In Praise of Social Media for Customer Engagement

February 15, 2012 | Posted by Jillian Mansolf, Vice President – Worldwide Sales and Marketing

Social MediaLast year an engineer by the name of Dan Tinsley (on an iPhone thousands of miles away in London) tweeted at Overland Storage about how he used Overland products and—in less than 140 characters—unknowingly changed my opinion forever about the value of using social media for businesses. Earlier that day and back in the States, we had shared a link to an article via Twitter about a storage topic, as we had done many times before. That day’s shared story involved a distributed enterprise IT environment and its failed data recovery. In our tweet we highlighted the importance of replication and snapshots as part of a good BCDR strategy.

Overland Storage (@OverlandStorage)
Overheard a horror story re: distributed enterprise IT environment and recovery. Think replication and snapshots, folks bit.ly/qR2I1p

After reading our tweet, Dan reached out to us directly in a way that was never possible before the advent of social media. He used Twitter to reply back and gave us insight into what he thinks as a customer. Since there’s nothing more important to us than learning what our customers think about Overland products and how they’re using them, we were excited to read his tweet:

Dan Tinsley (@ciscojedi)
321” 3 copies of all active data, 2 different mediums, 1 at a different geographic location. That’s how I use my Overland Storage

The content of Dan’s tweet from across three continents reached every part of our organization, from sales to marketing to engineering. When customers tell us something, we listen.

The shift from traditional sales and marketing toward the recognition of an online marketplace and community of customers and prospects has been happening for the past several years. Sharing relevant content – whether by newsletters, email blasts, mailers, etc.,  – to drive sales has always been part of the marketer’s tool chest, and it’s natural that social media platforms like our Twitter page or Facebook page are becoming destinations for the sharing of useful content. And, as I discovered, they can also be a place where meaningful customer engagement happens every day.

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