Brian Stokoe offers insight into social media at CAT | Part 2


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This is the second part of an interview I had at the end of 2010 with Brian Stokoe who is the social media program manager for Caterpillar Inc. Stokoe shared some of his insights through submitted questions and a recorded interview that will also be posted.

How long have you been in your current role? What have you learned about social media that you wish you’d known sooner?

BRS: I’ve only been in this role only since October 1, 2010. Although in the previous roles, I have been associated with some of Caterpillar’s social media activity. For example, back in 2008, when Twitter was just beginning to gain attention, I set up the twitter account for Caterpillar. I hooked up the account with our press release rss feed, and it’s been Caterpillar’s primary twitter account ever since. I’d say I’m still learning every day in this role. The landscape for social media can change under our feet very quickly. I’m figuring out how we can be agile and flexible to buffer future change.

Do you have a social media policy posted publicly?

BRS: I’m not sure we do. We do maintain an internal social media policy for our employees, but I don’t believe we have posted that publicly. We will probably be moving in a direction that publicly outlines our ground rules for each social media environment.

How much time do you or your staff spend on social media?

BRS: My role is dedicated to social media 100% of the time. I’d say that the average social media resource we have in our product groups are ranging between 10-50% of their time, depending on the different role.

Can you give us a quick overview of your social footprint in regards to the tools you are using?

From BRS:

Social Networking
From a social networking perspective, we are currently focused on Facebook primarily. Due to our global nature, we are planning on evaluating and determining how to expand to other social networks that make sense (eg. Hi5, Orkut, Renren).

WS Note: Prior to the interview, there were at least two pages for Caterpillar on Facebook. Now there is one consolidated presence where dealers, customers and Caterpillar evangelists are posting.

We only use Twitter for our micromedia communications.

Content Sharing
We currently focus on YouTube for Caterpillar. As we become further involved in our Chinese social media efforts, I would expect that there will be a Cat presence on Todou and / or Youku.

We host a couple of blogs at Caterpillar. We have a couple of blogs that focus on specific customer groups. These include Electric Power Generation, Construction Trades, Marine Engines, and a general Parts & Service blog.

Similar to our blogs, we have associated forums for each of those customer groups. These discussion boards are extremely valuable for Cat customers. When it comes to technical discussions or general topics, our forums fulfill an important piece of our social media strategy.

Some thoughts to share

After looking at several other key social sites, my quick recommendation would be for Caterpillar to mark their territory much better in the social ecosystem. Up and coming sites like Slideshare show no presence for the company. However, others are using the Caterpillar name to gain visibility.

A global assessment could provide them with the right knowledge to prioritize this secondary “claiming” effort for them and identify key influencers they should build relationships with. The Caterpillar name is so significant that all sorts of aftermarket parts and equipment dealers are taking advantage. For the brand presence and to also support their dealer market, Caterpillar could take strategic steps to hold their user name on social sites until they make decisions on where to build a stronger and strategic presence.

Caterpillar could also become a social media leader for their dealers who ultimately own the relationship with the product user. Those users identify primarily with the Brand and then their local dealer so Caterpillar could lead the way in providing training on social business relationships to their dealers and then support that with content that would be of value and shared.

What do you think Caterpillar should do? Share you comments below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Wendy Soucie
Wendy Soucie provides clients a unique perspective on social business strategy across an organization. Wendy applies and follows specific social media strategy and methodologies for assessments, network growth, contribution, participation and execution. She is a certified social media strategist, Social Media Academy (Palo Alto, CA). She is an accomplished trainer and keynote personality speaker.


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