Archive for the ‘Hamid Sirhan’ Category.

3 ways Facebook ‘Questions’ feature can help your brand

Facebook has recently added “Questions” to its list of features.

Facebook Questions has the potential to be a valuable market research and engagement tool because:

  1. The interface is nicer than the Facebook Polls application.
  2. You can pay for Facebook advertising for your Questions (via the URL), which could provide a significant, targeted response for market research efforts.
  3. It’s easy to share the question with your friends and follow the question to keep a track of written responses. (Some respondents may find it helpful to look for people with similar mindsets,  which you can do by clicking the  button. Others might find it invasive and shy away from engaging over privacy concerns).

The Tesco GB Facebook Page, which has just over 9,300 followers, received over 200 votes and 9 followers within the first hour of publishing its poll. Looking back through its wall feed, this is a much higher level of engagement than its other wall posts (except for the one which offered a £50 prize).

Even more Interestingly, in the half a day or so since the question has been up, it’s had 436 responses, which means nearly 5% of all fans have so far interacted with the poll. This is an excellent response as usually anywhere between 0.5-1% would be considered a good response for most brands.

The question that Tesco asked through Facebook Questions was a simple poll with probably little inherent value:

‘Has everyone adjusted with the clocks yet?’

However the response rate indicates the potential value Questions can have for brands.

So is Facebook Questions a survey-smasher? Not in its current form - its options are too simple. It is however a great polling system and may, with improvement, be among the best online-market research tools.

If Facebook can find the balance between the depth needed for market research; the targeting options it has for brand page posts; privacy, and the sharing options it currently features, it will be a winner.

Twitter and the power of celebrity - case study

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen plenty of memes and read various different articles, tweets and blog posts about actor Charlie Sheen. But do you know what he did for work experience website

Charlie Sheen banked on his ‘meltdown’ by creating a record breaking Twitter account. How record breaking? Try 1 million followers in one day.

Five days later, on 7th March,  he sent a tweet for using (a Tweet ad specialist) which said:

“I’m looking to hire a #winning INTERN with #TigerBlood. Apply here – #TigerBloodIntern #internship #ad”. will have paid at least $100,000 for him to do this.  So was it worth the payoff?

According to data published on Techcrunch, for the period March 7th - March 11th 2011 saw (with usual traffic etc removed):

  • 1,035,021 unique visitors from 475,375 original link clicks
  • 82,148 internship applications
  • From which 50 highly-qualified candidates were selected

These figures not only show the power of leveraging celebrity on Twitter but also the importance timing. picked the perfect moment to benefit from Charlie Sheen’s social media influence – the height of #tigerblood #winning hashtag spread– and they reaped the benefits. What ever you may think of Sheen’s lifestyle, these numbers are another little bit of evidence which proves that value of Twitter as a marketing tool.

That’s not to say that all brands should jump immediately jump on the celebrity endorsement bandwagon; you still have to be careful when leveraging celebrity.

During the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster in  Japan, Hollywood actor Gilbert Gottfried (best know for his role as Iago the Parrot in Aladdin and for co-staring in the Problem Child movies) was fired by insurance company Aflac for some very insensitive tweets. Aflac, the top foreign insurance company in Japan, get 75% of its revenue from the Japanese market. With this in mind it would have been sensible for someone from their team them to contact Gottfried  as soon as the earthquake occurred to ensure he put his ‘humorous’ quips on hold - particularly when he’s known for making insensitive remarks during or shortly after disasters.

So it there are definitely pros and cons to using a celebrity to endorse you brand. Given the rate at which things can spread online these days, make sure you consider any and all outcomes before using the power of  celebrity in social media. Remember these people could be viewed as a  spokesperson for your brand so its important to consider whether the timing and their persona is appropriate for how you want to position yourself.

So what was the payoff? According to its own data (with usual traffic etc removed) saw:

1)    1,035,021 unique visitors from
2)    475,375 original link clicks from March 7th to March 11th
3)    82,148 internship applications
4)    From which 50 highly-qualified candidates were selected

Having worked with companies who’d pay well over $100,000 for that sort of traffic, I’d say that’s a resounding publicity success. This shows the power of leveraging not just celebrity but timing. They picked the perfect moment – the height of #tigerblood #winning – and reaped the benefits.

You still have to be careful when leveraging celebrity: during the Earthquake-Tsunami disaster that struck Japan Gilbert Gottfried – the perfectly annoying parrot, Iago, from everyone’s favourite film, Aladdin – was fired by Aflac for some very insensitive tweets. Aflac, the top foreign insurance agency in Japan, which finds 75% of its revenue from the Japanese market, would have done better to make sure as soon as the earthquake occurred to immediately contact Gottfried and make sure he put his ‘humorous’ quips on hold particularly when he’s known for making insensitive remarks during or shortly after disasters. (

1,200 tweets per second (and other interesting Twitter stats)

Twitter button

Image by ntr23 via Flickr

Twitter is growing both in terms of users, the number of messages being created and the importance that people place on the service.

In a recent presentation from Raffi Krikorian, Twitter’s lead on Application Services, we got an insight into how Twitter is being used and some current statistics. The most interesting of these are below, and the full presentation is at the end of this post.

  • There are currently 110 million tweets per day from the 200 million registeered users.
  • The current rate of tweeting is 1,200 Tweets per second (tps), but these increase during dramatically important events. The Superbowl at one stage saw 4,064 tps with the second highest peak during the superbowl was during the half-time ads rather than the game itself.
  • Twitter generates 10TB a day. That’s ten times what the New York Stock Exchange produces.  It’s all generated from 140 character tweets which are individually 200 bytes per tweet. A phenomenal amount of text.
  • There are currently 200m registered users with a growth continuing at a higher pace than before.
  • Top three twitter-users by number of followers  - @ladygaga (8.3m), @justinbieber (8.1m), @barakobama (7.0m)
  • This Twitter density map (below) shows that Twitter is most popular in Western Europe, Japan, the USA and parts of South America. What might be surprising is that it appears to be especially popular in Indonesia, with some good activity in theMalaysia-Singapore area.  You’ll notice that it doesn’t seem too popular in Africa with a couple of exceptions on the West Coast and the city-centres of the Middle East (you can quite clearly see Cairo and what appear to be the Amman – Damascus – Tel Aviv trifecta).

Twitter by the Numbers (Columbia University)
View more presentations from Raffi Krikorian

‘Geilivable’ brands: engaging Chinese audiences online

Image courtesy of wangruwei

Social media competition in China is beginning to heat up. Facebook and Groupon are looking at engaging the Chinese market as soon as possible and it looks like 2011 will be the pivotal year for Chinese social media.

As Chinese networks emerge and develop, it’s crucial to protect your brand and develop your presence among Chinese ‘netizens’*:

1. Develop your brand strategy

Think about how you want your brand to be perceived online in China. It’s possible that when you take your brand to China, or develop an extant brand image in that market space, you’ll want to be perceived somewhat differently than in European or American markets.

Capitalise on your similarities, differences and novelties. Look at what other brands have been doing and are currently doing and see what lessons can be learned from successes and mistakes.

2. Start monitoring Chinese Internet trends

  • Baidu, which holds about 76% of the Chinese search market, looks set to aggressively expand its social services profile  (and has made a start with its Baidu Beat English service).
  • ChinaSmack is  great for monitoring Chinese Internet vocabulary, Internet memes and viral videos – one recent meme involves punning on the word ‘GeiLi’ (‘Gives power’). Something that is ‘Geilivable’ is cool or great.

3. Protect your brand’s trademarks

If somebody is posting as your brand on social networking sites, you want it to be you. Protect your trademarks by registering now on the most popular networks:

  • Tencent WeiBo - China’s leading microblogging service with over 100 million registered members.
  • Sina WeiBo - China’s second microblogging service with an official reach of over  50 million members.
  • Ren Ren - Positioning itself as China’s answer to Facebook with over 22 million active users.
  • TuDou - China’s leading video service ranked 11th in China’s traffic rankings according to Alexa.

4. Create a brand persona to engage on Chinese forums and blogs

Like online communities in Europe and the US, Chinese ‘netizens’ love to engage. Find ways to make your brand fun and interesting. Create interesting pictures, videos and interactive content and present it to Chinese communities.

5. Assess the content you use to engage

Don’t be afraid to engage. At the same time, be wary of the risks of some forms of content. Avoid politics, overt sexuality and extreme violence. These are themes that can put you on a wrong footing with the Chinese authorities and Chinese ‘netizens’. Instead, look for ways to associate your brand with fun, happiness, good-living and either China or the West depending on the brand image you’re aiming for.

6. Use the offline world to help engage online

Thousands of Internet-savvy Chinese students flock to the UK, the rest of Europe and the US each year. Find ways to engage with them offline and you’ll reap the benefits online as they engage with online Chinese communities.

*A ‘netizen’ is a commonly used translation of ‘网民’ (lit. ‘Net People’)