Ekaterina Walter is social-media strategist at Intel. She is a part of Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence and is responsible for companywide social-media enablement and corporate social-networking strategy.
Ekaterina is a marketer, thinker, speaker and connector. She believes that building relationships with customers should be at the core of any business and that social media provides a perfect opportunity to do so. Ekaterina is on the Board of Directors for Internet Strategy Forum. You can find her on Twitter @ekaterina. She blogs on her blog — Building Social Bridges.
Why has Intel made such a point to engage across various social-media platforms?
You go where your customers are. We have a pretty robust presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On those platforms we are reaching consumers of all varieties (enthusiasts, gamers, media experts, etc.) We have consistent presence on LinkedIn where we are reaching our business audiences. Our forums and communities on Intel.com are where our developers and IT audiences are highly engaged. And we are always monitoring to see where our audiences are using listening tools and monitoring conversations. Listening helps us know where our presence will have the most value-add to our customers and allow for a true two-way dialog. We are also consistently paying close attention to new trends and exploring the potential of other platforms.
Intel has a number of distinct streams on Twitter, with the namesake highlighting news, views and events about tech innovation. Why did you decide to make this a main focus?
Several factors have played into this. First and foremost, Twitter tends to be more of a “targeted” tool. Meaning you can get as niche as you want to be with your Twitter account. You might just want to have a dialog with 300 specific developers around a specific product and you won’t care about the rest of the world. In this case you can create a number of different accounts and you give your customers and partners a wider variety of conversation choices to participate in. Secondly, what we found to our own surprise is that we don’t have much overlap among our Facebook fans and Twitter followers. A lot of our Facebook fans have never been on Twitter nor are they interested in signing up for an account at all. And some of those who are heavily engaged with us on Twitter might not prefer Facebook as their key way of communicating with a brand. As a brand we wanted to give people an opportunity to engage with us via their platform of choice.
On Facebook, Intel is hosting a number of contests. Do you find that these contests have aided in growing the number of “likes” to your page and getting the existing fans engaged on a continual basis?
We now run multiple contests and giveaways on Intel’s Facebook page. And every time we do so the engagement is increased dramatically. Our page views increased minimum of three times during the period we run the contests in. And what’s interesting is that this is true for both contests that do and don’t have media promotions behind them. And we definitely see a significant increase in the number of likes every time.
That said, we continue to learn with contests. Even though they help raise word-of-mouth and buzz around your brand temporarily, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting the fans or followers that you are really looking for. A lot of times when the contest is over, your engagement goes back to your regular level and those who participated become lurkers and are not active in ongoing conversations. Everything comes down to your objectives — what do you want to accomplish with contests?
We do have rather lively engagement on our Facebook fan page no matter if we run the contest/giveaway or we don’t. But we work hard to ensure that our fans stay interested. We also consistently invite them to a dialog where some of the other brands assume the engagement will automatically happen if they put up a wall post.
If you were to offer one key piece of advice to someone developing a social-media strategy for their company on Facebook, what would it be?
If you are just starting to look at your potential Facebook presence, start with your objectives and resources. First off — do you even need to be on Facebook? Second, do you truly have sufficient resources to ensure continuing and meaningful engagement?
If you already have presence on the platform, don’t be afraid to be human. Lots of times when we think about engaging with the fans on behalf of a brand, for some reason we think we have to strictly stick to one topic or to corporate voice. Don’t forget that you are engaging with people. Wish them happy holidays, ask them how their week is going, outsource some of your decisions to them (if marketing and legal departments are OK with it), etc. And plain ask questions. You won’t believe the wealth of information you can get from your Facebook fans when you are not afraid to ask or poll them. Your Facebook fans are your greatest admirers and they are usually the most vocal bunch — they are the best focus group you will ever have.
Hear more about how to achieve success on Facebook from Ekaterina and other lead social-media strategists including those from SAP, Cisco, the Washington Redskins and Xbox at the monthlong online Facebook Success Summit. Sign up today.