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Sometimes the best way to gain inspiration for how your organization should use social media is to look at other companies and organizations that are using it well. In this post, we’ll look at two for-profit companies and two non-profit organizations that are successfully utilizing social media to accomplish their goals.

For-Profit: Whole Foods & Comcast

Two for-profit corporations that have really taken social media to heart are Whole Foods, a healthy grocery chain, and Comcast, the telecom giant.

Whole Foods uses Twitter and blogging to connect with customers. On their Twitter account, they post about new things going on with the store (“just launched bicycle delivery for downtown Austin!”), respond to customer complaints, and host giveaways for things like tickets to Bonnarroo, a huge folk and rock music festival. Whole Foods uses their blog to write about a variety of subjects. They have different contributors, who all go by their full names – giving their blog just the right level of personal touch. They post about everything from summer skin care to the difficulties faced by cherry growers to progress with their “Local Producer Loan Program,” a program initiated to help local farmers raise the funds they need to grow their crops. Their posts always have a connection with the store (their post on the health benefits of probiotics mentions that Whole Foods offers lots of foods and supplements which contain the bacteria, for example), but it never feels like an in-your-face sell. You can check Whole Foods out on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wholefoods, and their blog at http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/

Comcast has gained some media attention lately for their use of the @comcastcares Twitter account. @comcastcares is the Twitter account run by Frank Eliason, Comcast’s Director of Digital Care. Through the @comcastcares account, he responds to customer complaints and service requests. This personal touch and individual attention has helped smooth a lot of ruffled customer feathers. You can visit Frank’s Twitter account at http://twitter.com/comcastcares.
 

Non-Profits: Create The Food & The National Wildlife Federation


On the non-profit side of things there’s Create The Good and the National Wildlife Federation.

Create The Good is the AARP’s community network for connecting AARP members, family, friends, and volunteers. They use Twitter in a highly effective manner to coordinate volunteers, disseminate useful information, and interact with people. They also use Facebook to post videos and links to other blogs and organizations. Create the Good is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/createthegood and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Create-The-Good/60336535038.

The National Wildlife Federation is also using Twitter in a great way. In an article on Mashable.com about 26 non-profits on Twitter, the author writes “Not only has The National Wildlife Federation embraced Twitter by tweeting under some of their own brands like @greenhour and @wildlife_watch, they’ve mobilized the troops to tweet under their own identities to help promote the mission. They also have a Twitter search stream on their website for people to see what other wildlife watchers are twittering about.”* The National Wildlife Federation’s main Twitter account is at http://twitter.com/nwf, and you can read about who’s behind the tweets at http://blogs.nwf.org/arctic_promise/2009/01/nwfs-staff-on-twitter.html

So, in short, social media is a great tool for non-profits and for-profit corporations alike, and many organizations are using it in new and creative ways. How does your organization use social media? Leave us a comment about it!

*26 Charities and Non-Profits on Twitter." Mashable – The Social Media Guide. 19 May 2009 <http://mashable.com/2009/03/19/twitter-nonprofits/>.

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