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Hitachi Data Systems extends social reach to generate leads

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Hitachi Data Systems Corp., which markets data storage products to enterprises, created a social media campaign called “Be a Star” that succeeded in driving engagement with customers and generating leads. “The objective was to really focus on our customers and get people to share their success stories,” said Sharon Crost, integrated marketing manager at HDS. “Key for us was thinking not only from the HDS perspective but using social media to shine the light on our customers.” Initial goals were to increase awareness with at least 6,000 page views of the campaign's microsite; create a minimum of 200 social engagements with customers and prospects; and generate at least 300 new leads. Before launching the campaign, HDS conducted interviews with its customers—IT decision-makers and users—to find out their vision of the data center of the future. It captured videos of customer testimonials and created text versions of success stories to use in the campaign. Next, HDS developed a social media framework that segmented the audience, mapped social behaviors, then designed a content management plan. “We used learnings from past campaigns to see the types of people who engage with us, places they engage and how they interact,” Crost said. “One thing we discovered is people like to see their name in lights, so we came up with the theme "Be a star.' ” A key visual element on the campaign microsite, which debuted in May 2011, was the image of a spinning globe, surrounded by stars. On the globe were color-coded markers users could click on. Red was for videos, green indicated customer testimonials, and yellow represented in-depth case studies. For example, users clicking on a yellow marker over British Columbia could read a case study on the city of Coquitlam, B.C., using Hitachi Universal Storage Platform for storage virtualization. By clicking on a red marker over Singapore, users could watch a video of how telecommunications company StarHub uses HDS virtualization solutions to store and manage customer data. Surrounding the globe were stars and, when clicked on, users could read tweets about the campaign and case studies. “We created a Twitter interface through a mini-app, so when people tweeted about the campaign using our hashtag, we were able to create a star on the map containing a link to the real-time tweet,” Crost said. In order to capture leads, HDS promoted an e-book called “Storage Virtualization for Dummies,” which users could download by providing basic information including name, organization and email address. The final step was promoting the campaign, which HDS did primarily through social media. “We used four different categories to promote the campaign: owned and earned media, which were the least expensive, paid ads and partnerships,” Crost said. On owned media, HDS used its own website (www.hds.com) to drive users to the microsite. Using earned media, HDS created a Twitter hashtag (#HDSForum) for users to tweet about the campaign; it created a Facebook fan page; and it encouraged users to join its LinkedIn group. HDS also ran paid ads on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as on its media partners' websites, to promote the campaign. In addition, HDS launched an internal campaign among its employees to create excitement around the campaign and develop internal ambassadors. It also held a contest at a customer event in the Asia-Pacific region to drive buzz on Twitter. The campaign ran from May through October and more than succeeded in meeting HDS' goals. It generated more than 30,000 page views (five times the original goal) and captured 359 leads (30% more than the initial goal). Most impressive, the “Be a Star” campaign generated more than 9,000 social engagements with customers and prospects, against an initial goal of 200. “The key learning for us is the power of our customers to tell the story to their peers ... [for] the audience to express themselves and be visible in the conversation.”
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