What You Can Learn from
Tech in the Trenches

What You Can Learn from Tech in the Trenches
By Jessica Oaks


Tech companies are driving social’s evolution, but they’re also there on the ground and part of the conversation. And they’re not just engaging with the brainiacs. Connecting with consumers on a personal level has become one of the keys to success – whether you’re building tech, empowering it or getting it to the consumer’s door.Why are technology companies on Facebook with the rest of us? As of the end of 2013, Americans were already spending more than half an hour each day engaging with social media. According to data collected by Invesp, a whopping 71% of those were more likely to click Buy Now based on social referrals. And 78% were more likely to make a purchase when they liked a company’s social message.

Three big players with plenty to like come to mind. Taken separately, they and their strategies don’t have a lot in common, but what they do share is a knack for nailing social and plenty of tactics you don’t have to be a big brand to emulate. They are:

The Enabler


Otherwise known as Amazon, conqueror of online retail and the company that made it possible to buy a laptop and mouthwash in one place. With 23 million followers on Facebook, close to a million followers on Twitter and nearly 30,000 followers on Instagram, Amazon’s social presence is pretty epic. What they put in front of those followers is predictable, but it’s a formula that works. Follow Amazon and you get deals, deals and more deals. Frequent giveaways. Plus updates that point to the latest and greatest (and sometimes weirdest) stuff you can buy. From there, fans are doing the work by sharing, which is why Amazon.com dominates when it comes to downstream traffic from social media.

The Carrier


Never underestimate the value of free stuff. T-Mobile is a master of social engagement with a fan base that does most of the heavy lifting thanks to amusing hashtags like #breakupletter and #unleash. In June, the company took things to the next level with a giveaway campaign that put one new pre-release LG G3 in the hands of a follower every day for the whole month. More than 74,000 T-Mobile fans pre-registered for the smartphone as part of the LG G3 Open Beta Sweepstakes hoping to be one of the 28 people who would be among the first to get their hands on the G3. The company generated a whole lot of buzz with a very minor investment.

The Powerhouse

Hip and cool are two words not usually associated with GE, but as unsexy as this 120+ year old company can be, its social media influence is kicking startups to the curb. First, there’s a visually arresting Instagram account that gives followers an engineer’s eye view into GE’s tech. Then catch GE on Vine where it produces slick DIY and stop-motion videos encouraging fans to create their own #6SecondScience Fair videos (all of which is cross-posted to Tumblr). And in 140 characters or less the company is connecting with tech heads on Twitter. Science facts may not be every American’s cup of tea, but this classic corporation generated enough social clout to win a Shorty.

Maybe yours is not a tech company or a big brand, but there’s plenty to take away here. Give the people what they want – whether it’s facts or just free stuff – and they’ll flock to you.

Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.