February 1, 2010

Building a presence from scratch on the Social Web

How a social media campaign helped HP Israel’s PSG Group gain momentum

Ayelet NoffWhen Blonde 2.0 began to assist HP Israel’s Personal Systems Group with their social media marketing efforts, we found they had no representation in the social media world. A community had not yet been built for the group and their customer base did not have a proper network to turn to for questions and answers.

Let me tell you what we did. Over the course of a few months’ time, Blonde 2.0 and HP quickly exposed HP Israel’s PSG group to the social media world and began engaging with customers and potential customers to increase the group’s brand awareness in the community.

When you build a community from scratch, the target audience you primarily want to attract are community leaders, early adapters and other movers & shakers in your industry in order to gain some momentum. Blonde 2.0 launched HP Israel’s Facebook Fan Page in September and started from a zero fan base. Since close to a third of Israel’s population has a Facebook profile – 2.5 million Israelis and the demographic groups we wanted to target were found on Facebook — this social network was a great place to start building a community around HP. We also turned to Twitter to reach out to HP’s community, as no other network allows for real-time message updates nor engagement with Israeli industry leaders from the high-tech and digital marketing worlds as Twitter does.

By the end of first month, HP’s fan base on Facebook grew to 150 fans and we noticed an exponential growth each week. By the end of October, HP had 619 fans and by November we reached 810 fans. This quick growth was based on the interesting content we uploaded and our engagement with the fans on the page. We discussed computers, laptops and provided assistance with HP products. We also created all types of interesting activities and contests for the fans to take part in.

Providing incentives for fans and followers to take part in the community is a must when brands take a part in the social media world. A brand should be ready to compensate fans who promote its name both by social incentives as discussed in this post and also by giving fans prizes.

At the end of November, early December, we unleashed HP Israel’s first giveaway campaign, asking our fan base to participate in a creative contest that would offer them a chance to win a new HP Mini laptop (the Mini 110c). We wanted to emphasize the product’s easiness of mobility and asked our fans to tell us where they would take their laptop if they won it. We encouraged fans to be as creative as possible, giving them the option to upload videos, sound clips, photos and graphic materials to the fan wall as their contest submission. The response rate was overwhelming and we were amazed at how much fans invested in their creations in order to win. We received over 630 entries within 3 weeks’ time.

The winner of our competition was a creative song writer named Nadav Harel who wrote an enthusiastic song about HP: HP song: Cute Little Computer. Nadav received recognition and praise from the community (social incentive) and a new laptop. The HP laptop contest did wonders for our activity and growth of the HP Facebook Fan Page. Our community grew to over 2,580 fans.

Campaigns held on Twitter also encouraged HP fans to become more involved in our community. We asked our followers to tweet us a personal experience they had with an HP product. The creators of the three most creative tweets of personal experiences they had with HP products were awarded a Bluetooth mouse known as The Dragon. During the two weeks of our Twitter campaign, HP Israel’s twitter community grew by more than 140 followers. With Twitter, we continually monitor what people say about HP PSG’s products and provide assistance in real time. Below, a user complained that he had not received his computer from the service lab on time. HP Israel quickly intervened to fix the problem and everyone came out of this story happy.

It is always exciting to build a brand’s community from the ground up and watch our marketing efforts and activity grow within the social sphere. We’ve learned a few lessons along the way and continue to learn daily from our valued community members.

Tips on holding social media campaigns

A few tips for newcomers who haven’t yet led any social media campaigns:

1) Listen to what people have to say about your brand and be responsive to their needs. Don’t be defensive. Be attentive.

2) Always remember to be transparent and honest with the members of your community. Make sure that if you promise something, you make it happen. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong – people appreciate that from a brand.

3) When creating contests, make sure the rules are loud and clear. There’s nothing worse than bitter fans angry after a contest’s rules weren’t made clear in advance.

4) Remember that building a community takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an online community. Enjoy each one of the phases you go through when building your community and learn from them.

We live in a wonderful age today where brands can interact and have an open communication channel with customers and potential customers. I am happy to share our experiences with the building of one such community. An online community just like an offline community needs to be nurtured with delicate care and fed with content, activity and live discussion at all times in order to keep it buzzing and this is what we aim to achieve above all.Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

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