Company culture, not technology, is key to successfully building customer relationships. At least that’s what Jeremy Epstein, Vice President of Marketing at Sprinklr, believes. Tune in as Jeremy joins Brent Leary to discuss the importance of company culture, particularly regarding global brands, when it comes to social media monitoring – and what lessons small businesses can learn from them.
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Small Business Trends: Can you tell a little bit about your background?
Jeremy Epstein: I spent about six years working at Microsoft, mostly working with small businesses. About four and a half years ago, I got the entrepreneurial fire lit within me and I decided that the future of marketing needed to be investigated. So I branched out and started my own company which was called Never Stop Marketing. I like to say it is not just a company, but a mantra, in the way of life.
I did that for a couple of years and that was a great experience. Then I was recruited to join Sprinklr.
Small Business Trends: Can you tell us what Sprinklr does?
Jeremy Epstein: Sprinklr is specifically focused on helping the world’s largest global brands. Help them manage, and more importantly, be social at a global scale. We provide software and a service platform and some services were necessary to help companies do exactly that.
Small Business Trends: You have a small business background and a social media monitoring background at the enterprise level. What are some of the changes that small business people should know about with social media monitoring?
Jeremy Epstein: First of all is the sophistication of monitoring and listening, in and of itself. I think when we first started out we were just listening for key words, or listening for mentions. That was great, but now we have the ability to not only find the conversations that are happening about us, but also to be able to understand the context in which they are happening and who is talking about you so you have an idea of who this person is. How influential are they using whatever measure you have to figure out which person do I respond to first? Then tying that back to your CRM System.
The second thing is the complexity of it. Because when we first started we had a hand full of channels. Maybe you were listening to blogs, maybe you got into Twitter. But now you have Instagram, Foursquare, Tumblr and Linkedin. How many people had heard about Pinterest before 7 or 8 months ago?
The third part is, how quickly do you respond when the issue comes up? Expectation now in the online world is if I Tweet you, I am expecting to hear from you pretty quick. So monitoring is only half of it. You need to have an entire workflow and process behind it to deliver the experience that people expect in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, that shrinks every day that we are involved in this.
Small Business Trends: Can you judge on a scale of 1 to 10, how effective companies have been, in your estimation, with listening and responding?
Jeremy Epstein: If I had to aggregate everywhere from small businesses up to large enterprises and do it globally, I would say that we are at the beginning of this whole revolution. I would say that, overall, maturity is two or three, maybe four, but probably not.
Small Business Trends: Where do small businesses rank?
Jeremy Epstein: Most small businesses de-prioritize it, compared to what they think are the most important things in their day. I put them a little bit higher than larger enterprises because they have less bureaucracy. Let’s call them a four.
Small Business Trends: So we are at a 4. What are some of the characteristics that are important to move from a 4 to an 8, 9 or 10?
Jeremy Epstein: The first thing I will tell you is, it is not technology, it’s culture. It is recognizing that the most important thing is the voice of the customer. It is having an organization where people – the whole team – have the opportunity and the responsibility and the empowerment to go out and engage and build those relationships.
Small Business Trends: Let’s think of companies that are starting from ground zero. What are the two or three must-do things?
Jeremy Epstein: In a small business you might have one person playing multiple roles. But you need to be very clear about what those roles and activities are so you will have one person who is responsible, or one role that is responsible for content. One role responsible for managing the community; one role responsible for reporting; one role responsible for setting up the various social media properties. Be very clear about what those roles are.
Then operational guidelines of, “How do we set these things up?” I mean, look at what Intel and IBM have put out. Those are very good ones that you can use for small businesses.
These need not be massively complicated at the small business level, but they do require some thought. Do we want to set up a Facebook page just for an event? Fine, but we need to know how to deactivate it at the end of that event so it doesn’t just hang out there.
Then a brand guideline. Again, a style guide to make sure we are using the right logos and the right terminology to get that consistency. I think doing those couple of steps, identify the KPIs. You really care about that kind of tie back to your core of business.
We don’t care about the likes and followers, that is meaningless. You have to be able to say what are we going to use as a proxy for the health of the business. How are we going to start connecting the dots between the social metrics and the business metrics that we really care about?
I think if you do that planning up front and you lay down the foundation, the rest of the technology and execution will be a lot easier.
Small Business Trends: Where can people learn more?
Jeremy Epstein: The best place, of course, is Sprinklr.
This interview about social media monitoring is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.