Tag Archives: trends

Twitter Marketing, or Spamming ?

Twitter being spreading like wild fire is under a lot of experimentation for marketing and since there isn’t a way to advertise or sponsor stuff “Mentions in Tweets” is the way to get eyeballs along with “Treding Topics” and a few other things. Also, since the trending topics started appearing on every user’s home page, the desire to find a spot among top 10 has soared.

Want to get visibility on Twitter ? Get trending, and the way to be trending is by having enough mentions in tweets.

Add this desire to be mentioned in as many tweets(interesting or boring, happy or sad, sensible or nonsense, related /unrelated to the product or company) to the fact that most people will do just about anything to win something for free (especially if it doesn’t ask them to get up from their chairs) and you get a viral campaign like moonfruit‘s.

moonfruit_spam

Apparently there was a similar campaign by SquareSpace a month back but it failed to make it big because it wasn’t offering the phone but a $199 worth gift certificate but I am not complaining as atleast with SquareSpace’s campaign I got saved from the heavy spam attack that Moonfruit campaign led to.  For me the moonfruit campaign is no different from one of those spam attacks in which people randomly started adding some keyword in every tweet, which eventually led to those topics/keywords being in the trending list.

It’s not that I hate all twitter campaigns, for ex: I appreciate Tweetboard’s campaign, asking people to request for Alpha accounts for their service by tweeting(just once) in a given format instead of submiting their email id’s

TweetBoard

TweetBoard

Now that’s a creative and non spammy way to market using Twitter.

Getting back to #SquareSpace and #MoonFruit campaigns, I’d say this isn’t a particularly good way to market because

1) It’s spammy and so all over the place. More than liking I’d hate if everyone in my stream started putting a random keyword in their tweets. There chances of winning something are a lot less than chances of loosing a few followers/friends. I certainly wouldn’t appreciate my company name in tweets like this

moonfruit_sex

2) It’s not a scalable model:  While SqureSpace, MoonFruit and a few more might be able to get some eyeballs because of these campaigns I strongly believe this won’t be a scalable/easily followable model as if more companies start doing this then we’ll  have  a spoiled twittering experince and almost all the trending topics would be full of these promotional keywords which certainly won’t be liked by Twitter and it’s users and would invite some fixes to avoid such things, which’ll in effect led to a reduction in such campaigns.

3) I doubt if there’ll be significant value addition due to such campaigns: Though some of the statistics could look great after such a campaign I doubt if there’ll be a real value add for most companies that do such campaigns. For ex: I doubt if there’ll be a significant increase in moonfruit’s business or more people will start interacting with @moonfruit etc. Most probably the gift hungry crowd that gathered at their doorsteps  would move to a new free gift location in no time, shattering their false hopes.

That’s how I feel about various marketing campaigns on Twitter, what do you think about them ?

Websites have Cultures too….

Ever wondered why different websites despite being of the same genre
appear/feel differently ? or why your own behavior differs from site to site?

Well the case in point being that all websites across the web consciously or unconsciously develop cultures and subcultures just like it happens elsewhere when a group of people interact with each other over a period of time.

Consider the following examples

Case1: Orkut

I’ve always felt that people(ones I know) spend a lot of time “filling the profile info” and often even more time “maintaining/updating profile info regularly”. It might be necessary in some cases but if you are just there to stay in touch with people you know its not necessary at all but still lots of people(old and new) tend to do it.

Case2: Facebook

I haven’t used Facebook much so in this regard the only thing that stands out is “Adding new apps” and “Requesting others to use new apps”. Every time I log in there are a dozen new requests to try new apps and that’s probably because this viral behavior has really got into the users and seems no signs of stopping.

How a Culture gets developed:

Culture development is a two way process. While in most cases it comes downwards from the top in some systems(emergent) it rises bottoms up. Generally the culture developed by the initial users of the site continues to grow with more people joining and unconsciously following the experienced users behaviors thereby strengthening the existing culture.

What can you do about it ?

Either you consciously develop a culture “Top down” in a planned/phased manner or keep an eye on the small/mini behavioral usage patterns, facilitate them and guide them upwards. This can be done by say adding new features or re-designing the existing ones to make them more available. I feel the features to “push out profile updates” to friends and in your face options to “invite friends to use apps” respectively have helped a lot in setting the above mentioned trends.

A simple example of “Top down” culture that I can think of(and I’ve used) is say you have a website and you want the users to upload their profile pictures instead of continuing with the default ones. One way it can work is say if all the initial user(100 or so) have uploaded their profile pictures then someone whose new to the site might upload a picture straightaway and it stays the same way going forward.

This behavior is quite natural and common as most new users don’t want to look new/naive/different, gain acceptability and become a part of the crowd so they’ll follow the established behavior without making much noise. However simple and obvious it may sound if it happens right it can do wonders for a site consider a social networking site(a friend told me about) where almost all users have provided their mobile numbers despite them not being mandatory. Sounds scary but then its not impossible.