An interview with @telecomnz

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Richard Irvine, Online Community Communication Manager at Telecom about how they engage with consumers on Social Media. Telecom have a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook and from personal experience respond rapidly to queries and tweets involving them, as well as promoting new products and services. I was interested to understand a bit more about how they manage the different networks.

How long has the social media team been operational for?

The team has existed since 2008, and my role has been in place for just over a year.

What is the make-up of the team?
We have people from all across Telecom participating in our Online Response Team, i.e. Retail, Gen-i, Technology and Shared Services, and corporate. The wide, cross functional spread of our personnel is one of the team’s strengths.

The team currently numbers 11, with five or six currently actively participating, and the others playing more of an advisory role.

ORT members are chosen because they are experienced online and comfortable operating in that sphere. They know the protocol, acronyms and expectations of behaviour etc, both as individuals and are aware of the risks and responsibilities of speaking for Telecom online.

Do you have dedicated resource or do they all have ‘day-jobs’ too?

The sole dedicated resource is me, I’m Telecom’s Online Community Communication Manager, and I sit in the corporate media relations team. The other ORT members all have ‘day jobs’ too, and this balance is working for us at the moment.

Do you have people that just monitor Twitter and people just working FB or do they sit across all platforms?

Twitter, Facebook and Geekzone are the big three for us, and the team tend to keep an eye on one or two of those platforms each, depending on their preference, but there’s no formal allocation of platform monitoring duties.

What tools do you use to aid in the monitoring? I am aware of sites such as Social Mention, Ice Rocket, Trackur and Radian6 – do you use any of these?

We use CoTweet to manage Twitter, and Facebook and Geekzone themselves to monitor those sites, if you get me. Google alerts and RSS helps us keep across anything further. I’m not prepared to invest in anything that claims to measure sentiment, I don’t think they work just yet without human intervention. If I need to track sentiment on any campaign or issue, I do it myself.

Do you have ROI goals or targets to meet, and if so how do you define them?

No formal ROI targets have been set yet. We feel our level of investment has paid off so far in reputation and issue management terms, everything else is a bonus. That’s not to say this won’t change in the future.

For me there are a couple of interesting points out of this interview.

Firstly they have a cross-functional team working part-time on the ORT. This is a really good idea as it allows internal experts to answer questions that are in their sphere of knowledge directly, meaning faster responses back to the customer.

They focus on the key platforms that their customers use and then let technology alert them to anything else that may be happening. A focussed approach again allows prompt attention to queries. And they are where their customers are!

No ROI targets. In my mind is the biggy. It would appear as though they have succeeded in getting their heads around the fact it isn’t just about revenue, that brand reputation and customer satisfaction is just as, if not more so, important.

One Response to An interview with @telecomnz

  1. Pingback: Interview with some guy at

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