Michelle Kostya on RIM’s Approach to Social Media and Its Evolution

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@blackberryhelp tweet
RIM’s social media team printed out shirts with sweet tweets. This tweet comes from a #teamblackberry fan @70s_Kid.

Michelle Kostya, Program Manager, Social Media Support at Research In Motion, was the guest speaker at a regular event put on by Thornley Fallis, called Third Tuesday here in Ottawa. Here is a description of last night’s event:

As RIM evolves its platform, it’s also using social media to reach out to its users and engage with them in online community and social media. Michelle Kostya is one of the people charting out RIM’s path in social media. And she’s our next speaker at Third Tuesday.

The history behind social media at RIM is also a story of how the company has changed over the years in terms of customer base, as it shifts from purely enterprise to also supporting consumer smartphones. In the beginning, RIM had solely an enterprise market to cater to and customer service was focused on serving this market in a 1 to 1 relationship. Marketing for enterprise was more traditional and it was difficult to collect feedback on how the marketing message was being received. In the last few years, the market has shifted to consumer smartphones and reaching this audience required a new set of tools, because enterprise style customer support and marketing isn’t as effective.

According to Kostya, social media is largely a merging of customer service and marketing at RIM, in an effort to best meet the growing consumer smartphone market. The social media team at RIM works to help users, build brand and smartphone loyalty, and save money for the organization by reducing call volumes. The organization also saves money as users learn to troubleshoot their devices rather than rely on the carrier.

Here is a quick look at the history of social media at RIM:

2008 – Customer support forums and the launch of their first Facebook page.
2009 – The official BlackBerry blog Inside BlackBerry launches.
2009 – RIM opens Twitter accounts for @blackberry and @blackberryhelp.
2010 – RIM launches Spanish support in Spanish and the BlackBerry Help Blog.
2011 – BlackBerry PlayBook and QNX related social media strategies?

Here are some interesting stats regarding RIM’s social media successes with @blackberryhelp and other channels:

@blackberryhelp followers: 212,794 (RIM’s social media team has a party planned for 225,000).
Over 700 Direct Messages on Twitter per day. (Kostya says followers are important but engagement may be more important.)
Over 30 Facebook pages.
Around 10 Twitter accounts in total.
About 400 mentions at Blog World.
Forums have seen users with upwards of 200 hours per month logged on.
“BlackBerry” gets 2 million mentions per month.

Using social media in a large organization such as RIM involves creating a sandbox. The sandbox metaphor means you have rules, boundaries, and guidelines about proper ways to act in order to not disturb anything outside of said sandbox. These kind of rules are important in a large organization where mistakes can have some pretty far reaching consequences.

Generally, it looks like RIM is doing some pretty awesome and innovative stuff with their social media initiatives. It’s interesting how their major competitors don’t really seem to be as aggressive in the space, and considering RIM is taking more shots at the competition, maybe they should.

  • http://www.wheels.net Rims

    thanks for it
    Michelle Kostya on RIM’s Approach to Social Media and Its Evolution