Employer Branding Ideas
London, UK
Employer Branding Ideas
London, UK
How Microsoft Uses Social Media [CASE STUDY]
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How Microsoft Uses Social Media CASE STUDY

Microsoft is a famous technology company founded in 1975 – they are most well known for computer software creation and have offices in over 60 countries worldwide. It is an extremely successful, innovative and influential company that has changed the way we use the internet and interact with technology and social media. Famously, both Windows and DOS were created by Microsoft, with Bill Gates being the former CEO of the company.

For leaders in technology and software, Microsoft are almost expected to have an enviable social media presence. They have led the way to the future, so social media is an important aspect of their strategy as a trailblazing company that creates and innovates. They have created web browsers, operating systems, office applications and web services almost dominating the internet and giving people the ability to be immersed into a technological world.

Twitter:

Microsoft have a multitude of Twitter accounts – and this makes them such a present company on social as they dedicate attention to specific themes on each of their accounts. For example, they have a company account (@Microsoft), a customer service account, an account dedicated to security, an account dedicated to development, store accounts, news accounts, a conference and events account, a careers account, accounts for each country and product based accounts! They have covered every aspect of their brand and dedicated each account to one item so that you get the information you need clearly and in detail with large amounts of content. If you need to find out something specific this strategy allows the customer to easily target what they need to find out and will get answers much quicker than a company who just has one account to cover all elements of their brand.

Microsoft’s main Twitter account was created in 2009 and has over 6.4 million followers! This account focuses on Microsoft as a company, with content based on news, products, projects and announcements. They tweet in real time and are very on trend with world topics and events as well as their own. They create content specifically for certain days and events which is why they are an aspirational and creative brand on social. They are also not afraid to experiment with video:

Microsoft often show snippets and previews of podcasts, events and videos on their Twitter feed which makes followers feel special as they are getting the first look at certain content and being provided with an insight into Microsoft’s products and ventures. They often link to some of their YouTube content.

What is great about Microsoft is they share a lot of content from their other accounts, from similar companies and people who have the same values and aims of Microsoft. This allows them to reach different audiences as well as showcasing their interest in what other people have to say on Twitter and showing that they understand there can be important and interesting content put out by other accounts other than themselves.

For example, they shared this video which merges sports, technology and aspiration. They show their audience that Microsoft is part of a larger landscape and not just solely technology, it is constantly being connected to other industries:

Once again, they retweet Ford merging technology and the car industry through Microsoft Azure. Of course, they also share a lot of content from their other accounts to give people more information and to allow followers to have the option of following more of their accounts for extra insight.

Overall, on Twitter, Microsoft are creative, current and encourage engagement. Their content is not just product based and includes a lot of people from behind the company and posts focusing on sustainability, global concerns, people’s aspirations and how technology is being incorporated to world organisations and events. I think Microsoft show themselves to be a company that really invest time in the values and beliefs of the brand as well as their products. They have a vision and share content that highlights that vision and the importance of making positive change globally.

This video highlights innovation, change and hard work through both humans and technology. The hashtag #DoMore encourages people to take this on board and do something positive that will change how people live and how the world functions in order to create a better future.

Facebook:

Microsoft have 6.5 million likes on Facebook, a similar number to their Twitter followers. Their content is often different to what they put on Twitter and they seem to be slightly more casual and friendly on Facebook. They post less on Facebook but their content receives a lot of engagement including both likes and comments.  The descriptions on posts are slightly longer and more informative which is great for Facebook as you are not limited to a certain amount of characters, so you are encouraged to use this to your advantage.

Microsoft once again like to show that the company is about how humans can change the world coupled with how their technology can help to make this come true. Many posts are focused around this and include some inspiring stories, Twitter is more video based and Facebook more photo based:

One man, one passion, one very 70's business card. #DoGreatThings #TBT

Posted by Microsoft on Thursday, March 19, 2015

Their photos are bright and fun and a lot more friendly. Microsoft clearly acknowledge that Facebook has a different audience to Twitter and use this to create their content and change the way they put posts out. They always connect their content and posts to how their products can help to create and mirror what they have done. For example, below they honour St Patrick’s day whilst also showcasing Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3: They are creative but don’t forget that they can provide the tools for others to achieve similar creativity and fun ideas and concepts.

Overall Microsoft use Facebook to focus on the human part of their company as well as showcasing products and their ability to provide change. I personally like how they try to stay away from cross posting as it shows they understand what content works best and who they are targeting.

Instagram:

”Celebrating people who break boundaries, achieve their goals and #DoMore every day”. 

Microsoft use Instagram to really push their values and beliefs as a brand as shown in their Instagram bio. They want to reiterate that technology and human actions can merge to create change and that people need to dream and aim higher in order to achieve change and future success, essentially pushing the concept that people should #DoMore.

One of my favourite ways that they encourage this on Instagram is their ‘wanted’ posts. Every so often, Microsoft post ‘wanted’ images with different captions after such as ‘Boundary Breakers’. They even encourage engagement by asking people to comment and tag friends to spread the message that they want to get across and that is for people to #DoMore. The photos are inspirational, aesthetic and great quality.

 

Microsoft use Instagram to share personal success stories of people who are trying to change the world. It is refreshing to see a company who wants their followers to want to do better and to help give them ideas simply by providing a photo and a short story next to it. It makes people believe that they can do the same and using Instagram to showcase these stories is a perfect platform as it focuses on the visual but is often informative.  Once again, they have tailored their content specifically to Instagram as they realise people are using this network for a different reason to Facebook or Twitter.

Many of the stories shared on Instagram showcase charities and how people are helping schemes, events and people globally. Microsoft are a global company and this is reflected in the pictures they post on Instagram which showcases a variety of countries and people of different genders, races, ethnicities and ages trying to achieve a variety of aims and aspirations.

LinkedIn:

With over 2.3 million followers on LinkedIn, it is safe to say that Microsoft as a company have really taken advantage of this platform and have managed to reach a large audience. I really love their one liners and on LinkedIn this starts out with ‘come as you are, do what you love’. This entices anyone who visits the page and provides a positive and accepting message to anyone who may come across their LinkedIn profile.

As usual, they tailor content specifically for the LinkedIn platform and do not often cross post across Twitter or Facebook. Posts are current and are updated regularly. Content is more based on global and local news, events and products. It has a more professional theme than their other social media strategies which is perfect for LinkedIn as it is a social network for professionals and job seekers. Their content often produces words such as ‘business’ ‘ work’ ‘ vision’ and ‘volunteers’ proving to be more business based content. This shows Microsoft’s ability to adapt to different social environments and understand that content works better when you tailor it to a specific audience.

Their strategy on LinkedIn is the business side of Microsoft; Insights into CEO’s of other companies, how certain parts of the business work and a more detailed look into product creation and the explanations behind it. A very informative, insightful and practical LinkedIn account that puts Microsoft ahead of other technology and innovation companies.

Vine:

Microsoft themselves do not have a Vine account but Internet Explorer and Windows both have Vine accounts. However, Internet Explorer hasn’t posted since October 2014 and Windows have no posts at all! I think this is a shame because the videos previously created on vine have been fun and creative and could be a key tool in their social media strategy if they chose to focus on this for a while.

Using Vine would certainly go down well with people who follow Microsoft on Instagram, they could use Vine to further the stories that they present on Instagram and create short stories and sequences through video! I hope Microsoft one day take to Vine so that they can continue to use social media creatively to put across motivating stories that aim to use technology to make changes in the world.

Pinterest:

Microsoft once again have not made the most of this social platform but have established a presence on Pinterest, although not a huge one. It is an extremely colourful page and their categories are innovative and very current ideas. They relate to technology, media and are based around their audience’s interests. However, they only have 16 boards and 148 pins, perhaps suggesting that Microsoft’s Pinterest page has somewhat been forgotten or left untouched for quite a while.

Their themes are good and so is their content, however just never made Pinterest a priority. I really think Pinterest could be a great way for Microsoft to showcase their global interest in many different topics such as people, places, businesses technology, gadgets and change. It would really provide an opportunity to put up some great photos, even created by the company themselves using special software.

YouTube:

Microsoft have 293,181 subscribers on YouTube. They title their videos with the main subject and then a detailed line with more information. For example: ‘Road trip: 3 friends, 3000 miles (Microsoft explore)’. The simplicity of the video titles are catchy and short but provide just enough information so you know what you are searching or what you are about to watch. Videos include how Microsoft has changed certain people’s lives, podcast clips, interviews with people within the industry and behind the scenes at events and launches. Their most popular video had over 13 million views which was a video introducing the Microsoft HoloLens! It is an extremely visual and creative video that has captured the attention of millions with its concept of the future and change.

Conclusion:

Microsoft have a great social presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They create content that is original, creative and will be interesting to their audience. They know who they are targeting and want to spread a message of innovation and the will to be able to create change across the world. Twitter is video based, with engagement across all of their other accounts. Facebook has a more casual, friendly and bright theme.

My favourite is their Instagram account because it provides amazing images that inspire and engage followers. However, Microsoft need to concentrate on improving their presence on Pinterest and perhaps create a Vine account. They could reach a whole new audience and it will provide them with another opportunity to be creative and show the fun and exciting side of their company, just as they do on YouTube. Imagine if their Vine video’s could reflect the creativity and impact that their YouTube content has done?

Their LinkedIn page is brilliant and provides everything you would want to know about such a successful company, an insight into business and what makes it work is what you get from their page. Interesting facts on the people who work there, people who partner with them and general people in business allow followers to understand more about how a company runs and the thought that goes into the process behind the products and campaigns.

Microsoft as I said before are a trailblazing company with dreams of changing the world through technology and that they have done so. Their social media is different and exciting compared to other companies and they are really leading the way with some of their accounts. I want them to focus on their visual platforms to get them up to speed with their Instagram and YouTube accounts in order to be the best of the best, then Microsoft could really be leading the way and spark competition for many other brands on social!

Thank you Microsoft for showing us that each person has a dream and a different story, and that with hard work and the right technology, you can achieve these dreams and then share your story with the world.