Archive for the ‘Series’ Category.

Twitter and the power of celebrity - internships.com 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 internships.com?

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 internships.com using ad.ly (a Tweet ad specialist) which said:

“I’m looking to hire a #winning INTERN with #TigerBlood. Apply here – http://bit.ly/hykQQF #TigerBloodIntern #internship #ad”.

Internships.com 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 internships.com 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. Internships.com 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) internships.com 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. (http://mashable.com/2011/03/15/gilbert-gottfried-japan-twitter/)

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

How to be safe and social: ASA and CAP guidelines for social media

Image courtesy of ETF trends

Yesterday I attended the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) How to be Safe and Social event.

Of particular interest was the presentation by Malcolm Phillips, the Code Policy Manager at the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP), on updating the digital remit of the CAP code and the new Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines for online advertising that come into effect from 1 March 2011.

Of primary importance to me, and to the way FreshNetworks functions as a social media agency, are the rules regarding the re-purposing of user generated content.

While the ASA and CAP understand that marketers and brands cannot be held responsible for content produced by independent consumers and third parties, it’s how that content is used that will be come under scrutiny. From the 1st March,  if brands decide to re-purpose user generated content in their marketing strategies, they become liable for the content from the time of use onwards - it falls within the same guidelines as any offline or brand-generated marketing content.

So what does this actually mean for brands and businesses using social media marketing?

  • Any user comments re-tweeted by a brand will require proof that the claims made are true. For example, re-tweeting a comment that your brand makes the best coats will require proof that the coats are the best.
  • Drinks companies will have to be very careful with any galleries they create on Facebook as advertising rules governing alcohol promotion state that no under 25s can be shown in the marketing material (CAP code point 18.6).
  • A brand is responsible for any messages it produces that are then re-tweeted by followers. If it goes viral, the ASA may well ask for the brand to clarify the purpose of the message and its content.
  • If any branded messages are re-tweeted with additional comments from the follower, the ASA will not hold the brand accountable for the additional user generated content.

The new rules also raise a number of additional questions that need clarification:

  • At what point does user generated content fall under the brand control?
  • How much additional information do you need to add to a tweet to ensure it isn’t misleading, and will a link to more information suffice?
  • At which point does PR become marketing and visa versa?

The ASA are not actively looking for breaches of these new regulations, however it only takes one complaint from a customer or competitor brand and they will consider making an investigation. This will not be retrospective and will only be applied to content produced on or after 1st March 2011.

All in all, the IAB How to be Safe and Social event has thrown up just as many questions as it has answered. 2011 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for online marketers, especially within Social Media, and there are bound to be a few real life examples that will set a precedent for what is and isn’t deemed acceptable.

Four steps for businesses to get started with social media

Many businesses want to get started using social media or want to make their use of social media more effective. There is often a benefit of talking to a specialist social media agency. But for all businesses and organisations, whatever their size and whatever their focus, there are four simple steps that will put you on the right track with social media. Make sure you are using it but doing so in an informed way.

The presentation below takes you from listening and understanding what people are saying, to measuring and evaluating the impact you are having in four simple steps. If you want more information on this or on how to get started with social media then look at the FreshNetworks guide to Getting Started in Social Media.

Webinar 17th Feb 2011 - Social media and financial services (with BrightTalk)

At 3pm GMT on 17th Feburary, Charlie Osmond will be giving a webinar about social media and the financial services sector.

Hosted by Val-Pierre Genton from BrightTALK, Charlie will speak about developing a social media strategy and will give tips and advice on measuring and tracking ROI.

If you would like to attend the webinar visit this blog post and click on the “Attend” button at 3pm GMT on 17th Feb.