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For the latest in our posts looking at how major consumer brands make use of social media I’ve decided to take a look at Sony.
The company’s official blurb states that it “participates in social media to listen, learn and share stories of the passionate people who help bring Sony to life.”
The aim is then to learn from the conversations to create better products and services.
But does the company achieve this lofty goal? To find out, here’s a look at how Sony uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
The most popular account by far is for Sony PlayStation which has more than 32 million fans. It is updated on an almost weekly basis with content that remains resolutely focused on video games and the new PS4.
As a result of the loyalty of gamers it’s not unusual for updates to accrue several thousand ‘likes' and comments, while some achieve up to 70,000.
The current cover image is a teaser for the launch of the new console on June 10 and other updates include a PS4 developer diary and a promotional video.
The social team also posted huge amount of content around the official announcement of the PS4 a few months ago to try and build excitement. It achieved some decent results, with one post receiving 327,000 ‘likes’ and almost 18,000 comments.
The main corporate account has more than three million fans and is updated on a daily basis, but to be honest the content is quite dull.
It’s extremely product-focused and self-promotional, including clips of the company’s new ads, gift ideas, galleries of new products and photos of popstars signed to the Sony record label.
As a result the number of fan interactions is quite low at just a few thousand per update on average, which is a great deal lower than many other global brands.
On the other hand, the social team do a good job of responding to user comments which is a good way of encouraging further engagement.
It’s also worth noting a few of Sony’s different efforts with Facebook apps.
The Xperia team built an app that tied into an ad campaign based on the idea the company’s cameras are powered by loads of small robots.
Users had to try and catch almost 5,000 escaped robots around London by completing various tasks including scanning QR codes on the robots, using Instagram and Tweeting using the hashtag #XperiaUnleashed. The campaign also had its own Twitter feed that posted clues to Xperia locations.
Another noteworthy app was one that used Spiderman to promote the new Sony photo editing products.
Users could place themselves in an interactive mural featuring a New York street as a backdrop then invite friends to get involved.
It also gave people information on how the mural was created and how they can use the technology to create their owns photos.
The Xperia app definitely sounds like the more interesting campaign as it includes several different social channels and requires people to complete offline tasks for prizes, while the Spiderman effort is fairly generic and I doubt that it achieved high levels of engagement.
Sony’s Twitter feeds outnumber even its Facebook pages, with various accounts for products and customer support which are all listed on the company’s website.
As with Facebook, the most popular feed is for PlayStation updates. It has almost two million followers but as far as I can tell it is used purely as a broadcast tool.
The social team don’t appear to respond to any @mentions from other users, which is unusual considering the decent response rate on Facebook.
The tweets are all just adverts for games and the same PS4 promos that get posted on other channels, making it one of the least interesting feeds I’ve come across.
Sony PlayStation also has a dedicated customer support feed which is supposed to be on hand to deal with problems for all the company’s different consoles, however it only tweets a couple of times each day.
In fact it’s tweeted fewer than 3,500 times in total which is a drop in the ocean compared to Xbox Support’s 1.3m tweets.
It might simply be that PlayStation users are less likely to ask for support through Twitter, however the follower counts are both quite high (110,000 for Sony vs. 276,000 for Xbox) so the disparity in responses is quite remarkable.
Sony’s main corporate feed has 471,000 followers however it’s really just another dull broadcast tool.
In fact the content is all repurposed from Facebook so the social team really puts in very limited effort to keep it updated.
Overall Sony’s Twitter strategy is quite underwhelming as it offers very little interaction with followers, which is both surprising and disappointing when compared with the way Microsoft responds to Xbox users.
Sony has one official Pinterest account and has actually managed to create some great looking boards on a wide range of topics, and it hasn’t fallen into the trap of just pinning its own content.
Though some of the boards are just catalogues of Sony’s products and gift ideas a majority of the boards also have a decent mix of content from third party sites and blogs.
And not all of the boards are of electronics. Several of the collections are photos of different food or landscapes taken with a Sony camera, which is a great way of using Pinterest’s focus on imagery to promote its products.
As a result Sony has managed to attract more than 30,000 followers, which is a decent number for a consumer electronics brand.
Sony also used Pinterest to put an interesting slant on the usual ‘pin to win’ competition. Instead of offering users prizes for pinning its content Sony donated $1 for every repin of its products from a specific board.
It’s a fairly crude way of getting people to essentially share links back to your ecommerce store, but for $12,500 the social team managed to grab some decent exposure for its products.
Each of them is updated on an almost daily basis and receive the usual low level of engagement that one expects to see on G+.
Much of the content is repurposed from Facebook but some of it is also unique to the platform.
More than 2.6 million people currently have the PlayStation page in their circles yet it still struggles to get more than a few hundreds +1s and comments per post.
So despite the effort to keep people entertained with fresh content as yet the level of interaction is still very low compared to Facebook.
The Sony Music page also has an impressive following of 1.4 million people and an equally low level of interaction.
G+’s new layout definitely make the pages more interesting to look at which may help to drive up engagement in the long run, but Google still desperately needs to give people a reason to use G+ above all the other social platforms.