All Articles Marketing Brands & Campaigns Live from TWTRCON ’09: How to use social media to change the story

Live from TWTRCON ’09: How to use social media to change the story

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

Social media can do more than just allow you to monitor the conversation — it can actually help you change what people are saying, argues AMD Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Dessau.

The problem: The standard test for measuring laptop battery life favored a competitor’s chip. The test measured how long the battery lasted while the laptop was powered up, not necessarily while it’s being used. AMD wanted retailers to focus on how long a laptop’s battery lasted during day-to-day use.

The solution: AMD decided it wouldn’t challenge the standard test, but it would suggest retailers provide customers with two sets of numbers: one for how long the battery lasted while at rest and one for how long it lasted while it was in use. Dessau compares the two numbers to the difference between city and highway gas mileage.

The method: Dessau posted an item on the AMD blog that framed the problem as a question: Why are retailers only telling consumers about this one number? Why not tell them about both numbers? He encouraged consumers to get involved in the conversation by being transparent about his motives. Would he be asking these questions if the standard test favored his company? Maybe not, he told them, but that doesn’t make the question any less valid. Fans respected his candor and took the conversation to Twitter

The follow up: Not only did the blog win the support of customers and retailers, it also caught the competition off-guard. Dessau says AMD’s competitors weren’t prepared to counter a social media offensive, so they tried to dismiss the importance of social media. The backlash from that statement increased the stories reach and won AMD additional support, Dessau says.

Dessau’s top 5 tips for using social media to change the conversation

  • Be clear on your audience. You’re not trying to gain new followers with this initiative, you’re reaching out to people who already follow you and trying to change their perception.
  • Think like an editor. Craft your message carefully for maximum impact.
  • Honest, integrity and transparency. Your followers aren’t fools. They know you’re motivated by self-interest. That’s OK. Respect their intelligence and they’ll respect you.
  • Build a coherent strategy or approach. Know what you’re trying to achieve before you to go to work.
  • Be your brand. Make it distinct by making it personal.

Image credit, ayzek via iStock