The Inside Scoop on How Intel Manages Its Facebook Page

social media interviewsHave you ever wondered how mega-corporations manage their social media initiatives?  Keep reading for a fascinating inside look at Intel Corporation’s sophisticated social media initiatives.

I interviewed Ekaterina Walter, a social media strategist at Intel to better understand how the company is using Facebook.

For the last two years, Ekaterina has been part of Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence.  In addition to developing social media policy for their 80,000 employees, the center is also responsible for strategy, training and monitoring.  Ekaterina manages Intel’s Facebook page.

Ekaterina WalterDuring this interview, you’ll gain insight into how large corporations manage their social media activities and discover some of the innovative ways that Intel is using Facebook.

Mike: Let’s talk about Intel’s Facebook page.  You have more than 115,000 fans on your page.  Would you share whom you’re targeting and how Intel is using Facebook?

Ekaterina: We created a Facebook page to provide a place for folks to talk about technology and, of course, Intel products.  The people that were immediately interested in dialoguing with us were the tech-setters—the ones building their own systems.  These were tech “geeks” in the best sense of the word.

Most of our growth is organic.  In the beginning, it was about 3% to 4% a month.  Then we decided to get more serious about engaging, posting more interesting content, answering questions and just posting more often.

We started seeing about a 10% to 12% monthly growth.  This shows you how important the right type of engagement is for growing a fan base.

Intel's Facebook page

Intel's Facebook page contains fun videos and engaging discussion.

Now we’re exploring ways to bring more of a mainstream audience to our page and add content that will keep them interested and be a little bit less techie.

Mike: You were experiencing a 10% to 12% growth once you started implementing some of these tactics and strategies.  You mean your numbers of fans were growing by that much?

Ekaterina: Absolutely, yes.

Mike: In the beginning, you were targeting tech-setters or “geeks.”  Were you trying to target the people working inside of the IT centers in corporations, or were these the people at home just building their own computers?  Whom do you think you were going after in the beginning?

Ekaterina: Quite honestly, if you look back 20 or 30 years ago, we have been talking to folks in computer clubs. It has not only been folks who work for bigger companies who are now bigger customers that we sell the ingredients to, but also folks who do their own build – smaller mom-and-pop shops that build a system and then sell it.  And then there’s the totally 100% geeks who sit in their basement and build their servers, build desktop systems and build laptops, etc.

Knowing that tech-setters are setting a trend and really being considered more as unofficial experts in the field, they’ve always worked for us as the number-one audience to go after.

As times change and we embraced social media, instead of going to computer clubs and reaching 20, 30 or 50 people at a time, we could reach thousands and thousands of people on Facebook. And by using other tools like Twitter and blogging, etc., we’re looking at reaching more of a mainstream audience.

Mike: Let’s talk about your Facebook wall strategy. Can you share a little bit about what kinds of content you post on your wall and how the brand has benefitted from what you’ve been doing?

Ekaterina: Nowadays it’s all about news feed optimization.  It’s almost becoming the equivalent of SEO for Facebook.

For those folks who are not really familiar, news feeds display the most popular stories on Facebook. According to Facebook, 0.02% of stories actually make it to the news feed, which is rather scary if you look at it as a marketer.

You want to be seen and heard. However, if your status updates are not getting into people’s news feeds, you might just as well not send them.

There’s a unique amplification effect that Facebook has, where if your friends see it, their friends might also see it, especially if you comment or engage on the brand’s wall.  Or if you “like” a brand, it’s also being seen by all of your friends.

Basically, you want your fans to see it, but more importantly, you want them to engage with you. Because of the news feed algorithm and the engagement they call fan growth, the higher the engagement with you (which are likes, comments, etc.), the more likely it is that your page will be picked up by the Facebook algorithm and make it into the news feed.

We try to keep all content interesting and fresh.  Way back, I asked our fans, “What do you want to see on our wall?  What kinds of updates do you want to see?”

They told us they want to stay on top of technical news.  They want to be the first to know about Intel products that are coming out and what we were up to in general.

They also liked the fact that they can chat with their fellow geeks and ask them for all kinds of advice about how build their own system.

It is important to learn our fans’ likes and dislikes.  Either it’s based on their reactions to particular posts or the polls that we run.  We alter our content strategy accordingly.

Another thing is we monitor engagement spikes and track “aha” moments. Sometimes you would be surprised at what type of content your fans respond most to.

intel's holiday wishes

Intel shows a fun side with holiday wishes.

The other thing is we try to be human by sending best wishes to our fans during holidays or asking them what their favorite holiday tradition is, which is quite often no different from how you would talk to your friends. That garners a lot of engagement and positive comments. Something like saying a simple “thank you” when they pay you a compliment or tell you how much they love your product is also extremely important. It’s anything that encourages and continues the dialogue.

Our organic monthly growth more than tripled ever since we really looked at our Facebook engagement strategy seriously, so we’re definitely reaping the benefits and helping continue that two-way dialogue.

Mike: If you had to give one or two of your best engagement tips, what would they be?

Ekaterina: It’s all about trial and error and learning what works for your audience.  An important thing to remember is that what works for some might not necessarily be the right thing for you, so you really need to try to play with it.

My favorite tip is to NOT automate your content.  At first we said, “We have several blogs that have awesome information that we’re providing.  Why don’t we just tie it to our Facebook page and feed that as an automated status update?  Then in between we’ll throw in some customized updates.”

It did not work.  To make it work, you need a good editorial calendar and editorial strategy.  At times, we would have several updates a day and some days we didn’t have any updates.  It was difficult to coordinate this many bloggers.  In some instances, we would have updates that would be hidden just because there were six in a row.

The other bad thing about automated content is the fact that the news feed doesn’t really pick it up.  So it’s not making it to people’s news feeds.  That is very important to remember.

First of all, when the update is customized, people comment on it much more.

The other thing is you can ask questions. You can post an announcement, post videos and ask people, “What do you think?” It really motivates them to be engaged and to answer. If you don’t ask, they would probably comment, but the engagement is not going to be as big.

intel videos on facebook

Videos are a regular part of Intel's Facebook wall strategy.

There is another one of my favorites that I notice not a lot of people know about. Video is your secret weapon. I know everybody says that; however, not only do news feed algorithms prefer media like video and photos and favor them, there is another feature that has just been announced the end of last year, and for some reason it was just really quiet and not a lot of people picked it up.

If you upload a raw video file, not just linked from YouTube but uploaded on Facebook, and your fans share it with their friends, when somebody who’s not a fan or liker of your Facebook page actually watches the video, there is a sweet little thing—a button that pops up on the upper-left corner of the video that invites you to basically like the page, or in the old terms, to become a fan of the page. That is the fastest way for folks to just click on it and become a fan.

It’s a really outstanding call to action, and so I do encourage folks to upload raw files versus just linking to YouTube, which is the easiest thing to do. However, it’s not as effective for your engagement strategy.

Mike: You have a cool little tab called “Tech Therapy” currently on your Facebook page starring Dr. Lemmy Halpman.  These are really cool little videos, funny little videos actually, of people in technology therapy sessions.  Share a little on the strategy behind these videos.

Ekaterina: This program was originally created in Australia.   We decided to feature them on our main Facebook page.

intel therapy

Dr. Lemmy Halpman discusses dysfunctional relationships between patients and their PCs in funny videos.

Lemmy Halpman came about by the Australian team.  It has been popular.

The concept is to talk to people about what makes their computing great and what blockages are in the way of their attaining that true computing happiness.  It shows the benefits of how many things you can do differently.  Faster processing power and less wait, etc., are among them.

Mike: You’re a big brand, so why come up with videos like that?  What’s the underlying strategy?

Ekaterina: In a fun and easy way it tells a story of people’s pain points and tells a story of a product.  It really marries what your needs might be with what the product has to offer.  It’s more of a demand-generation type of program and strategy, but I think in a very subtle way where you don’t just say, “Here’s a system.  Go buy it.”

Mike: Talk to me about contests.  Do you run them only on Facebook?  Do you have Twitter components?  How have your contests and promotions helped your brand?

intel contest

Intel runs regular contests on its Facebook page.

Ekaterina: We do promote through Twitter, but we try not to really think short-term.  We try to integrate in our current properties.  Every time we drive folks to a property, we want them to stay, and we want that property to exist long-term so we continue building investment into that.  Of course we do struggle with the fragmentation, but we’re working on solving it.

Contests are great at increasing buzz.  Every time we run one, the traffic to the page and our viewership probably increases 500%.

Mike: How do you drive people to learn about your contests on Facebook?

Ekaterina: The wall is effective because we do have a highly engaged audience, and Twitter has been effective.

Mike: Let’s talk about inside Intel.  How are you organized when it comes to social media?  Is it all managed through your Center of Excellence or do you have different units doing their own thing?

Ekaterina: We started with a lot of grassroots.  We’ve been doing social media for years.  We started with blogs way back in 2004.  We started to learn from the grassroots and tried to understand the social media space better.

A few years ago our corporate marketing VP said it was time we got organized and educated on social media.  We shifted some of our budget into digital.  After the social media guidelines, we created the Digital IQ training program that educated over 5,000 of our marketing employees on social media.

We created a university-like program that’s been going on for the past couple of years.  Then we decided we really need a function that would help enable the rest of the company.  That’s how our central team, the Social Media Center of Excellence, came to exist.

Mike: What would be the one single piece of advice you would give one of your peers who’s at a corporation that’s just now getting underway with social media marketing?

Ekaterina: You want to tell them so much, that one is hard.

If I’d say one thing, it’s don’t let the opportunity to engage with your customers slip by just because you’re afraid of potential negative reactions or comments.

I actually talked to Doug Frisbie, a Toyota national marketing manager, when he took over right before their crisis.  He said, “The price of inactivity is greater than the risks of anything we’d be doing in social media,” and it is absolutely true.

Mike: That’s a really solid piece of advice. If people want to learn more about what Intel is doing with social media, where should they go?

Ekaterina: There’s Facebook.com/intel, Twitter.com/intel, YourTube.com/intel, then, of course, Intel.com.  Our blog is at Blogs.intel.com.

Mike: I want to thank you so much for taking some time out today and sharing a lot of your great insight with us.  You were spectacular.

Ekaterina: Thank you so much for having me, Mike. It was great fun.

Listen to the full interview below to learn how Intel manages its Twitter accounts, monitors social media and mobile marketing.

What do you think about Intel’s Facebook page and general social media activities? Leave your comment below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.1stwebdesigner.com Dainis Graveris

    Something interesting.. i haven`t thought about this.. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Keep writing about how to manage FB fan page.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2704322 Peter Wylie

    Michael,

    Great interview, and excellent insights from Ekaterina regarding the news feed algorithms and engagement strategies. Thanks for continuing to produce top notch content regarding the social sphere.

    Peter

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Peter and thank you for being one of those top notch content contributors!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Dainis – Yes, there are doing some cool stuff over at Intel w/ their Facebook page

  • http://sparksheet.com Jtanny

    The concept of Facebook optimization is a cool concept. I would equate it to the Flickr Interestingness concept. What I like about it, is we might be able to understand what doesn’t work, but I don’t know that we could say what works (besides lolcats…not effective branding though). Being interesting is ‘chaotic’.

    Great interview! Great brand!

  • http://lettersfromdan.com/ danrmorris

    I was just finishing up a post about the importance of having an objective when you set up a Facebook page here (http://lettersfromdan.com/2010/08/dont-join-the-follow-us-on-twitter-heat-wave/). Getting sidetracked and reading this article was excellent. I enjoyed it and referenced it in my post. I hope business owners get a chance to read this.

  • http://samuraiwriter.com/blog samuraiwriter

    That’s interesting about the raw video files… hmm, just what my teen daughter’s been doing for a while and I haven’t noticed.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Dan!

  • http://www.myrlandmarketing.com/ Nancy Myrland | Marketing & So

    Great interview Mike! It is so important for all of us, not just those of us who have chosen to lead our clients through the process of adding social media to the marketing mix, but to those just getting started, to spend time studying the models in existence out there. This isn’t because everyone should be doing it the Intel way, but because the more we learn about what’s out there, the closer we come to understanding how to develop our own strategy. Thanks so much for bringing this, and all other, information to us Mike.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrguzman David Guzman

    Thanks so much for posting this interview, Mike! I have to say that I was completely unaware that Intel was taking such a sophisticated & strategic approach to social media.

    I really loved hearing their perspective on automated content. I feel that in the past year and a half the vast majority of companies have automated the process (whether it be syncing Twitterfeed with Twitter) or automated blog updates from dlvr.it . Unfortunately, it seems that many companies are in turn losing out by succumbing to automation as it tends to result in a much lower level of customer / user engagement. It’s nice to see a company as big as Intel driving home that point.

    Thanks again for the great post! Looking forward to more insight soon from the Social Media Examiner! :)

    -David

  • Jenn dePaula

    Great interview! Large and small businesses need to take note…I know I will! Thanks…

    –Jenn

  • http://twitter.com/KimberlyYow Kimberly Yow

    Great interview. I love the tip about uploading raw video files and how easy they make it for someone watching the video to “like” a page/become a fan! I’ve noticed that Facebook frequently implements some of their best changes (like this one) very, very quietly as though that don’t want the public to know…seems crazy to me!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/fredgreenberg30 Fred Greenberg

    It’s incredible the way large corporations are using Facebook now.

  • http://www.smallbiz-marketing.com MarketingNinja

    Great Interview. I agree with the last comment. When it comes to social media, you just have to jump in and start experimenting. Don’t just sit there. Experiment with facebook, twitter, and other tools and start sharing, engaging with your prospects.

  • http://www.bizmeds.biz BizMeds

    Once again Michael great article I look forward to each post. What caught my attention (background SEO) was the phrase “newsfeed optimization”.

    If your status updates are not getting into peoples newsfeeds, you might as well not send them

    FB likes video, images and have the best chances of getting into the newsfeed was another takeaway I am just wondering what else is the FB algo looking at for best practises and are you considering a FB Newsfeed Best Practises blog post?

  • Tom DelMonte

    Very good interview and I appreciate the shared insights from Ekaterina. A division of my company is very much in that same mindset, so it is good hear the lessons learned.

  • http://lettersfromdan.com/ danrmorris

    I , too, am intrigued by automated content. I really value its utility in my work – but can see how it would go by the wayside. At the same time, you’d think that self-service check-out at grocery stores would do more harm than good because you’re not getting the same personal service you once were. But I don’t think that’s happening yet. Maybe someday.

  • http://twitter.com/DubaiNoni alison Noni richards

    Thanks for presenting such valuable insight from the viewpoint of a huge corporation. As an independent media producer and teacher I’m always looking for insights that will help me promote my causes.

  • http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/ Ekaterina Walter

    All, thank you for your comments. And thanks to Mike for such an outstanding write up! It is great to hear that this case study is helpful to folks in their SM efforts!

    David, I agree with you – a lot of companies are now automating everything and that is not a great approach to a dialogue with your customers! Don’t you just hate all those auto DMs you are getting on Twitter?

    To answer the question of what else Facebook algorithm is looking for – the number of fan posts to your wall, the number of comments, the number of likes all play a huge role in your algorithm ranking. This article talks about the algorithm formula in more detail http://teachtofishdigital.com/facebook-news-feed-optimization/

    If you are curious about additional Facebook tips, you can find them in my blog post here http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/2010/05/15-tips-on-effectively-engaging-with-your-facebook-fans/

    Ekaterina

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrguzman David Guzman

    The automation process has definitely become a turnoff. If I had a penny for every auto-DM I received on Twitter, I would be a very rich person. :)

    Generally, I tend to operate under the mindset that there should be much more listening going on than information spewing. Companies often forget that these tools work best when used to provide value to people’s lives, especially by establishing trust and building relationships. What better way to do this than seek out your customers’ / users’ needs?

    In the long haul – that is what people remember. To me, this is what really drives long-term sales.

  • http://timbursch.com/ timbursch

    Mike,
    Great post and helpful insights. I think it’s interesting that a huge corporation (typically stereotyped as slow and behind the times) is on the leading edge of using social media internally and externally. Education is key!

    Intel’s engagement on Facebook just goes to show that human interaction is still key in business, no matter what channel.
    Cheers,
    Tim
    @timbursch

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrguzman David Guzman

    I totally agree with you, Dan. I should have specified that I don’t mean that automated content is no good – I think it also offers value. I also agree that it is not going to the wayside, at least just yet (BTW, great example with the grocery store check out lane!).

    To me, the real problem comes into play when we exclusively or almost exclusively distribute content in an automated fashion. At that point it is almost as if we are simply contributing to others’ information overload and tailoring our message to the masses, rather than to the needs of our audience.

  • http://StephenRFox.com/ F6x

    Having worked for a brand that automated most of its content, I second Ekaterina’s suggestion about not automating content. An editorial calendar is an essential tactic in getting this right, as is knowing your audience and what they expect from each communication platform.

    Ekaterina shared a lot of these same tips–as did some other large brands–at a Web2.0Expo panel last year:
    http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2010/public/schedule/detail/11508

  • http://www.buylocalaffordablewebadvertisingservices.com www.TheAdzDr.com

    Mike, Great post, thanks Ekaterina for sharing your Intel strategies with us. I will have to agree autoposting in many ways is lame, although if you are posting valuable content that can really help your audience it could be accepted some of the time. Love the raw video concept. Surveys are a great way to let your audiience know you are concerned for them, willing listen and make a difference with the info you gather.Contests really do work at juicing ratings and are fun. thanks again Mike.
    Deb DiBiasie ND
    The Adz Dr

  • http://Gardenstatespine.com thekinetic1

    This information was so helpful. thanks to the author and those who commented.
    Brian

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks for a great interview Ekaterina!

  • http://www.natalielouise.com.au Nat

    Great interview Mike – it’s not very often that we get to see what the bigger companiescorporations are doing to handle and grow their SM. Some interesting strategies here by Intel.
    cheers

  • http://www.aboutcanada.ca Richard

    Great interview. Two points I take away are to customise, not automate, and direct uploads of video, rather than linking. As a retailer trying to find the, social media, way to go I am definitely still in the experimenting and finding my way camp.

  • http://www.helpalocalbusiness.com/ HelpALocalBusiness

    I wasn’t a great Facebook fan, mostly because I found them too disruptive for my business purposes. But this interview soft my opinion and somehow I will reconsider my opinion.

  • Candice

    I like the comment on inactivity. Part of me is so scared of doing something wrong, but people want connection not perfection! :)

  • http://twitter.com/therantingboy ranting boy

    Excellent interview. Valuable information. I’ve been looking for inspiration for expanding our fb presence and this was it.

  • http://twitter.com/MarloesdeKrom Marloes de Krom

    Thank you for the excellent interview. It really gave me an insight into how a big company like Intel views social media, especially facebook.

  • http://www.kitaabmarket.com Zohdi Rizvi

    Hey dear SME Team, I need help in how to get or create a signature music that i can use freely in the video campaign i am going to create? Do I need to compose myself (i dont know how?) or is there any free software/source where I can download the music?

    Other question is how do i create video for demonstrating our website features like LinkedIn has created in its learning center? How much technical skills and what specific software do I need?

    Sorry for being so long..but thanks a lot for help!!

    Zohdi
    Kitaabmarket
    http://www.kitaabmarket.com

  • Janet Aronica

    What a fantastic interview. This is the type of post I’m going to come back to again and again for tips. Thank you. Uploading video and customizing updates…check and check.

  • http://www.417marketing.com/ Nick

    I like how she discusses targeting what I’d call “early adopters” to help spread their message.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Try posting this question on our Facebook wall, perhaps our community there can help

  • http://www.socialcubix.com/ Facebook Apps

    That was really informative! The Q/A were all perfect! This is how you give an interview! Sweepstakes are always a good strategy to motivate your fans and followers! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377233084 Markus Bertling

    Wow, an extremly helpful interview! Thanks for sharing these insights, helps a lot!

  • http://twitter.com/nezhnaja_feja nezhnaja

    Hmmm, thought-provoking post! Haven’t thought about most of these things in such detail to be honest. Think’ll I have to do some reviewing!

  • http://www.dred.vn/ dred

    insightful analysis, intel do very good

  • http://www.beercartel.com.au Beer Cartel

    Great interview Michael – would love to know how many people intel employ to drive their social media strategy.









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