Connecting Face to Face with Social Media Influencers: HP Discover 2011

Social media is more than technology and online platforms.  It is about bringing people together.  All too often, it seems the emphasis marketers put on their social media efforts is bound by some technology such as Facebook or Twitter.  But really, social media is about being social and therefore necessitates face to face contact in order to be effective and long lasting.

Companies need socialization just like people.  A company is really nothing more than an organized collection of people and those people need to meet and interact with other people to make business happen.  Social media opens up the opportunity for companies to align their business objectives with customers, partners, employees, through new mediums.  One way marketers can meet their objectives is to interact with the social media influencers (read: bloggers) who play a key role in influencing the way people think, interact, and ultimately make purchasing decisions.

In previous blog posts, we have discussed the need to interact on a face to face level with bloggers.  See here and here for example.  We, at Ivy Worldwide, encourage our clients to do the same.

HP Discover is HP’s largest technology event of the year.  This year, over ten thousand people traveled to Las Vegas to attend, to meet with HP folks, and to learn about HP’s technology offerings.  In working closely with HP social media marketing, Ivy helped come up with a plan to engage 22 key bloggers by inviting them to the event and creating a comfortable space for them to do their work while attending.

These bloggers were encouraged to cover the event, attend sessions, attend special round table talks with HP spokespeople, and visit with the other vendors present.  It’s important to note is that these bloggers were in no way obligated to write or say good things about HP.  In fact, they are encouraged to have conversations about the industry as a whole and honestly share their opinions.

A look inside the lounge as round table sessions between the bloggers and HP spokespeople were taking place

With HP’s help, we decided to set up a blogger lounge where they could sit down, connect to the Internet, relax, confer with their peers, meet with HP folks, have a snack and get some work done.  We coordinated a big dinner with transportation for the bloggers and some of the HP folks so everyone could relax and share a nice meal. We helped coordinate a tweet up with the HP Connect team (Connect is a community of HP customers and partner companies).

Curious about the amount of coverage the bloggers generated about the event?  Just Google HP Discover to find out.  The results were outstanding!

The upshot?  HP was thrilled to host the bloggers and see all the high quality content they generated.  The bloggers were thrilled to be there and have access to the HP executives, technical folks and technology.  It was a win-win for everyone.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to engage your social media influencers face to face.  You will forge valuable business relationships as well as great friendships too.