When I was in the Bay Area recently I had the good fortune to find my way into attending my first Tweetup that was organized by a company. A Tweetup organized by a company? Yes, I know it sounds weird, especially considering how organic and spontaneous Tweetups can be. But, just as with any other Tweetup, I found out about this one through word-of-mouth and made my way down to a downtown San Francisco hotel to see what the scoop was.
We normally look at case studies of B2C brands and how they want to maintain their brand or expand their market through Return on Participation (ROP) in social media. AMD is primarily a B2B brand, their customers being computer manufacturers like HP, NOT consumers. So why would they be interested in investing money in a Tweetup? And how effective was their social media marketing?
It turns out that the Tweetup was organized around the timing of the Intel Developer Forum. That’s right, AMD scheduled an event around the timing of their competitor’s big event, to lure some of the attendees to engage with them. This is very common in a lot of industries. But instead of doing their “event,” why not do a Tweetup to try to attract not only the more socially media savvy user (engineer) of their product but also those potential “influencers” that may help spread the word in social media? After all, although their customers are the computer manufacturers, the final customer is the consumer, and the consumer can influence by how and where they spend their money.
To get to the meat of the story, I believe that the AMD Tweetup, while probably being an experiment, was successful for the following reasons:
- Instead of giving away company paraphernalia, they gave away a few signed copies of Social Media Rockstar Chris Brogan‘s newest book Trust Agents. By doing so, AMD has effectively branded themselves as being in the know in social media and correctly aligned themselves with Chris. Cool move.
- In the corner of the room there was a conspicuous display of their latest technology. But instead of showing something already out in the market, they brought in their latest and greatest technology embedded inside a soon-to-be-released HP computer. It made me want to test the technology, and it blew away my original feeling that AMD was merely a “cheap” competitor to Intel by its sleek design and excellent graphics performance. If it wasn’t for the Tweetup, I would still have my original feelings for AMD. And because they limited their demonstrations to just one corner in the back of the room next to the bar, it was a perfect setting to draw people in to look and see.
- The long-held impression that I had that AMD was a merely inexpensive solution was also blown away by the facilities at where the event was held as well as the food and beverages. Just as anything you do on the Internet adds to how your personal brand is perceived, AMD’s branding is affected by the facilities and how they execute on the event. It was very classy.
- Rather than a boring event, it was a very social one where people were interfacing with each other much like a networking event rather than a boring “corporate” event. By bringing in social media fans to the crowd, the environment was probably a lot more livelier than previous events, creating another boost for the AMD brand image by portraying this event as being the place to be. I am sure that all who attended will be looking forward to attending more AMD-hosted events.
Most importantly, the fact that a social media strategy blogger like myself is even initiating a conversation about this shows that AMD received a decent Return on Participation. Did it lead to more sales for AMD? To be honest with you, I just switched over from a Windows machine to a Mac, so it did not win more business for me. But should a friend of mine be asking for a recommendation for a PC, I will hands down recommend that they need to go to a Best Buy and really try out and compare an AMD-run PC as well as an Intel Inside machine. And this is coming from someone who, up until now, has only bought Window PCs with Intel Inside. Obviously, this advice goes out to all of my blog readers as well.
Should your company also be hosting a Tweetup? If done wrong, the Tweetup can absolutely ruin your brand image as well as waste some of your precious marketing budget. Each company has a different situation, but if you are looking to engage directly with potentially social media influential consumers, a Tweetup may provide you with some potentially killer ROP. If you need help in your planning, please feel free to contact me.
Do you know of other companies that have hosted Tweetups? What has your experience been?