Technology is an extremely competitive industry and the competition is only escalating. With wearable technology on the rise, new tech startups popping up left and right, and trends going viral at the drop of a hat, companies must continue to think outside the box to remain cutting edge.
Because of this increasing need to stand apart from the rest, tech companies are taking a serious look at their social media strategies. These three tech giants are leading the way as they use social media to keep competitors on their toes and consumers reaching for their wallets.
The Search Engine King
Google is more than just a search engine: Google makes its own products (Google Glass), has created several different services (Google Maps, Google Hangouts) and has acquired other properties (YouTube). The key to Google’s social success is integrating these separate entities into their overarching strategy and demonstrating how seamlessly they work with one another, encouraging brand loyalty.
Going the Extra Mile
It’s no surprise that this search-engine-turned-tech-powerhouse has garnered quite the social following, hosting over 32 million followers across their largest social platforms. The company has even gone the lengths to create its own social network, Google+, which gained 100 million active users within its first 12 months.
Social followers of Google can expect to see content that is either engaging (trivia about the daily Google.com banner – the Google Doodle) or helpful (how to use Google Voice to compare sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes), while remaining subtly self-promotional.
They’re also very aware of their audience on each channel. On LinkedIn, you’ll see how Google’s SVP of Advertising and Commerce was ranked #1 on Adweek’s list of top executives who make wheels turn, or how Fast Company praised Google on its encouraging work environment. Google’s Twitter feed is full of fun posts that relate to pop culture or offer tech tips. Facebook is the home of stunning visuals, including links to other Google-owned products.
Find an Engagement Purpose
Each of the Google properties has their own social presence. For Google, it’s not so much about the technology or the products; it’s about engaging with American—and even global—pop culture. For example, YouTube’s Pinterest page was created in 2012. Various boards represent popular YouTube categories—humor, music, DIY, etc.—and users who click through are sent to the video page on YouTube. Or, you can take a look at Google’s own YouTube video, Google Zeitgeist | Here’s to 2013, the ultimate ode to 2013 that is quickly approaching the 26 million hit mark.
Microsoft Stays In the Game with Social
Microsoft always seems to be playing catch-up, with Apple dominating the smartphone and tablet scene and Sony posing a constant threat with the success of the Xbox. But Microsoft stays on top when it comes to social media, and they’ve carefully carved a social space out for each of its products and services.
Microsoft remains aware of its place in the market. They’re not the #1 mobile device provider and they’re no longer the frontrunner for computers and laptops. Knowing this, Microsoft has created its own hashtag on Windows Phone accounts: #timetoswitch. The Windows Phone Facebook page published a post asking the audience when they realized it was #timetoswitch to #WindowsPhone. Microsoft fans united in the comments and wrote their kind words about their experiences, to which the Windows Phone Facebook page replied with encouragement and thanks for the support. That type of interaction was meaningful for these consumers; it’s not often that a big brand such as Microsoft will engage in a two-way conversation. The company continues to use this hashtag and encourages their audience to follow suit.
Picking and Choosing Social Networks
One of the strategies that Microsoft has employed is that not every product or service needs to be on every social network. This is important to remember, because marketers often spread themselves too thin across too many networks. For example, Microsoft itself doesn’t have an active Instagram account. However, the Xbox has a robust presence. Featuring pictures of art made by gaming fans, behind-the-scenes photos from events with celebrities and images of popular gaming characters, Xbox Instagram has become a hub for gamers to check out fun, entertaining and interesting information about the gaming console. The overall feel of the account is playful—much like the audience.
Connecting Through Relevance
When it comes to Microsoft in general, a slightly different strategy is employed. Recognizing the need to stay relevant, Microsoft uses its YouTube channel to display videos that offer insights into American pop culture. Take a look at the Celebrating the Heroic Women of 2013 video, featuring some of the most iconic women who had breakthroughs this past year. In just four days, it has reached over 37,000 hits. In the description, Microsoft directs you to a Bing link to learn more about each of the women—another subtle way to bring the audience to one of their other services.
Consumer Electronics Appeal to Pop Culture
Samsung undoubtedly has the most dynamic strategy of the tech giants on this list. They are constantly imagining new campaigns and staying in touch with pop culture so that they remain relevant to consumers.
Giving and Receiving
Facebook contests are the icing on Samsung’s social media cake. These contests are run through Facebook apps on the appropriate page, so the audience must first visit the page in order to access the contest. When the Galaxy S4 Zoom was launched in 2013, Samsung turned to their Facebook fans to help promote the new product. In an attempt to hold the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest photo book, Samsung asked the Facebook community to contribute their own photos to help them make history. The incentive? A chance to win one of ten of the devices. This was brilliant, because it engaged the audience—more than 28,000 of them—and revolved around a Samsung product. Consumers could feel as though they were contributing to something greater, to making history. Plus, it made Samsung’s job easier in that they didn’t have to supply all thousands of pictures themselves!
Running these contests is strategic because it keeps Samsung Facebook fans excited, checking back in for more. Additionally, fans must visit the appropriate Facebook page to access the contests tab (when available). Normally, most Facebook users simply see and engage with brand specific posts within their news feeds. It’s rare that someone will click over to the brand’s actual page. When visitors go to the Samsung Mobile Facebook page, not only do they see the contest tab they’re looking for, but they’ll also see other tabs that include owners’ and purchasing guides, tips for making the most of your devices, events, easy ways to upgrade your device, customer service and more—essentially encouraging more engagement with the brand and the products.
Weaving a Social Web
Samsung has also done a commendable job on intertwining their various social channels. For example, on the Samsung Mobile USA Facebook page, there is a Facebook app for Instagram called #TheNextBigThing. This displays photos uploaded on Instagram that have #TheNextBigThing in the description. Then, when you visit Samsung’s Instagram, among the many posts you’ll see a 15-second video featuring a snippet of a YouTube video. Instagrammers then venture over to YouTube to view the entire Messi’s Note video, featuring children singing the popular song Royals by Lorde with an element of surprise at the end and the appearance of Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi. The video has been viewed over 2.8 million times to date, and it was only published three months ago.
Samsung continues to be on the cutting edge of social media marketing tactics. With an active presence on all of the major networks—including LinkedIn, Pinterest and Vine—and the ability to engage their fans in a unique and meaningful way, Samsung is one of the top tech companies taking social media seriously.
Learning From the Best
Lessons learned from these tech companies’ social strategies? Be relatable, timely and fun. Use those hashtags. Know who—and more importantly, where—your audience is. Avoid the hard sell. Stay on your toes.
What are some technology companies you see doing a stellar job on their social media marketing strategies? Why is it so important to incorporate social media into content marketing?