For this member profile, we sat down with JoDee Taylor, Director of Social Media and Training at Costco Wholesale and SocialMedia.org member since 2011. She’s also been to 13 SocialMedia.org Member Meetings (and counting)!
“The most important part of my job is making sure the voice that’s coming across through social media is authentically Costco,” says Director of Social Media and Training, JoDee Taylor.
And that authentic Costco voice is one she knows well. After all, JoDee’s been with the company for over 27 years. She started working in the warehouse to pay for college, then worked her way to the buying department, HR and training, the Costco Services Department, and eventually, marketing.
Her long career with the company is a unique situation for a social executive that JoDee says has helped her with internal buy-in through the years.
“Those different contacts have helped me get in touch with colleagues I’ve had over the years and explain what we’re doing. Since we’ve established a relationship of trust, it’s helped a lot with the case for social.”
But her success in social also comes from knowing the company inside and out.
“One of our goals for social media is to show the value of the Costco memberships. Being in those different departments has helped me share that story,” she says.
To keep the Costco story consistent, JoDee meets with a marketing team weekly to go over their content plan.
According to JoDee, those on the marketing team have also been with the company for a long time, so they keep the content simple — compelling photos on Facebook, seasonal content, and company trivia — and go with their experience.
“We just kind of know what the culture’s like and what would be consistent with Costco and what wouldn’t be,” she explains.
Although she works closely with the marketing team, JoDee has a relatively small social team to work with.
And by “team,” we mean “pair.” That’s right, it’s just JoDee and one dedicated social media coordinator running Costco’s social presence for now — no PR firm and no ad agencies. She says it’s a part of Costco’s culture of passing savings to their members.
“We won’t just do something because everyone else is doing it. We’re a very lean organization, and our highest priority is to provide our members with the best value. To do this we always strive to minimize overhead. That bare-bones philosophy is one of Costco’s core values,” JoDee explains.
In fact, in addition to leading social, JoDee is also the Director of Training.
Although the job is completely separate from her position as the Director of Social, JoDee says the training knowledge has helped inform her content strategies. She says her training role — while entirely different from social media — has been beneficial to her role as the Social Media Director.
It helps her stay connected to employees across the company and to what’s currently happening throughout the stores. For example, she has a deep understanding of Costco’s strict quality assurance testing, their sustainability efforts, and their history.
She says for Costco, it’s all about having an overall social strategy instead of putting all of your efforts into one channel.
According to JoDee, that strategy is a part of what’s exciting about social media:
“It’s changing every day. You never know exactly what’s going to be next, or what will be around for the next ten years.”
Say hi to JoDee on Twitter and ask her some Costco trivia. (We bet she’ll know the answer!)