HP's Becca Taylor Talks Online Relationship Building


socialnerdia_hp_beccataylorBecca Taylor is a Social Media Manager at HP's Enterprise Business, which focuses on servers, storage, business and IT software/services, and other B2B technologies. On the 32nd episode of "The Social Nerdia Show!," I had a conversation with Becca and she told me about her role at HP, what the company is doing in the social media world, and her thoughts on community, participation, and personal branding.
Listen to the entire conversation with Becca on the Flash player below. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes, stream from mobiles on Stitcher, and listen to upcoming shows LIVE on blogtalkradio.


HP is a very large company with over 150,000 employees. "The larger the company gets, often, the more difficult it is to really get authentic social media engagement running," Becca explained. She added that the benefits of social media in business-to-consumer offerings is much more clear than it is in the B2B realm, but her team is helping change that within HP by identifying the value to the company and its customers.

Her team is called "The Social Media Enablement Team" and consists of 6 people with different roles and in different locations. "Our goal is to work with different teams within the division to get them up to speed on the tools, and most of all, understand from a business perspective that they need to approach social media marketing as they would approach any marketing program, with deliberation, responsibility, and objectves," Becca said.

Becca has been with HP for 10 years. She actually started at Compaq (which was acquired by HP) doing web documentation. She then transitioned into marketing where she "focused on customer advocacy, on how to best use the internet and various tools to enhance the customer experience."

About a year ago the Enterprise Business division created a team that focused on social media, and Becca was one of the few who joined the team. "I'm thrilled I did," she told me, "because I love my job. It's the best job I've ever had."

A big aspect of Becca's role is to develop blogger relationship programs. HP deals with all kinds of companies, both large and small, and she knows that "there's always a person and a personality behind each sale," so she tries to make sure that HP "can provide better information to our customers online."

"After we determine that a blogger is relevant to the types of products we sell, we invite them to the HP campus, give them a  tour, let them into our labs, give them direct access to the people behind the products so they can ask questions," Becca explained.

socialnerdia_hp_techdays"It's been a great experience for our HP folks because often you have people in a company who never talk to a customer." The other benefit is, of course, that the bloggers will talk about their experience. She mentioned that while they hope for positive reviews, they want them to be completely honest. "Bloggers are not shy, they will call you out."

Becca's team is not pursuing programs that focus on direct revenue with social media. Instead, their primary goal is to "build relationships." More specifically, Becca wants everyone to know that "there's also a person behind the HP curtain when they're dealing with us. We want them to know that we are authentic, responsible, business-like and professional."

The people at HP are getting involved. Just look at how many of them are on Twitter. Becca told me that it was an "organic growth" and that those on Twitter "do it because it's something they're passionate about." She added that the word authenticity is very important to her and she thinks everyone should be authentic online.

And HP employees are not just engaging in conversations online. They're talking and collaborating with each other through internal blogs, wikis, chats, and what Becca refers to as a grassroots effort that became a "blend of Facebook and LinkedIn."

Becca looks forward to what will happen with the internet. "Social media touches on absolutely every aspect of our product, purchase and support cycles. It's going to be an interesting evolution over the next 3 years to see how any company starts to prepare employees to be participants in that motion."

It is easy to see that Becca is serious about social media and she's truly passionate about communities and the amazing thing that is putting yourself out there online. As for what she recommends companies and people just starting in social media, she said "don't be scared, it's not as daunting as you think it is... get involved, once you put yourself out there, you will see value from it."




Listen to the interview for much more from Becca, including the "blessing and curse" of telecommuting, HP's approach to social media monitoring, Becca's 10th year as a blogger, and her podcasting experience with a non-profit called Story Circle Network.

Copyright © Esteban Contreras. All rights reserved.