Advanced Social MediaProfessor Andrew SeelDate: 28.05.2011 Student: Olli Lainto Id Number: L113020Individual exercise: Assessing social media best practiceIntuit inc. is an American software company that develops financial and taxpreparation software and related services for small businesses, accountantsand individuals. The company is a great example of how any company (notjust the obvious, fun ones, like Skittles or Ben & Jerry’s) can utilize socialmedias and communities in their business models.The online presence of the company is quite impressive, especiallyconsidering the field of work Intuit’s in. Their online activities cover everythingform blogging, crowdsourcing, YouTube channels, social networks toaTaxAlmanac, which is a free tax research resource modeled after Wikipedia.Intuit’s online presence covers the following:Blogging - TurboTax team blog (General topics about to taxation and accounting) - Bob Meighan’s blog (Vice President of Intuit, company and industry topics)Crowdsourcing - Intuit Labs (Site for product testing and customer feedback)Twitter - @Intuitinc - @intuitcommunity - @IntuitUK - @IntuitPayroll - @turbotax - @IntuitHealth - @TeamTurboTax - @IntuitCareers - @IntuitAR - @Intuit - @Intuitlabs - @Quickbooks - @IntuitDeals
- @IntuitTownHall - Numerous employee accounts to answer product questionsYouTube - Intuit QuickBooks – channel (Guides about the product) - TurboTax – channel (General news and help for individuals)Ratings and Reviews - TurboTax reviews (reviews of their personal and business software’s)Social Networks - Facebook - LinkedIn - TurboTax Support Community (targeted for individuals) - QuickBooks Community (targeted for businesses) - JumpUp Community (targeted for small businesses and start-ups)Wiki - TaxAlmanac (“Wikipedia” of taxation and accounting)SWOT analysis of Intuit’s use of social mediasStrengthsIntuit’s greatest strength is in its massive number of communities. Just one oftheir communities has more to offer than many other companies’ entire onlinepresence.Besides the official company blog (TurboTax team blog), which covers topicsfrom industry specific topics to topics relevant to individuals, and the blogwritten by the Vice President Bob Meighan’s blog, each community has a blogof their own. Each community also has an expert locator map, calendar ofupcoming Intuit and other relevant events, forums, podcasts, videocasts,webinars, whitepapers and user generated content. The communities are builtaround the different Intuit products, which have their own specific usersegments. Having all this information and content made available for eachproduct makes sense, since there is little risk of cannibalizing their owncommunities.Example of just one of Intuit’s communities is JumpUp, which is a free socialnetworking and resource site for small businesses and start-ups. The siteoffers numerous free tools and services, like an interactive business planner,different cost and profit calculators, free templates and sample businessplans.Intuit is also involving their customers into the development of new softwareand applications. On Intuit Labs.com Intuit’s development teams share theirideas and products with users to have them tested and to get feedback from
them. All this is freely available for customers and the featured applicationscover everything from small businesses apps, to apps related to personalfinance and various mobile devices.Finally, as a testament to their commitment to providing people with all thepossible information they might need related to finance and taxation, in 2005intuit launched the TaxAlmanac. The site is modeled after Wikipedia and iswritten by US tax professionals and combines legislative information withpractical examples and case studies.Weaknesses and threatsIntuit’s massive online presence can also be seen as a weakness. Themassive amount of personnel and operating costs required to maintain thiskind of system can easily cripple a company if circumstances were to change.Because Intuit has established itself as the number one software company forpersonal finance, accounting and tax return software in the US and hascreated these huge communities around each of its products, consumers willexpect the same for every new product they will launch. Every product willhave to have its own site, with its own designated experts and content, whichmeans ever-higher operating expenses.Even if Intuit eventually does discontinue old products, people will still beusing them and will not take it lightly if Intuit will also close the communities ofthese products. So the choice is between saving operating costs or pissing ofand possibly alienating their customers.Intuit’s inability to expand to other geographical markets is also a weakness.In most of Europe and around the world, taxation is far more simple andautomated than in the US. Average citizens in these countries don’t need thetype of software Intuit offers and that means that the market the company iscompeting in is limited mostly to the US. Spending in online marketing is thehighest in the US market and if Intuit wishes to stay as the market leader intheir field, they need to invest significantly time, resources and money tomarketing and research.OpportunitiesEven though the company is somewhat limited to the US market for now, theycould still expand to other geographical markets with their small business andstart-up software’s. Providing European markets for example with informationon the international legislation related to finance and taxation, with softwareoptimized for the European and UK accounting standards could be a way toenter the market.ConclusionIntuit’s online presence is a combination of high-level professionalism, mixedwith a dash of fun and lightheartedness, which can be seen on their Facebookpage and on their TurboTax – channel. Intuit has invested heavily on building
communities around each of their products. Each of these niche communitieshas a very active level of engagement by the company’s specialists and theusers. The company has understood that just by providing people andcompanies with software to help with their taxation and accounting problemsisn’t enough, the support by Intuit has to be top quality and can’t be limited tojust product support but has to encompass the entire process of accountingand taxation. By making all this information and content free, re-enforces thecompany’s image as a reliable source of information, and the customerengagement through the several communities, social networks andcrowdsourcing guarantees high-level of customer satisfaction.