Social media for dummies

On Tuesday, PRWeek's editor-in-chief Keith O’Brien moderated a mediabistro.com panel, "The Customer is the Company: How Social Media is Changing Business". Among the seven...

On Tuesday, PRWeek's editor-in-chief Keith O’Brien moderated a mediabistro.com panel, "The Customer is the Company: How Social Media is Changing Business". Among the seven panelists were Craig Newmark, Craigslist founder and customer service rep; Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos; and Jeff Howe, contributing editor at Wired and “crowdsourcing” expert.

The panel touched upon your typical social media issues - why/how/when to use, when to separate corporate and personal blogs and Twitter accounts, ROI, etc. - but the techy talk seemed to fall flat next to Hsieh’s passion for customer service and a discussion about Zappos' internal comms and hiring strategy (and Keith's jokes about robots, of course). At the end of the first week of the four-week long new employee orientation, which includes customer service training, Zappos offers employees $2,000 to quit to weed out those who aren’t completely dedicated to the concept of service and the brand-- seriously!

While Hsieh focused less on social media than on how Zappos' corporate culture - customer service and a positive staff energy - contributes to its success, it’s well known that the company served as a social media pioneer, using Twitter for customer interaction. So Zappos serves as a model that success in the digital age can also be rooted in Stone Age values.

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