @mspecht after a terrible start they very quickly took on feedback and turned it around. they’ve actually done a quite good job.. about 19 hours ago from twhirl in reply to mspecht

jurgen @mspecht I think they’re doing a good job. It’s personal and personable. Friendly and forthright. Not just an announcement stream. about 19 hours ago from NatsuLion in reply to mspecht

ourfounder @mspecht I’m obviously across the big pond,but looking over their tweet history I like the voice and regularity of the posts. Good info too. about 19 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to mspecht

After further clarification from @pollyemj I found this interaction was at the start during the corporate robot response period.  The overall feeling matched mine. Terrible start, great improvement.

This gets me to wonder, the employees at Big Pond who are working with their customers in a more human and open fashion are they more engaged employees? Do they now enjoy their job more? Do they trust their employer?

5 thoughts on “Social media in big companies

  1. I don’t work in BigPond, but I work closely with the BigPond team and it’s alway been a positive experience.

    It’s always a case of ‘how can we make this happen’ versus ‘jeeez, let me tell you why this idea won’t work’.

    As well, their manager, Brady Jacobsen empowers the team to experiment with new ideas.

    Hopefully the survey will have more ideas that will allow the BigTeam to take it a notch higher.

    Cheers,
    Mike Hickinbotham
    Telstra Blogger – The Scrum

  2. As one of BigPond’s tweeters it is great to see more positive blogs coming in. The feedback we have gained from blogs (yes we do try and read them all) and also from tweets is invaluable.

    From an employees point of view, Jase, Steph & myself do feel more engaged. We are giving the ‘faceless corporation’ as @Raddus puts it, a face and are showing that we do care about what people say and think about us. Its not always an easy task, but it is one that we enjoy. Honestly, I look forward to coming into work and interacting with the twitterverse. We can only get bigger and better!

    Ben Birbeck
    BigPondTeam

  3. The first thing to mention is how chuffed our little team is that everyone is so willing to share their positive feedback.
    It is often so much easier to criticise than it is to praise.
    BigPond had only good intentions venturing on to Twitter although we obviously didn’t get the formula right on launch day. 😉 Thanks to the community’s feedback and guidance we were able to turn it around significantly.

    Our goal is simple; we want to engage with the community; full stop.
    That means:
    Helping existing customers with ANY sort of query.
    Chatting to potential new members.
    Generating discussion about things near and dear to us.
    Sharing tips and news about all things Telstra and BigPond
    Feedback, feedback, feedback. We crave it. How can we do things better? What are you happy with now?

    Are we more engaged?
    For my part the initial answer is yes.
    However, I operate from the same toolkit and cultural priorities that everyone else has access to here.
    My hope would be that every one of my peers is as engaged as I am.

    Is Twitter being a part of my primary job role exctiting? Definitely, but I would still aim to WOW my internal and external customers no matter what department or job role I occupy.

    -Todd
    BigPond Twitter Team

  4. Staff and outside stakeholders have quite strong views on topics such as their company’s environmental or soical performance. I am seeing a nother people step forward and give thier unvarnished views on Telstra and the environment. Its fantastic – especially when I get comments from staff.

    Turlough Guerin
    Group Manager Environmetn, Telstra Corporation
    http://www.nowwearetalking.com.au/blogs/green-files

  5. Thank you all for taking time to comment. Ben & Todd great to get feedback from the team doing the work, & to hear of your enjoyment. Your comments cement in my mind the idea that social media can in fact drive employee engagement.

    Once again thanks for the comments.

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