How Tech Companies Use Paid Social to Win

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They’re powerful. They’re sexy. And they’re some of the most valuable companies in the world. Technology companies are dominating the headlines, and with good reason:  just five tech companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook – account for 20% of the total S&P 500 index. 

It’s not only the big tech companies that are in the news. Startups and other tech challenger brands are introducing new technologies, services, and products that are literally revolutionizing the way we live our lives.

In this post, we’ll go right to the source: how are the most successful tech companies using paid social media to achieve their business goals? What are their specific strategies, and what can we learn from them? 

Are you ready to jump in? Hold on tight, here we go.


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04/03/2021 - 07/01/2021

Creatives, Strategy and Messaging Analysis

How are the most successful tech companies using paid social media to achieve their business goals? What are their specific strategies, and what can we learn from them? How are they generating love, buzz, and positivity around their brands, and where are they falling short?

In the full report, we look at several examples that highlight key learnings from these brands. This post will focus on Microsoft as an industry example.


Microsoft is faced with a question that many B2B marketers, especially in the tech space, are struggling with: How to generate engagement, and resonate with consumers. 

At the end of the day, announcing a new product or highlighting a key feature can only get people so excited. It’s an ongoing challenge to create a personality for the brand and launch content that actually moves the needle in terms of a brand’s target audience reacting to or engaging with the content. 

Microsoft has taken an unconventional approach for such a large organization: the brand has made use of a more lighthearted tone, together with throwbacks and images, that stir memories for those who grew up with the brand (which is currently 77% of all desktop and laptop users worldwide). The brand is also effective at driving engagement with its messaging: asking questions, taking polls, and asking users to agree or disagree with a statement.

Here is a classic example. This post leverages ‘90’s-style graphics with vibrant colors and a message that resonates with most people in a work environment, together with tantalizing engagement-driving copy: “Like this post later if the answer is yes.”

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The post itself had almost 50k likes and almost 1,000 comments. 

Another example is this post that asks a question, gives two possible answers, and an ironic, unexpected response from the brand itself: “18,342. 📧.” This serves to show that the brand has personality and doesn’t take itself too seriously – something that consumers appreciate.

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This strategy has been so successful that Microsoft has even turned many of these posts into dark ads. This ad presents a short, familiar action that many consumers will smile at and are likely to share. Indeed the ad had almost half a million likes and almost 5k comments.

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Sentiment around the brand itself is mostly neutral, with a net sentiment score of -2%. Sentiment around the brand itself (the “Microsoft” in Sentiment Cloud below) is split 35% negative, 42% neutral, and 23% positive. Having a B2C element will obviously expose the brand to more negative sentiment, so comparing it to Apple is informative: sentiment around the Apple brand is distributed 42% negative (7% more than Microsoft), 38% neutral (4% less than Microsoft), and 20% positive (3% less than Microsoft).

Taking Lessons from Tech Brands

The tech companies featured here have massive social media budgets and need to keep ahead of their competitors in order to stay alive in a world of constant innovation. We’ve learned some key lessons from these brands’ social media strategies, lessons that can be implemented in your own organization, whether tech-related or not.

Key lessons in the full report include the ongoing power of creativity and how it impacts creative performance and consumer engagement, the power of social media to create new markets, the importance of authenticity and User-Generated Content, how collaborations with other popular brands can impact consumer sentiment and engagement around your own brand, and how critical it is to monitor consumer sentiment around your brand (and competitors), especially when it comes to dark campaigns. 

Want to see the full research and evidence behind these findings? Download BrandTotal’s Tech Companies: How The Real Experts Are Using Paid Social Media Campaigns to Drive World Domination.