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Amtrak, U-Haul, Alex and Ani agree social efforts must involve all teams

PHILADELPHIA ? Successful social efforts are executed when all teams of a company are involved, agreed representatives from Amtrak, U-Haul and Alex and Ani during a panel discussion at the Social Commerce Summit at eTail East 2014.

Gaining the attention of higher executives and CRM and product teams was an initial struggle for Amtrak and U-Haul but the development of those relationships has led to higher success rates for social campaigns following periods of education and loads of patience. Once social teams were able to present live data, consisting of KPIs or user-generated content, partnering teams realized the potential in social investments and became interested in learning further.

?The only way we could get some attention from some of our marketing team and some of our executives was to show how the customer was sharing things with us on social,? said Toni Jones, director of social media at U-Haul, Phoenix. ?People are talking about our brand in impactful ways, particularly ones that we can learn from. 

?Then it became easier to interact with the other teams. Now our marketing team has questions and is wanting to know more of what customers are talking about.

?It wasn?t an easy process by any means. Social was not a natural progression for U-Haul.?

Revolutionary social change?
The lack of familiarity from other teams was deemed as the most prevalent obstacle to jumpstarting social efforts. Education segments and user feedback were used to spread knowledge across the Amtrak staff.

??I felt like an internal sales person by constantly pitching ideas and knowing there would be a high success rate in social activeness,? said Julia Quinn, director of social media at Amtrak, Washington D.C. ?Our team would offer to use money from our own budget just to show confidence in the investment.

?Social can?t be successful if everyone isn?t working together. Our senior leadership team may not know everything about social but they now understand how important social is.?

Once all teams were educated on social and unified, they could then work together to prioritize campaigns and review metrics regarding success rates. For Amtrak?s social team, one-on-one interaction between the brand and the customer has been the biggest focus, such as storytelling and using life experiences of cross country trips to rope in attention from consumers.?

Unity from the beginning?
While veteran establishments such as Amtrak and U-Haul have implemented social teams into their foundations over the past couple years, Alex and Ani?s foundation rests heavily on social due to the activeness of its customers and the relatively newness of the brand.

Jessica Woodbury, social media manager at Alex and Ani, is constantly approached from different teams asking for social promotions regarding various campaigns the company is running, causing a prioritization process to be implemented so the team could rank each campaign.

Perhaps its most successful campaign, Motivation Nation has garnered social success by sharing motivational quotes periodically via the Alex and Ani blog. With this brand, an emotional aspect works into play with user generated content and shared selfies of consumers wearing their bracelets.

?You just can?t purchase the benefits received from user generated content,? said Jessica Woodbury, social media manager at Alex and Ani, Providence. ?It comes from putting content out and then getting content back. 

?The stories we share on the blog are ones that are given to us and they sometimes make me cry. It?s those stories that create brand ambassadors and keep the content flowing in.?

Final Take?
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York