This is a guest post by Ekaterina Walter, a Social Media Strategist with Intel Corporation.
Samsung USA has just launched their new, fully redesigned Consumer Website. I immediately gravitated to the clean, customer-centric look and new social functionalities right there on the home page, and wanted to learn a bit more about how they achieved it. To do that, I interviewed Esteban Contreras, Social Media Manager at Samsung Electronics USA to find out company’s motivations and a little bit more about this project.
“Instead of linking out,” says Esteban “we wanted to bring the conversations and the word of mouth to our site.”
You can find everything right on the home page: conversations (you can ask and answer questions on twitter), Facebook integrations (you can see the most liked products and articles), photos uploaded by customers, video created by Samsung, reviews are brought to life and filtered by the most helpful, and buzz from all over the web about the company and their products.
Ekaterina: What are the main goals of the new Samsung homepage?
Esteban: One of our goals was to drive greater engagement and satisfaction by being more customer-centric and socially relevant. The new Samsung homepage enhances the brand experience by making it more about people, especially our customers. It also provides a more seamless, authentic, and even human brand experience, that is driven much more on consumer participation than on simply showcasing products. It also makes it easier and fun for people to find what they’re looking for, while providing opportunities to engage with us and with each other.
Another major goal was to keep pace with the speed of changes in digital technology & consumer expectations. Our new homepage, and our entire new web site, is in many ways a celebration of a strengthened connection between us and them, and the two-way conversations that have only just begun.
Ekaterina: How did you decide on this design and these features?
Esteban: The design and features came from that goal to provide a more customer-centric brand experience that invites people to participate. It had to be an intuitive, clean, and enjoyable experience.
The design also had to include all the great content we wanted to display. User-generated photos was something that we wanted to display prominently on the homepage in addition to highlighting a few products to help people find what they’re looking for and that’s where the “Explore Samsung” section came in.
It was also very important to bring in the social web in a way that went beyond simply linking to Facebook and Twitter. People often say that social media is about “enabling conversations” so we wanted to take that literally. Samsung.com now lets you engage in Twitter conversations around topics like photography, technology, and social good. It also lets you see what Samsung customers are saying about our products, and some of the products they are “liking.”
Ekaterina: Walk me through the social elements of your page.
Esteban: “Conversation” is a section that allows our visitors to start conversations, not only with us, but with each others. When people connect to Twitter and click the submit button as an answer to a question, they are actually sending a tweet to the person who asked that question. They can then continue the conversation on Twitter
The “Twitter” section shows our latest message by @SamsungTweets, some of the things people are talking about most on Twitter (ie. Galaxy Tab) as well as our official Twitter accounts. Anyone can easily send a tweet to @SamsungService with a customer support question or to me (@SamsungEsteban) with a comment of any kind. Again, the idea is that the conversation will continue on Twitter.
The “Reviews” section shows a few of the thousands of real reviews by real people that are on every product page.
The “Photos” section shows more consumer-submitted photos and the “Videos” section shows Samsung videos, including several of the most popular on our YouTube channel.
The “Buzz” section shows articles, reviews, and stories from great sites like CNET and PC World.
Ekaterina: Who was involved in this project?
Esteban: The Samsung digital marketing team, led by Kris Narayanan, was in charge of transforming the digital experience that is Samsung.com. We took a strategic approach to leverage talented individuals from the industry like former CEO of Agency.com, Chan Suh and former CEO of Razorfish, Craig Kanarick. They worked with Kris on the strategy, ideation and execution of the site. We also partnered with several great agencies, including the Barbarian Group, Huge, and Jess3. It was a large endeavor and everyone that worked on the project poured their hearts into features and designs that you now see on Samsung.com. The various product divisions and our legal team were also essential in the process.
Ekaterina: What you’ve done is amazing in the world of Fortune 500 company homepage design. What advice do you have for other brands, particularly the larger ones who are navigating how to integrate social into their sites?
Esteban: Our advice for other brands is to realize that customers want to engage with them. Being customer-centric and engaging with them needs to be a priority and a long-term commitment, not just a buzzword. Getting to know our customers has been truly a privilege. The only way to have meaningful conversations is by becoming more approachable and by sharing about ourselves.
Social media has really shaken the corporate world and we should embrace it for the opportunities it creates to better connect, collaborate, and communicate. It can be scary and very new at times, but social media is about life, and that’s something that resonates with everyone.
Ekaterina Walter is a marketer, thinker, speaker, and connector. As a Social Media Strategist for Intel, Ekaterina works at the intersection of high tech and integrated marketing – driving campaigns and helping colleagues to leverage new media in support of business goals. She believes that building relationships with customers should be at the core of any business and that social media provides a perfect opportunity to do so. At Intel Ekaterina is responsible for company-wide social media enablement and corporate social networking strategy. She sits on the Board of Directors for Internet Strategy Forum. You can find her on Twitter @ekaterina. She blogs on her blog – Building Social Bridges.