Carien Meijer is the CEO of Drake Music. She is also the person behind Drake Music’s Twitter profile@drake_music. Drake Music set up a Facebook and Twitter account around three years ago and Carien has been tweeting for the past 18 months.
As a part of the social media work I am doing with Drake Music, I asked Carien to share her thoughts on using Twitter and how she sees the social media fitting in with the work of the organisation.
1. Do you think people would be surprised that Drake Music’s CEO is also the person behind the Twitter profile?
Externally I guess people might be surprised because it is fairly unusual. Internally, it depends on whom you ask because we are so geographically dispersed and not always in touch with each other on a daily basis. Some will not be at all surprised, although some think I shouldn’t be doing it, and some have no idea that I am doing it. I have ended up doing it by default.
I used to feel that Twitter was a complete waste of time and that we should not be using it – that was before I really understood what it could do for us.
Things change and I got the hang of it, which helped demystify it, and I found I could use it easily. I have found it has been incredibly useful to draw attention to the work we are doing, getting conversations started around what we are doing and build a community. I have completely changed my mind about the benefits of the use of social media at DM.
I think there is much more we could be doing with DM on Twitter in terms of making connections, discovering new people and building our community, locally, nationally and internationally.
Why am doing it? Because there was no one else around who can do it consistently. I am the only full-time employee of the organisation.
Most of our associates are contractors and are not contracted to do this as a part of their job. Our programme managers are contracted to work two days a week and they simply do not have the time. You could I argue that I do not have the time either but it is a nice thing to do and it is quick and easy to use Twitter.
2. What do you like/dislike about Twitter and tweeting?
I like the fact you can take it or leave it. You don’t have to engage with it if you don’t want to. You can dip in and out. I like the fact I have found people and organisations by following others on Twitter. I have read lots of interesting things and discovered lots of new things I simply would not have discovered had I not been on Twitter. It has been especially useful with finding and connecting with organisations that work outside of what we do. With Twitter you can discover a lot, you can make a lot of connections and you can do it in an easy and informal way.
I personally dislike trivial banter but that’s a personal thing. That is the benefit of me being Drake Music – I have to see a reason for using Twitter. The moment it is me it becomes a totally different thing. I am comfortable having conversations as a DM person.
3. How much time do you spend each day on Twitter?
Most days I check to see if we have messages and rewteet them if so. That takes seconds and is easy to do. On other days I will make sure we share some of our things, such as pictures from events – tthis akes more time but not that much time.
If I am at a loose end or need a break from work I have a think about what we could share that might be interesting. We could be smarter in how we do it. It is not time consuming.
4 What device do you use to tweet from (laptop, desktop, mobile, tablet)
I use my laptop and Ipad and I use my mobile to RT tweets. I don’t know how else to use Twitter on my mobile, but that’s OK. It can be addictive.
5 What is the benefit for DM of having a Twitter profile?
On a practical level, we spend a lot less on publicity and marketing. It is about connecting with others in the field and beyond and it is informal. We use different platforms to get the message out about what we do.
We are also able to connect with people from around the world so it makes our world bigger. And it enables us to talk with people in a way we would not otherwise be able to, especially those with disabling barriers. We can have conversations on Twitter that you couldn’t easily otherwise have. That is if people are using twitter, of course. That said, we have a growing following on Twitter of people who would like to be connected with our work.
6 You have just created your own profile. Why and what do you aim to achieve with that?
I decided to set up my personal profile because we ask others to use social media to talk about our work and make connections so I felt I should be doing it too. I wanted to work this out for myself as we are asking Gawain and Ben to do this as a part of their experiments.
I have mixed feelings so far. I have not really been using it and am currently not sure of my voice and how I come across. I have felt a bit uncomfortable about it as I thought colleagues might feel I was stalking them. I have these ridiculous hang-ups. Also I don’t feel particularly confident about using it as me as I’m not sure what to say.
It just takes time. I see a lot of CEOs who have their own accounts and refer to themselves in their professional capacity and also connect with peers in their field. I can see the benefit of that. I’m not sure I have the confidence to do that yet. Talk to me in a year and we’ll see how things have developed.
Some of the DM team are incredibly active on Twitter – Danny, Ivan, Gemma and others – and are not always tweeting about DM as they are involved in lots of other projects. They are doing it and it can be done, but I am not there yet.
7. What would you say to you colleagues who are not using Twitter?
If you are up for it then give it a go. If you are not sure then give it a go. Nobody has to do it but it is a great way for connecting internally with colleagues. It is great for building internal connections. The more colleagues that use Twitter, and the more they refer to DM the better. I also see our use of Yammer as an important part of this too.
8. Do you have tips on using Twitter for other CEOs?
Do you know of any other CEOs who would be stupid enough to do this?! But seriously, in my role, I have an overview of everything that is happening so I can share lots of things easily. I can see who is following us and what interests people by looking at what gets retweeted.
This gives you an understanding of who is interested in us and who wants to work with us. For example, we recently got a request for an interview with a Canadian magazine who got to know us through one of our followers on Twitter.
It is great I can pick up on some of these things. Maybe this makes us a more approachable organisation. Everyone gets involved, it doesn’t matter what your job title is.
9. How do you measure social media return on investment?
With these sorts of things you need to track what you are doing and have targets and indicators. The ROI is very slow and it won’t happen over night and it doesn’t need to. I think that sometimes we are pushed to have these expectations and it is better to carefully and slowly build up something. To learn from doing it.
Let’s look at the social media experiment with Gawain. There is a very clear return on investment. Just building a profile for the work we do in research and development has been amazing. We don’t necessarily need thousands of followers – we need people who have a particular interest in that work and who can engage with us. The bottom line is that we are increasing opportunities for people to be able to take part in music making.
Our ROI there is that we have been connecting with people who have been hacking technology to help others make music. This would not have happened if we had not built our profile through Twitter. This justifies the work we are doing with Gawain’s social media experiment.
In terms of the longer-term impact, yes of course I’d like social media to help us treble our income. But we should remember that social media is a tool for helping to build relationships and we need to continue to find our voice within that.
Follow Drake Music on Twitter at @drake_music