Windows7 Social Media Case Study
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Windows7 Social Media Case Study

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October, 2009 Windows launched the latest version of Microsoft's PC operating system; Windows 7. Since then Windows 7 has become the fastest selling version of Windows in the companies history. This ...

October, 2009 Windows launched the latest version of Microsoft's PC operating system; Windows 7. Since then Windows 7 has become the fastest selling version of Windows in the companies history. This white paper outlines how the Windows Social Media team prepared, launched and measured the Windows 7 Social Media plan.

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Windows7 Social Media Case Study Document Transcript

  • 1. Creating communities of evangelists Social media and Windows7 launch The Windows Social Media team has learned invaluable lessons about marketing one of the biggest, most well-known brands on the planet. Thanks in large part to the 16 months the team spent building and engaging social network communities that were enthusiastic about Windows, the Windows7 launch had over 200 million brand im-pressions in the first two weeks with an estimated CPM of $0.02. Windows7 also trended as high as 3rd on Twitter, was the #1 sponsored channel on YouTube for several days during the first week of launch, and the number of fans on the Windows Facebook page more than doubled. Social media is a very powerful marketing tool that is best used to connect and engage with a brand’s fans and enthusiasts. Used correctly, it can build huge advocate bases that will drive valuable peer-to-peer engagements over time. Companies should be very clear on what their brand objectives are when creating a social media strategy. Social media strategies should complement and partner with a brand’s advertising, digital media, and PR programs. The key to social media is building programs for long-term investment. The Windows Social Media team doesn’t run campaigns; we invest in ongoing conversations with consumers. Our efforts are focused on: • Awareness for new consumers • Engaging existing consumers in communities • Building advocacy and creating champions that will support Windows in peer-to-peer connections Goals for the Windows Social Media team: • Activate and engage with passionate Windows users • Build strong communities Windows can deliver ongoing marketing messages/offers to • Move consumers through the sales funnel • Provide enthusiasts with tools to spread the love Metrics to measure success by: •  Sentiment—How do consumers feel and talk about Windows? •  Volume—How many conversations is Windows driving week over week? •  Reach—How many consumers are being impacted by these outreach efforts?
  • 2. Programs The Window Social Media team has four main programs that make up our strategy: monitoring and reporting, out-reach and engagement, community, and social networks. These are ongoing programs we run every day of the year focusing on customer engagement rather than campaigns. In order to run programs like these, there needs to be a team committed to managing these types of programs for a brand. Most brands have marketing teams organized by campaign functions. The downfall of this organizational structure is it doesn’t allow for support of programs af¬ter a campaign has ended. If a brand creates a Facebook page or YouTube channel for the purpose of a campaign, once that campaign is over the Facebook page dies on the vine because there’s no more support for it. Monitoring and reporting Windows is one of the most talked about brands online. There are literally thousands and thousands of discussions going on about Windows every day spanning conversations for developers, businesses, and consumers. The Windows consumer marketing team wanted to find out how many of those conversations were geared towards consum¬ers and what they were talking about, so we licensed a web tool to monitor social media chatter. By tracking engage¬ment through a tool we were able to set benchmarks on volume and sentiment and measure the impact of PR and advertising messages. Outreach and engagement Because Windows is constantly talked about on the web, there’s a big opportunity to engage with a lot of consum¬ers who may have questions or concerns. Our engagement team has partnered with a small social media agency in Seattle. This small agency has a team of four people that engage in conversations on behalf of Windows and identify themselves as members of the Windows Outreach Team. In order to ramp up and down our efforts de- pending on where in the product lifecycle we are, it made sense for us to partner with an agency. We’ve trained all engagement leads and regularly provide guidance and product support to the team so they have the answers our consumers need. Regardless of the customer’s question, the team always tries to help the customer move through the purchase funnel. The Windows team does have a partnership with the Customer Support team and hands off support questions using CoTweet. Community Windows has two communities: Clubhouse and MVP. MVP is a Microsoft-wide community program that leverages the most engaged, technical enthusiasts who are passionate about particular Microsoft products and builds ongo¬ing relationships, programs and feedback loops with this group. Clubhouse is a Windows consumer marketing community. This community is made up of people who are passionate about Windows or Windows Live and want to blog, microblog, vlog, or just create content about Windows. This community creates User Generated Content (UGC) that’s featured on Windows.com. This UGC has a click-through rate 10 times that of regular web content. Social networks Windows has created large communities on all major social networks in the U.S. Windows has brand pages on YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and multiple accounts on Twitter. Windows invests in keeping these communi- ties vibrant, engaged, and growing. Because it’s easy to communicate and pass along content on social networks, they’re ideal places to create and measure viral pass-along and connect with a brand’s most passionate customers.
  • 3. What Windows didn’t do There are a few tactics that didn’t make it into the plan because they don’t accomplish the goals we set for the program. It’s important to stay focused on what the goals are so making decisions is easy when multiple opportunities arise. Buzz! Buzz is a direct effect of a marketing effort. Whether a video is produced with the goal of ‘going viral’ or seeding blogger engagement and hoping it goes viral, it’s practically impossible to create buzz. It happens or it doesn’t. If, by chance, there’s buzz around a video or marketing campaign, the buzz is largely focused on the campaign and not the product. Our goal is to keep the focus on Windows. We want people to talk about Windows, not a video that someone sent them. Buzz doesn’t build customer relationships or move a potential customer to trial. Buzz is great for building awareness, which was not one of the goals for the Windows 7 launch. Blogger outreach Connecting with influential bloggers can help move consumers through the funnel and provide enthusiasts with tools to spread news. A blogger can accomplish these things because they serve as a distribution channel for content that we want our consumers to receive. If someone is considering a PC purchase and they read a rave review of the product on a blog, that’ll likely influence their decision and move them to trial. But the only way the blogger’s post is authentic is if they give their own opinion honestly as an enthusiast who wants to share with others. This is a very effective way to get a message to consumers but, in the Windows team, this responsibility is owned by our PR team. Influential bloggers are so similar to traditional press that Windows treats them the same so they’re all managed by our PR team. Timeline May June July August September October January February March April October 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 4. Sept, 2008 rst ads appear on TV. Began to use Social Media monitoring 8. March, 2009 – MySpace page launches 1. Benchmark report 2. July, 2008 create the social media team – Executive support to understand how marketing messages were being received. 6. Jan 2009 – Win7 Beta released in May, 2008 to a. 1st party community – Clubhouse understand b. 3rd party communities – Facebook 9. April, 2009 – Release the landscape and YouTube 5. Sept, 2008 – engagement Candidate (RC) releases team started 7. Jan, 2009 - @MSWindows launches on Twitter October 22, 2009 – 3. Monitored conversations for 3 months 10. Windows7 launches. Launch of Social a. Identified key URL’s b. Created and trained outreach team Media hub Windows7 launch The objectives for the Windows7 launch complimented our social media initiatives. The objectives were: • Engage the base. • Leverage the huge Windows partner network. • Make Windows7 the hero. • Drive trials and let the product speak for itself while traditional marketing efforts drove awareness.
  • 4. The cornerstone of our social media plan was the Social Media Hub. The Social Media Hub (www.Windows.com/Social) is a website that is an aggregation of all the conversations about Windows7 across the social web. By pulling those conversations into one website consumers can experience Windows through peer-to-peer connections and participate themselves. Because peer-to-peer conversations are the most impactful form of marketing messages it made sense for Windows to leverage the over three million beta testers that were already talking about and loving it. The user flow of the Hub drives consumers through to a relevant place on Windows.com. The Hub is built on a Microsoft technology called LookingGlass. LookingGlass is a web application that pulls in conversations from across the web and can be organized by topic, sentiment, content type, and many other features. Since Windows spent a year building communities in Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the Clubhouse Windows had a base of 100,000’s of fans in the social networks ready to participate. Had Windows not laid the ground work by investing in building communities there wouldn’t be a fan base to call upon and activate. This is one of the key compo¬nents to social media: build the communities before you need them. A long-term vision and commit¬ment will allow a brand to activate the community at product launches or other major points in a brand life cycle. Within the first two weeks of launch the Hub had over 300K visits, 50% coming from Facebook. The hub drove a click-through rate of over 2.5% to Windows.com. End action analysis showed that active preference (likelihood to purchase within 6 months) for users who visited the Hub were 5-10% higher than any other end action on Windows.com. The second program Windows launched was MeetUps. MeetUps is a generic term that refers to offline events planned by enthusiasts online to get together and talk about a common interest. Windows was encouraging fans to create MeetUps of their own. Windows created a tool kit to empower fans to plan their own MeetUps and spread the word. The tool kit included blog badges, countdown clocks, invitation scripts, and product demos.
  • 5. Post campaign the MeetUp platform generated over 352,619 impressions with 28, 930 sponsored members exposed to Windows 7. 282 Windows 7 sponsored Meetup events were hosted and of the guests participating in the events when asked “How likely are you to check out Windows 7 as a result of them supporting your Meetup?” 68% responded they were More Likely. In addition to engaging our existing networks, the Windows team also took advantage of the launch momentum to acquire new fans. The cornerstone of this effort was an Advertising Reach Block on Facebook. The reach block was a one day media buy on Facebook pointing people to the Windows fan page. The Facebook reach block resulted in a 45% increase in Windows fans and 8 million viral impressions for the two weeks following Windows 7 GA. What’s Next? 1. Overcoming Barriers to Purchase Following the launch, the Windows team engaged a web service tool to gain a better understanding of how the Windows 7 conversation evolved over Average Percentage of General Positive vs Speciific Positive time. The tool’s methodology extracts meaning and emotion from blog/ 35% 32% forum/and Twitter conversations. 30% 28% 26% 25% Windows engagement teams expected to see conversation specific to product 22% 22% attributes in the initial weeks following launch. But in fact general excitement 20% 19% around getting Windows 7 dominated the conversation for the first 60 days. 15% It wasn’t until the third month that conversation shifted to specific product 10% attributes and value props. 5% 0% Windows identified the top positive and negative conversation trends following October November December General Positive Specific Positive the launch. That data was integrated into the Windows engagement strategy and windows.com content strategy in order to engage customers to help overcome barriers to consideration or purchase. 2. Evolution of the Social Media Hub Development continues on the moderator application for the Social Media Hub. The goal is to create a platform that any Business Group across Microsoft can adopt to create the same type of aggregation experience. By April 2010, a BETA version will be ready for broader adoption. 3. Deeper connections to customer support team The vast amount of conversation today about Windows is pertaining to customer support questions. Customer support is a different division of Microsoft so working out a cross-team program that streamlines the conversation hand off in a way that supports both teams infrastructure will be a key to success. 4. International Both emerging and developed markets across the globe are jumping into Social Media. Each culture has individual characteristics and nuances that make a single Social Media plan impossible. Windows is working with people in subsidiaries with the biggest business opportunity to understand the Social Network opportunities and build culture specific plans that complement our programs in the US. One example of how Windows brings international social media efforts together is through the Worldwide Windows tab on www.Facebook.com/Windows.