Speaking at Dreamforce in San Francisco, HP’s global digital marketing and social media manager McKaela Doherty described the strategy as “predicting thunderstorms” and “catching lightning”.
She said the shift began a year ago when a post about one of the company’s founders being a World War II military veteran far out-performed previous product-related updates.
Doherty added: “We thought ‘maybe we’re not doing the right thing here’, as what we were doing previously was not driving engagement, but we realised there’s a whole host of ways we can engage and talk to people about our brand.
“So we got more structured and formulaic about how we approach social media and focus on two things: the power of relevance and the natural behaviour of our customers. This is not about throwing stuff at the wall and hoping for the best, this is about using insight about their behaviour.”
Over the past few months, HP has created a series of content related to the things its customers are already talking about, rather than just reformatting other marketing materials or company news for social platforms. Subjects have ranged from the release of the new Grand Theft Auto game, New York Fashion Week and “re-gramming” Instagram photos from customers that post pictures of its products.
Yesterday (18 November) in the US, HP partnered with music producer Clams Casino who has created a track for the brand (see video). The track was livestreamed on YouTube and tweets from consumers using the hashtag #MixingBeats were beamed on to neon signs giving the producer direction as to where he should take the sound next.
Doherty explained the “predicting thunder” element to the campaign: “[Outside of social media our marketing team] is running a huge campaign for the next generation of PCs across our entire portfolio and the interesting tech that’s coming out. But the young generation does not see HP as an option, even though the tech is right for them.
“So we came upon insight that people think the next generation, Millennials, do not have a whole lot of value to had but really that’s not true, they’re just taking a different path.”
At first it was a challenge to convince the leadership team of the business impact of the new always-on, bespoke social strategy but Doherty said analysis using Radian 6 has helped her explain its value.
She added: “In this economic environment we are trying as a company to reduce our dependency on paid media and we’re using what we’ve learned to fuel content that’s working in the right way versus starting with a media plan.
“We were really focused on the campaign launch, getting it out of the door and the assets to make it a success but then we had nothing left to say later in the year. You can’t keep saying the same thing to the same people and that was a mentality shift for us.”
HP has increased its follower account across all its social media platforms by 45 per cent and engagement is up by 35 per cent year on year. Earlier this year it also became the first brand to have more than 1 million followers on LinkedIn.