Case Study: Intel’s Social Media Strategy

Intel is one of the most foremost American global technology companies and the world’s largest semiconductor chip producer, in term of revenue. It is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors where its processors nowadays can be seen in a various computing devices used. The company was founded in 1968, as Integrated Electronics Corporation with home-based in Santa Clara, California, USA. Intel also manufactures motherboard chipsets, integrated circuits, graphic chips, network interface controllers, and other communications and computing utility devices. Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore and widely cooperated with the executive leadership Andrew Grove initially founded the company. The company grew and later started integrating an advanced chip design with a leading capability support manufacturing. The company started its prominent advertising campaign with Intel’s “Intel Inside” in the 1990s and made its Pentium brand names as the home-used processor.

Intel Social Media Strategy

The company is everywhere in the digital social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. Intel Free Press is a tech news site from Intel Corporation, covering technology and innovation stories focused on people, technology, events and topics relevant to Intel and the computing industry. Intel’s chosen social media weapon is high-quality content, and its delivery vehicle is its staff. Intel realized that engaged end-users, particularly influential bloggers and hobbyists, rely heavily on technical resources and product information that is not widely available from resellers; consequently, it launched social media campaigns based on promoting subject-matter experts and internal brand advocates.

Under Intel’s global social media strategist, Ekaterina Walter leadership, Intel has seen a good 10% to 12% monthly fan base growth.

The way consumers communicate with each other and with brands fundamentally changed. We didn’t have a choice. Traffic to Fortune 100 company websites decreased significantly while engagement on social networks with brands increased. More and more there is an expectation among consumers that brands need to listen, be responsive and know where key conversations happen. And if brands don’t, the perception is that they don’t care. The price of inactivity was greater than the risk we could have encountered. –  Ekaterina Walter.

Her principles for Facebook engagement include original content, not just automated, and original videos, not just YouTube links.

Content is king. This hasn’t changed. Relevant content should be at the core of brand’s strategy. Creating relevant content is an amazing way to add value and strengthen those relationships you build through your online conversations. Your customers love to be in the know and this is a great way to position yourself as an industry expert. You want to become a trusted source in the community and sharing sought-out content is the only way to become one. You should then use your social channels to distribute that content across the web and use content as a catalyst for conversations.-  Ekaterina Walter.

Intel conducted a study benchmarking the Facebook engagement rates of other brands similar to Intel in size and standing. They found—much to their delight—that Intel came out on top with higher levels of engagement than any of the other brands. Intel also discovered that organic engagement (vs. paid) had steadily increased over time, confirming the right content is hitting the right audience.  In August 2012, Intel’s campaign “How computers were made” post on Facebook attracted 102,5K+ likes in a week since it was published on August 9. More than 34,069 people have chosen to share the link, while 3,258 commented on it. 80%, of the conversations around Intel and products happen on blogs and twitter.  Facebook usage within the business has also increased with 250 individually created and managed pages which was becoming difficult to co-ordinate and manage multi market campaigns. After reviewing 250 Facebook pages and 250 Twitter handles/account presence, Intel took the decision to alter their social media strategy from being decentralized to a centralized global strategy supported by internal guidelines, training programs,content editorial, publishing schedules, supplemented by a suite of publishing Vitrue, listening, Radian6, & internal reporting tools. This centralized strategy allows them to listen and respond globally, locally or to individuals, based on the context of the conversation.

Intel’s marketing is not just about hardware, chips and engineering–“experience” is the new focus.  “People don’t buy processors…they buy experiences,” said David Veneski U.S. Media Director, at Intel Corporation. “You need to turn a moment into a momentum, and a momentum into a movement,” Veneski said. Projects like Intel’s Museum of Me use social media to encourage users to create a “visual archive of their social life.” Another campaign, “Intel Ultrabook Temptations” is a collaborative social experiment to assess how desperate people will be to get their hands on the product. In this experiment users are encouraged to jump around on a custom-built measurement device to generate their “excitement” rating and the event is captured on video and shared socially as the feature on Intel’s YouTube page.

“The focus has shifted from being iconic to posting a status update,” said Veneski which makes Intel more humanized and relatable to the consumer. Intel is embracing social media and using it as a key element to understand the driving factors behind day-to-day experiences. Intel’s products are at the core of technologies that people use, and users like to capture those experiences, talk about them, and share them with friends, families and others. Through blogs, video, and social networks like Twitter, Intel is actively onboarding new customers’ faster and strengthening relationships with existing customers. Like most companies, the online community was initially built by marketing. “It is integrated into our marketing plan,” explains Laurie Buczek, who heads enterprise marketing for Intel’s Storage Group and works closely with the leaders of Intel’s 3,000 to 4,000 salespeople. Intel also uses YouTube, which enables product managers to vividly demonstrate new technologies and Twitter (@Intel). Intel’s Social Media Center  of Excellence sets the strategy and guidelines for all social media  content across the company’s far-reaching locations and business units.

Planet Blue Internal Social Network for Employees

Intel has an internal social media platform called Planet Blue that was launched in 2009, which is company controlled Facebook styled intranet, where more than 1,00,000 employees can connect with each other, collaborate and share knowledge. Planet blue includes blogs, wikis, status updates, discussion forums and employees can also form groups based on their interests, hobbies, etc. Employees not only communicate and create groups but also use the platform to ideate and innovate which is essential for Intel as there is constant pressure on the company to develop new products. Intel earlier had a wiki based platform for collaboration, called Intelpedia, “the Intel encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” was launched in 2006, which employees can edit freely   and had millions of pages and thousands of contributors. Intel had a culture of technology-based information-sharing since early 2003, when employee blogging started predominantly included self-maintained servers under desks and these internal employee blogs gained popularity. Intel CEO Paul Otellini launched his employee blog in 2004 and other top execs and leaders followed throughout 2005 culminating in a fully IT-supported platform that same year. Intel also started its popular developer blogs and wikis for software collaboration called Intel Software Network back in May 2006. In April 2007, Intel created [email protected] as a new business tool for customers and employees to directly communicate and collaborate. In June 2008, Intel added the Digital IQ training program for employees that contained around 60 programs online with certification on how to use these social media tools to increase innovation, communication and collaboration at work.

According to a post titled “How successful is your Enterprise 2.0 strategy?” on Intel communities, “some of the metrics Intel track are related to adoption — such as active users (creators, synthesizers, consumers) and “unique visitors”. However, these indicators may not accurately represent the success indicators of the platform. Quality of discussions, impact of these discussions on the users, problem resolutions, agility in solving issues, ability to find subject matters experts quickly could be different parameters which can really show how successful the platform is.” This highlights that Intel closely monitors its social media styled intranet and hopes that the intranet will fuel social learning among employees and also use it for their career development where they can look for positions and chat about their career progression. Intel created a comprehensive set of social media policies called the Intel Social Media Guidelines that are available in over 35 languages designed to help employees to understand how to manage their social media presence. Intel also created Social Media Center of Excellence, which is a cross functional body of experts from Marketing, PR, legal and Digital Communications, who collaborated to create guidelines, processes, strategies, and skill-building courses for how Intel employees can use social media tools like blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, and social networks around the world. Intel is further looking to improve its Planet Blue and is looking to add voice control features to the content so that employees can use it effectively for their collaboration, communication, learning and knowledge sharing initiatives.

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