By adaptive - October 29th, 2013

Toni overseas all U-Haul social media initiatives including content development and customer support.

Toni Jones U-Haul

What are the key drivers behind your organization’s use of social media?

Our social media efforts are focused on initiatives that improve our customers overall experience with U-Haul.  We do this through active listening and engagement online, and by developing relevant content to support our customers throughout the lifecycle of moving.


What organisational models do you use and why?

Our social media team reports to our Executive Vice President. We are a centralized team responsible for executing social media on behalf of U-Haul, and our efforts are coordinated with our marketing, public relations and field management teams in order to present an authentic view of our organization to our audiences.


As a corporate user of social networks, how does your company value its social media activity? 

We are present wherever our customers want to engage us. The networks which share our interest of delivering a better experience to our customers and fans hold the most value to us.


Can you outline a recent initiative that included a social media component? 

We are working on an exciting project that includes the collection of moving photos from our customers. We’re encouraging our customers—past and present—to share photos of their U-Haul experiences with us, and one submission method is using the Instagram hashtag #myuhaul.  Our team is also promoting this campaign and soliciting photos on social media. These photos will be used to image our large truck fleet in a collage that illustrates the DIY moving community U-Haul has built since 1945. It’s been a great initiative so far, and I truly enjoy being a part of our customer’s moving experience.

U-Haul Community Photos

How much pressure is there to show ROI with the social media you use?

Although generation of ROI via sales leads is an important measure for us, it is only one of many goals we measure against to demonstrate the value of our team. We are heavily focused on customer support and improving the moving experience. Yes, we would like that experience to lead to transactions but ensuring we have satisfied and loyal customers is equally important, and is how we will continue to grow our business.


How did your organisation approach the mapping of your enterprise to identify where social media should reside in the corporate structure?

Like many organizations, our social media efforts were initially divided amongst multiple teams, such as marketing, customer service and media relations. We chose to move towards a more centralized structure to ensure a coordinated effort and cohesive messaging. That being said, our team is in constant collaboration with our marketing, web analytics, customer service and media relations teams. There is no need to reinvent the wheel as we have processes that have proven to work for many years. Instead we have created another option to communicate and engage with the communities we serve.


What is your advice to organisations that are beginning to map their own corporate structure with the view to embedding social media activity within their enterprise?

Take time to think about your brands expectations of social media, and set realistic goals. Whether it’s marketing, customer service or brand loyalty, organize your team in a way that will help you reach those goals with minimal interference. It really doesn’t matter where the social media team sits organizationally, as long as there is open communication amongst all teams and they have authority to execute.


How do you see the management and development of social media in your company evolving over the next few years?

Our team has grown significantly and evolved over the past year to maintain the level of support we think our customer deserves on social. Our management team remains a steadfast advocate for our customers. As social media develops we will adapt and evolve to fit the needs of our customers.

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