For this member profile, we talked with the Social Media Manager at Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., Crystal King. We’re glad to call her a member of SocialMedia.org since 2012.
On any given workday, a social media executive can play several different roles — whether that’s a digital marketer, a customer service expert, or a crisis management leader. So it’s no surprise that many of them come from backgrounds in tech and marketing.
Crystal King, the Social Media Manager for Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., is one of those social media executives.
“I’ve worn all of the hats at some point on the marketing side of things,” says Crystal.
With careers in marketing, PR, and some tech experience, Crystal worked mostly on the PR side of big tech companies like Sybase and CA Technologies before she got the call from Keurig Green Mountain.
“When I was at CA Technologies, I found that the world of publishing and PR was rapidly changing. It was one of the places where you really saw it first. I realized the only way I could do my job well at CA was if we could start using social media — more specifically on the PR team.”
Getting buy-in on a social media program at a conservative tech company wasn’t easy.
“They had everything on lockdown. You couldn’t access Facebook, you couldn’t access Twitter, I don’t think you could even access Gmail,” says Crystal.
Eventually she helped CA’s marketing team see the value in social media — what they could get out of Twitter, how to create YouTube videos, and how to be better bloggers. Strangely, while most of the Internet was unavailable, one area that CA did let employees have access to was blogging.
“They used to let anybody blog, which of course, is dangerous, because then nobody does.”
Crystal explains, “People used to be really blog happy, especially in the early 2000’s.”
So she whittled down their blogs from 150 to about 30 and helped focus CA Technology’s social program — a move that got the attention of Keurig Green Mountain. Now, she’s working with a more BtoC focus leading the company’s social media program. The heightened visibility in social is also one of the reasons that Keurig is the number one brand of coffee makers in sales for over 40 months running.
Crystal is comfortable with social media’s culture of change.
“Coffee is a big part of a lot of people’s lives, and so many people have a story that relates to coffee or to tea,” she says. “I really like the whole aspect of working directly with people in a really interesting way. I love being able to help our consumers tell their stories about what makes making their favorite beverages with a Keurig so special.”
Like most social media managers, a big draw for her is the techie culture of adaptation and change in social media.
“I love tech, and I’ve always been an early adopter. I love that it’s always changing. There’s no boredom in social,” Crystal says.
Becoming a top brand in social media customer service takes a team.
One significant change Crystal can be proud of: fostering a team of customer service experts within Keurig’s social media team. In fact, their customer service is so impressive they made the number one spot for home appliances in Unmetric’s list of top brands in social media in 2013.
“For me, being able to create a team of really good people who do good work and help elevate the brand and take care of its customers — that’s what I’m really proud of.”
She says one of the most difficult parts of her job is handling a major PR situation.
For example, responding to tweets and posts during a national disaster or terrorist attack is a real challenge. Crystal explains that a lot of well-meaning fans in social media request donations, which require companies to pull off major logistical and financial feats to help the victims.
“When it comes to donations during a crisis, consumers don’t realize there are lots of moving pieces behind the scenes and that people on the front lines might not have control of what those moving parts are. When consumers ask us to donate coffee, it might not be what rescue operations need—they may need donations of blood, or infusions of cash to buy supplies. Consumers mean well, but they sometimes forget that brands also are full of people who have the same emotions and want to do good things — but the right things,” Crystal says.
She explains that at Keurig Green Mountain, they do a lot of charitable giving. Their employees are allowed 52 hours of company time each year to give to community service. That’s the kinds of stories her team tries to tell through social media.
Crystal talks about where she sees the future of social going.
Looking forward, Crystal is excited about telling new stories on emerging platforms, like Vine and Google+.
“I do think Google+ will continue to make strides. I think that people are really unhappy with Facebook, and as social channels mature and change, loyalties mature and change. I do think Google+ is one of the sites to keep an eye on, says Crystal. “The next step for them is to figure out how to enable brands to market more specifically—to offer contests and deeper ways to engage with fans.”
She says that she’s looking forward to seeing the platform cater more towards brands like Keurig Green Mountain.
“What I am looking forward to most, however, is the next new platform. It’s been a little while since a site really changed the game for social marketers. I can’t wait to see what that next big new idea will be.”