Surprising and delighting Xbox fans, one tweet at a time

Strange how effective it can be for a corporate giant to tweet to a single customer. Microsoft was looking for a way to reinforce the perception of Xbox as the premier gaming platform and Microsoft as cool. So we said, “Hey, let’s tweet to individual fans with custom art and copy.” The Xbox team agreed and away we went.

Our approach: listen, empathize, create, engage. Result: surprise and delight, baby. Like the time we tweeted to the guitarist for Five Seconds of Summer and it became Microsoft’s No. 1 social engagement in history.


Image of the Xbox artwork

How we did it

Creative & content development

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Social media

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As part of its overall social media strategy for Xbox, the Social Command Center at Microsoft is increasing engagement rates, attracting new followers, and reinforcing the perception of Xbox as both the premier platform for gaming and a premium source for all-in-one entertainment. In partnership with Yesler’s Social Content Studio (SCS) and the Xbox Business Group, the Social Command Center engages Xbox users on Twitter, using social listening tools to monitor and respond to conversations that champion customers and elevate the Xbox brand from commercial to personal. Everything our Social Content Studio does creates opportunities to build brand advocacy in a way that’s sincere, playful, and completely unexpected.

Here’s how it works:



1. Social Command Center identifies opportunities for SCS engagement.


2. SCS designers ideate ways to empathize with the audience.


3. Designers create artwork; SCC provides tweet copy.


4. Social Command Center posts the artwork and copy on behalf of @Xbox.

“By creating custom graphics to support one-to-one customer interactions, we increased meaningful, organic engagements throughout the year. The model shows that surprise-and-delight content can be used to build authentic customer advocacy.”

Brock Wells

US Social Command Center Lead, Microsoft

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

  • Image of Xbox artwork

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By crafting custom artwork specifically for one-to-one interactions, the Social Content Studio creates one-of-a-kind moments for Xbox fans. We engage individuals who aren’t expecting a response—whether it’s a kid who just purchased her first game or a hard-core gamer with influence in the industry. We focus on surprise and delight because it helps the Xbox team convey a sense of attention, appreciation, and care.

“@Xbox is there an app for these pictures? because I need this in my life! #AchievementUnlocked #Xbox #GameLife”

SOUTHY @SOUTHBOUND110 replying to @Xbox

7:59 AM - Oct 31, 2014

Reaching out to individuals means that Xbox acknowledges them as part of the greater gaming community, but it also provides an opportunity to support their other personal traits and interests. When a brand officially recognizes niche communities, it validates those communities’ sense of purpose. Building brand advocacy at scale requires that you reach out to and connect with these specialized groups.

When the platform is all about sharing the latest and greatest, one-to-one engagements have the potential to go viral as people join the conversation and share their delight with others. The joy that fans experience when they’re featured in Xbox microcontent cannot be measured in numbers. But we win with pure numbers, too.

On Christmas Day, an email circulated among the Yesler team with an ominous headline: “Post going viral.” Luke Wilson, the guitarist for the popular band Five Seconds of Summer, had tweeted about missing his Xbox while on tour, and the Yesler Social Content Studio created a graphic on Christmas Eve that referenced the band’s lyrics.

Fearful we had lit a PR fire that needed to be put out, the team got online to discover exactly the opposite: one of the graphics had already achieved 15,000 engagements and was gaining about 1,000 per hour. The post reached 66,000 favorites and 35,000 retweets within a few days. It has since been recognized as the #1 social engagement in Microsoft history, and it was featured on The Verge.


How do you measure the ROI for making people happy? The satisfaction individuals feel when they are noticed and understood is worth the effort. But beyond that, the Microsoft Social Command Center, in partnership with Yesler’s Social Content Studio and the Xbox Business Group, creates actual business results and contributes to bottom-line KPIs. In fact, posts with SCS content average 12 times the engagement rate of standard organic posts. Fans connect with the brand on a personal level, share their experiences with their peers, and strengthen their commitment to the Xbox community.


engagements per hour




in Microsoft history


Best use of Twitter

2015 Content Marketing Awards