Yesterday, when I got to work at PetCo, I was told that I had to "read this and sign it." What was it? PetCo's new Social Media Policy. Six pages of do's and don'ts regarding social media and PetCo. As part of that new policy, I am required to disclose "I am a PetCo associate. The views in this blog reflect my own opinions and not PetCo's" or something to that effect. I am also not allowed to create a FaceBook page for my store, post pictures of my store events or other associates, and am allowed to hang out with coworkers but not in uniform and god forbid I post a picture of us after work in our uniforms. So, I guess since I live 45 minutes away from work and frequently hang out with coworkers, I am SOL when it comes to being in pictures. Who decides this? Petco's social media team, of course. Jeeze, can I have that job? Spending the day on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging about pets. Sounds good to me! Social media expert opportunities in the corporate world are quickly becoming the new dream job. Just don't ask your employer to tell you exactly what it is that you will have to do. The lines are not clearly drawn yet.
Despite my negative reaction to my workplace becoming more involved in my "private" online life, I have to admit that PetCo is on the forefront of using social media to build their customer base.
Why does PetCo participate in Social Media? "To provide a lighthearted but educational avenue for rejoicing in the human animal bond together; to offer a forum so that we can listen to what you have to say; to spotlight issues of interest to animal welfare supporters."
On PetCo's FaceBook page, "the community of more than 3,000 fans can post pictures of their pets, swap tips or ask questions. Some contributors even post content as if written by their pets." PetCo also uses their page to respond to customer complaints.
PetCo also has their own blog, the Petco scoop. The blog contains a lot of informational articles as well as my favorite, the pics of the week.
PetCo is one of many retailers nationwide using Social Media. These companies are not using social media to gain sales, but rather trust. They are building relationships with their customers.