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I have Crocs around my neck & why social media might sell you a pair. How to manage a national brand.

Last weekend, I attended the Chicks Who Click (CWC09) conference in Boulder, Colorado. Don’t let the name fool you, the conference featured some of the smartest women in social media, marketing and entrepreneurship.

Flickr Photo Download: @deetells & @gwenbell
Photo  by GirlOnTheBand

It was organized by  Denise Smith a marketing and events specialist and Gwen Bell a brand manger, a few men were in attendance also. One of those gentlemen was George G. Smith Jr. ,Crocs social media specialist.  If you’re not familiar Crocs, then take a look at the picture below and I’m sure you have seen a pair of Crocs somewhere. 

Photo by Zé Eduardo

If you didn’t know, Crocs is based out of Boulder, Colorado and it was truly a win for them to send George to the Chicks who Click conference. As Crocs social media specialist,  George was frequently asked questions about brand management, using social media to engage in various online communities and deal with the thousands of people who say “I hate Crocs” online everyday.

 George G. Smtith at Chicks who click

Another big plus for Crocs was sending George to the conference with a lot of swag. I’m talking buttons, cell phone cases, stickers, pouches and more. It doesn’t end there, everything George was wearing during the conference was made by Crocs and conference organizer Gwen Bell had a pair of “hot” red Crocs boots that most of the ladies attending the conference were wowing over.

crocs boots
Photo by cr8tvjen 

Needless to say, Crocs was well represented at the conference, and everyone who attended, if they had a negative opinion of Crocs before they attended CWC09, they left with a positive one. 

So how is Crocs using social media? For one, they have George G. Smith Jr., a young smart, funny, (see Baby Got Back karaoke video by George) who “gets it” . George is on Twitter as @georgegsmithjr, and is very active in listening and engaging with people who are having conversations about Crocs on Twitter. But George is not just using Twitter, hes has some social media listening tools (I’m not going to reveal) setup to know when anyone is mentioning Crocs on the web, plus he’s blogging and participating in Facebook groups, even a few that may surprise you such as the “I Dont care How Comfortable Crocs Are, You Look Like A Dumba**” group with over 1.3 million members“. Ouch!  How does George deal with a such a large community with groups that either love or hate Crocs?

Well, rather than me try to tell you everything I’ll let George tell you. While in Boulder, Colorado I had a chance to interview George about Crocs and social media while we visited Lijit’s office (thanks @tarable). Here’s a list of questions I asked George about Crocs and social media:

  • So how do you manage the brand of Crocs when you have people who love them or hate them? For example someone tweeted: @trixie360 yeah, why does he want to uglify America? This country is already obese and ignorant… do our shoes have to be hideous too?
  • How did you become the crocs social media maven?
  • What is your favorite pair of crocs and color?
  • As Crocs being a national brand and a non tech company, what challenges do you face explaining to everyone the value of social media to people within your corporation who don’t get it?  For example: @YannR on Twitter was talking about why Crocs doesn’t blog. What’s the reason behind that?
  • If you could build the ultimate Crocs social media campaign with an endless budget what would you do first, and which existing social network would you try to reach first and why?
  • You have your twitter account that you’re active on; Will you begin using the @Crocs Twitter account soon or do you think it’s more about building the personal relationships with individuals representing the company versus the company tweeting?
  • Why would you suggest  other non tech companies to get involved with social media?
  • What would be the number 1 reason you would tell someone why to buy a pair of Crocs?

 The interview.


I must say that I’m really impressed with George and what Crocs has allowed him to do with their brand. If you own a national brand take note of what it takes for your company to use social media:

  1. If you don’t get it, hire someone who does.
  2. Make sure the person who’s representing your brand is passionate about your product or company
  3. Understand the tools, the communities and how to participate in them
  4. Use offline meetings/conference to build your brand and support your local community
  5. Listen to and engage to both positive and negative feedback about your brand online.
  6. Have fun and enjoy what you do.

Just in case you didn’t catch the end of the interview, I made a promise to George that for the entire year of 2009, I’ll wear my black Crocs badge/iPhone case at every meetup or conference I attend (I have Crocs around my neck).

 George and Wayne at Chicks who click

Thus starting “my Crocs 09 tour” flickr group.  So if you see me at a conference or meetup let’s take a picture for George. Here’s me and Peter Shankman from HARO. Next stop for my Crocs? The inauguration.

Need help understanding social media? Contact me.

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