In a world of technology, Monster Cable's entire business is about connections. The cables themselves connect devices to each other (a business that can't help but grow as we wire more things together), and their headphones literally connect people to their devices. As the company's "Internet Marketing Monster," Ted Sindzinski's job is about helping the company make connections with its customers. He spoke with Marketing Daily about the company's social marketing strategies.
Q: How would you describe your company's approach to social media?
A: From a high-level, what you see is a people-focused approach. We're going to the customer and having a one-on-one dialogue about the products we work with or a connective issue. We're really building out that dialogue to respond to the customer on their terms and in their world.
Q: How do you find places to have these dialogues?
A: First, we're not trying to sell [through these dialogues], we're just trying to communicate on those issues. It's finding a discussion we can respond to. The first thing is to look at what the discussion is. We don't want to come across as trying to sell them something. Is there a comment we can answer for them? While they may not expect the company to respond [on a discussion board], we want to be sure that we do.
Q: Walking the line between simply commenting or helping and selling is a fine one. How do you negotiate the art of what's appropriate?
A: There's a human factor. We do have a litmus test for what's a blanket yes and a blanket no. We try to look at anything where [customers] are looking for a fact, it's ok to respond. If it's an opinion, we stay out of it.
It's [also] how we train our social team. By educating them about being involved in the conversation, we can benefit. The company overall is understanding. We believe that if we educate, we can [increase sales]. It's very all-in, including how we train a sales person. It's their job to sell, but it helps if they can educate people rather than just tell them what to buy.
The second evolution is to bring the product out there. Make social live outside of the marketing [department].
Q: How do you do that?
A: There's only a few departments that don't benefit from improved customer service. I like to take it one person at a time. There may be one person [within a department] who is more comfortable using social media than others. Then they can show that success [with social] to their peers.
Q: What emerging platforms are you watching?
A: Everyone is excited about mobile. Are customers using it for research, or is there something more we can do to address that [medium], such as location-based. There are some areas that we're starting to wonder how they fit in our business, from the Groupon models to things that are so new like Facebook. It all comes down to "How are customers using those for communications?"