Forrester says HP and IBM are both fabulous at social media

Companies just love to shout about their successes in social media and social technology.

So a big pat on the back must go to HP, which has been named as one of the top businesses in this area.

HP issued a press release on Friday about the fact that Forrester Research had named it as a Forrester Groundswell Award winner “for excellence in achieving business and organizational goals with social technology applications”.

In particular, Forrester judges liked HP’s Consumer Support Forum – described by HP as “a free global interactive community where HP customers connect online with one another and exchange insights, tips and answers to each other’s questions”.

The forum received the accolades in the award category of “International Business to Consumer: Supporting”.

Well done to HP. It says its customers prefer online channels for finding answers to questions about its products, with more than 13 million of them resolving their issues via the HP Consumer Support Forum.

In addition, the forum is easy to navigate and discussion boards are broken out by helpful topic areas, such as Notebooks, Desktops and Printers.

Forrester experts were clearly impressed, adding: “Hewlett Packard wanted to improve customer service while reducing its own support costs. The HP Consumer Support Forum, which it built with the help of vendor Lithium, does just that by giving customers a chance to share tips and answer each other’s questions 24 hours a day.”

Other companies getting a mention in the awards included Microsoft and Orange.

But there’s nothing more annoying than one of your competitors getting the upper hand. 

Today another Forrester report popped up. This time it wasn’t HP being praised for its social media strategy – but IBM.

The report, entitled “Case Study: IBM Makes Social Media The Responsibility of Every Employee”, looked at IBM’s fabulous social media policy. And the productivity savings it’s made as a result – about £2.5 million per year ($3.98 million) for the past three years.

The report reveals that back in 2007, “IBM Software Group marketers made social media a part of each employee’s daily routine in order to energize the IBM employee, sales channel, and customer communities.” In other words, IBM encouraged all its staff members to get involved with the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn and other social networking opportunities.

And it worked, according to Forrester. Strategies included forming “virtual governance councils” of marketing and non-marketing employees, and training staff on new technologies.

As a result, there were more than 80 IBM-branded Twitter handles dishing out IBM news and messages, and more than 500 IBM groups on Facebook. The big savings were made from reduced travel and communications costs by moving dialogue to “virtual, more interactive platforms”.

And, Forrester adds: “IBM has received more than 30 social media marketing and communications awards for its innovation and social media results.”

So there you have it, not only is HP fabulous at social media, but so is IBM.

A Forrester press representative said that Forrester reports available to the media were never commissioned, but did not know why the company had chosen to do a report on IBM.

IBM was unavailable for comment.