Home  › Social › Social Media
twitterbird

The Tweet That Was Retweeted 8,000 Times and Other Stories

  |  April 28, 2011   |  Comments   |  

How Google gets it and Bing got it so wrong using Twitter in response to Japan's disaster.

The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan triggered a tidal wave of tweets. It also generated a groundswell of sympathy apart from aid initiatives by individuals and brands alike.

Here is a comparison of three of them.

His tweet was one that crossed my tweetstream as a RT. I retweeted it like many others already had. Over the next few hours, I saw it retweeted on my timeline via various users from different countries. Dave's Twitter bio describes him as "Xcode geek at Apple", nowhere close to being a Twitter celebrity with a huge following.

A couple of days later, I went back and checked the tweet's reach.

It had been retweeted an astonishing 8,000 times, reaching probably millions of Twitter users across the world.

Lesson: Content is key to connecting with the online community and by content I don't just mean text, but a crafted digital experience around a social object.

Example 2: The techies at Google, whose brand is built on utility, put together Google People finder, a Mechanical Turk-like platform. Both those searching for a family member or friend, or a survivor announcing his whereabouts could post on the site.

The tool was immediately shared around Twitter. It had over 6,000 mentions on Twitter and probably a lot more on blogs and mainstream media. The site currently has over 619,000 records, though it did face problems from trolls who abused the openness of the site with fake profiles and updates.

Lesson: Utility is a great driver of online conversation. Be useful to your users, and they will talk about you, even if you don't have a glitzy marketing campaign.

Example 3: Bing, Microsoft's search engine, went for what I call the 'transactional or promotional approach'... a hangover of old-media marketing.

The reaction was immediate. Bing and Microsoft were criticised severely on Twitter for trying to 'buy retweets' on the back of a natural disaster. It was buzz of the wrong kind. On its part, Bing retracted the promotion the same day and donated the U.S.$100,000.

The apology and blog stories about it went viral with over a thousand tweets in all.

The inferences are clear: brands can choose how to resonate with users and create positive conversation through a) relevant content at the right time and/or b) utility for the user. (I like the metaphor in this blog post by @wilsh: "Verb, reverb and amplify: Telling brand stories.")

The third transactional approach, "Do this for us and you get that" leads to the law of diminishing returns, or worse, a backlash from an evolved online community.

What are your thoughts on this?

Subscribe to ClickZ Asia to receive your weekly dose of the region's latest trends, tips, and insights straight to your inbox.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vijay Sankaran

Social Media at Nokia Siemens Networks and oversees its global social media program and initiatives. He has two decades of advertising communications and digital solutions experience largely in the Creative function and since 2008 in the Digital Strategy function. Vijay has lead and executed advertising digital and integrated communications for clients in Automotive Consumer Durables Engineering FMCG Financial Services and IT sectors. His articles and quotes have appeared in leading industry publications such as Campaign India Brand Reporter Impact and Business Standard.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Social newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Marketing Systems Analyst
      Marketing Systems Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Marketing Systems Analyst to our expanding team. We...