This summer I had the privilege to interview Dirk Wolbers, Social Media Specialist at Kramp. I talked to Dirk about how internal social media use has laid the foundation for the success of Kramp externally.
Kramp is one of the largest technical wholesalers providing spare parts to agricultural organisations throughout Europe. At face value Kramp have no right to be successful on social media, they’re not a household brand with huge budgets and associated recognition. And yet Dirk in his four years at Kramp has developed some of the smartest social media campaigns that we’ve seen in any sector.
Dirk’s external success is a result of selling in vision and creating the right culture internally at Kramp.
We’re in a very conservative market and internally everyone got flustered when we mentioned social media. They would say “that’s just for the fun stuff, Facebook is not for serious business and we don’t want to be connected to it”.
My first year was basically giving presentations, confronting all levels and explaining about what social media was doing to the world. So mainly creating awareness and encouraging colleagues that we should be involved.
What really helped was launching internal social media. We’re a fast growing company and we now have over 2500 employees but looking back four years ago, no one knew what each person or department was doing. People were difficult to get in contact with and were using email as a social channel by CC-ing everyone into their emails.
I had to change the mindset on social media, so we launched a platform called Socialcast. You can tell people that its business-focussed and you can use it for collaboration, but people have to take the first step themselves. The effect was like a drop of oil spreading, a few people got on board and quickly started telling others “this works really well, you have to try it”. Very soon we had ambassadors for Socialcast meaning we didn’t have to sell-in the product anymore.
An amount of training was required through video, manuals and face-to-face sessions. But if people are used to working in existing ways through email etc. and don’t experience the benefits directly themselves it’s really hard to convince them.
So we made use of a couple of people as ambassadors and when managers as well as product specialists came on board, it really helped. They would tell their teams “I really don’t want the number of emails I’m getting; you will use the system”. Yes, some people were “pushed” but it was needed for some colleagues to get over that first step into using social media.
Our culture has certainly changed, we’re still on the journey though. There was a debate on our Yammer system recently on how it was being used. I was pleased that a colleague posted “we’ve nothing to hide” and that the system was being used for the debate rather than email.
People can still be scared to post things in the open as managers and the CEO can see things, but we’re definitely changing to being more open. If something negative is posted it isn’t deleted but responded to, that’s a huge change from where we were.
In the second part of the interview, I talk to Dirk about “How to win B2B Customers through creative campaigns on Social Media”.
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