"I don't know if it has to do with the fact that we're a company dealing with technology or how easy it is to tweet from a mobile device, our customers are talking about Sprint a lot on Twitter," Rich Pesce, a manager of communications for Sprint, tells Marketing Daily. "We definitely want to engage them there, to help them with problems or hear about the good experiences they have."
As a way to attract and retain the heavy social networking customers, Sprint is offering two phones -- the Samsung Exclaim and the HTC Snap -- designed with social networking in mind. The Exclaim comes pre-loaded with Facebook and MySpace tiles on its home pages, offering "one click" connectability. The HTC Snap includes email prioritization and one-touch messaging. Pesce noted both of the phones offer this access to social networking despite not being smartphones like the iPhone, BlackBerry or Palm Pre.
"So many people are using these services, to make it easy for them to access it from their handheld device is just a nice feature -- especially for two devices that wouldn't be considered smartphones," he says. "It makes those phones that much more attractive when people see they have easy access to those sites for Facebook and Twitter."
Sprint has also expanded its social networking presence with corporate-focused Twitter feeds, including one dedicated to its companywide environmental initiatives. The company has its own Facebook fan pages and Flickr and BuzzAboutWireless sites.
"[A social networking presence] has become tremendously important, especially as we see customers there and discussing Sprint at those sites," Pesce says. "We want to be a part of those conversations and engage customers where they are." Acknowledging social networking's growing popularity, Sprint also gives a shout-out to the most popular sites in new advertising for the Palm Pre and its NOW Network TV spots. The spot for the Pre uses a Facebook fan site to show how updates can happen in real time with the device. Similarly, one of the factoids presented in the Sprint Now Network spot declares: "3,700 people just found all their friends on Loopt, 92 of them realized they were in the exact same place."
"I think there's a lot of growth still in all the social networking sites," Pesce says. "We were even seeing -- when we launched the Palm Pre a few months ago -- it was a trending topic on Twitter."