By adaptive - August 29th, 2012

For more than 85 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. With 2011 sales and revenues of $60.138 billion, Caterpillar i...

For more than 85 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. With 2011 sales and revenues of $60.138 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

Kevin G. Espinosa, Social Media Marketing Manager, Caterpillar Customer Services Support

Kevin G. Espinosa, Social Media Marketing Manager Caterpillar Customer Services SupportQ Caterpillar has a wide exposure right across the social media landscape. What does social media deliver to your company?

A How we approach social media is by what we call our four social media pillars. These pillars include: social listening, promotion, thought leadership and customer support. From our perspective these pillars give our company a tremendous reach that we use to contact new customers and support our existing client base.

A great example is how we use social media to enhance our customer contact and support. Of course we always talk about reach in the context of ads or marketing, but the reach we now have via social media is much wider and more personal. With our social listening you’re involved in much more of the conversation. The information we gain from these conversations is invaluable, as we use this for product innovation, we also have more efficient first line of response with customer issues, and how our brand is being perceived.

Q Do you think that many companies simply don’t understand what it means to be a ‘social business’?

A Yes, as I think that a lot of companies go into social media from a marketing perspective and don’t fully understand how these conversations are impacting the other areas of their business as well. If I could go back four years, the first thing I would do with our company is start listening. This really forms where your customers want your company to go.

We see social media as the new public telephone. We now have one to many conversations. In addition, I think the issue that many businesses suffer from is not engaging with the people that contact them. An unanswered query via social networking is just the same as ignoring the phone when it rings.

CaterpillarQ How does your company track the return it gains from the social media it is using?

A Well, at the moment we are taking baby steps with all social media. Of course initially we used the same metrics as everyone else such as the number of likes and the number of followers we have on Twitter. Now, we look at customer support where we feel we can show real ROI from our social media efforts. This can include the number of resolution closed, or the number of regenerations of clients we have. All these feed back into our overall metric of what social media is delivering to our company.

We also get into lead generation as well. The main point is that these leads are generated not just from social media. We still engage with traditional media as we have always done, but social media allows us to gain that additional reach I talked about earlier.

Also, we want to know which social media activity is driving e-commerce activity for us, such as customers buying parts. We are actively looking at who is contacting us, where they came from and if they have a presence on a social media platform, and how all this ties together.

This allows us to see how our sales funnel is working. All this data allows us to ensure we are creating the right content for the right media, so we can attract the right customers to each area of our business. Understanding the digital footprint of our customers is becoming increasingly important to us.

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