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?
On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Early Bird Rates expire May 29. Register today and save!
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.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.
Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.
June 10, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT