Using Social Media to Build Brands

There are a lot of different social media executions that we’ve covered here. We’ve shown “what not to do” so we can learn from other’s social media missteps – but we’ve also tried to cover social media executions that are worthwhile, mainly to show that social media when executed properly can build brands.

That’s why I wanted to share the latest company that I’ve seen using social media to build their brand – Hewlett Packard. While they have executed blogs, podcasts, and have overall embraced social media – I’ve been impressed with their branded widget – because I truly feel it gives us a lesson in how to build effective brands in the space of social hpprint-posts.jpg media.

Now you may be thinking – how can a widget build a brand? Usually widgets are just one tool in the social media toolbox. However, in this case it serves a powerful use that demands review and reflection. Below are some lessons that we can learn from this:

1. Social Media can be branded, but must encourage adoption – While social media isn’t usually the place to whip out your 30 sec. TV spot, practice your sales pitch, or bombard your audience with your message – it is okay for it to be branded. As you see, HP doesn’t hide that it is offering the widget, but it tastefully places its logo to inform its users it is the source. At the same time, the adoption of the widget is increased because its brand is neutral enough to not overtake the user’s own website.

2. Social Media Must Answer a Need – I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken about the value proposition – but this widget clearly answers a need of its audience. Yes, it may be more cost effective for HP’s customers to print more, but at the end of the day it has fulfilled a need, and introduced its brand to a larger audience.

3. Social Media Must Inspire Frequency of Use – I can’t count how many times I print posts from other blogs or websites that I want to bring to a meeting, pass around the office, or keep on hand for later. Imagine the free exposure that HP’s brand gains each time this happens? Effective social media should leave your audience coming back for more.

The above jpg shows how the widget enables its users to select and print multiple posts efficiently and effectively. If you are interested in using it for your own site, you can get it here.

Ignite Social Media