Tag Archives: social

To Afghanistan with Love!

In July 2011, US Marine Sgt. Scotty Moore used a very unorthodox way of getting a date for the Marine Corps ball. Sgt. Moore, posted in Afghanistan at the time, was dressed in his combat gear when he sent out an invitation via YouTube to Hollywood star, Mila Kunis.

In the 19 second video, which got about 400,000 hits in just a few days before it came to the notice of the actress, the soldier was smooth, suave and oozed confidence. Little did he know, that the Black Swan actress would oblige. She graciously accepted the invitation and accompanied the sergeant to the ball in Greenville, North Carolina on November 18.

A dream come true for the soldier indeed.

This just goes to show how social media can go a long way in bringing the desires and stories of a common man to the attention of famous personalities. It is the power of the Netizens which helps in spreading word across the digital space. It is their views, likes, shares and comments which make ordinary stories transcend the Internet and reach their intended recipients. The Internet community becomes one and helps the voice of their fellow netizens echo out. Such is the power and potential of social media that it can help bring together ordinary people and their idols.

In a similar instance showcasing the power of social media, a picture of 5 year old, Murtaza from Ghazni, Afghanistan sporting a blue and white plastic bag with “Messi” and “10” written on the back went viral on the internet in January earlier this year. Apparently, Murtaza was a big fan of the Argentinean football star and wanted his jersey. However, the kid’s family was poor and could not afford one. So his older brother Hamayon took a plastic bag, made an improvised jersey out of it and gave it to his little brother. Pictures of an ecstatic Murtaza brandishing the makeshift jersey were taken and uploaded onto the internet. It didn’t take long for the internet to make its impact. Soon enough people from all across the world started tracking down the kid in hopes of helping him get a genuine jersey and a football to play with.

But it didn’t stop here. The boy’s father was contacted by UNICEF and was informed that Murtaza would be receiving a package from Messi himself. The viral picture had made its way upto Lionel Messi’s notice. As a gesture which would touch millions of people across the world, Messi signed a genuine national jersey of Argentina and sent it across to the little boy. The boy was also told that he would soon get a chance to meet his idol.

This just goes to show, how social media and the people who occupy this digital space can work together to make miracles happen. So don’t hesitate in leaving a message out there in the digital world for someone you idolize. You never know. You just might get a reply.

Picture1There has been a lot of chirping on media around guaranteeing trending campaigns on twitter to large corporates. Digital agencies approach corporates to run a twitter campaign guaranteeing them X number of tweets and corresponding traction via trending hashtags. The marketing heads in such corporates get lured by the outreach guaranteed by such agencies and splash big bucks to get the digital space flooded with their campaign. But, does a trending hashtag deliver results for the brand?

The effectiveness of such campaigns is a big question! IMHO (In my humble opinion), such usiness models don’t work, either for the brands or the agencies, as they miss the critical social networking part in their hunger for social media attention. Social media enables potential and current users to have a conversation with a brand. If that fact gets overlooked in the rush to get social media influencers to engage and get the campaign trending, then the key element of connecting with the target demographics becomes a missed opportunity. Digital marketing campaigns with rich creative content, aimed at triggering a proclivity to buy the product, service or point of view or at least add on to the brand’s recall, needs to be aimed at the right audience.

The return on investment for the corporates then goes beyond the engagement numbers and over to the demographics and the quality of the engagement, as the story or narrative that got built around the trend.
Agencies that exist solely to create trends are exploiting not just the ill informed corporates but also twitter as a social platform. Though twitter is aware of such exploitation and has the necessary rules in place.
Twitter specifically states that the following behaviour could cause your account to be filtered from search or even suspended:

  • Adding one or more topics/hashtags to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search
  • Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending or trending higher.
  • Tweeting about each trend in order to drive traffic to your profile or website, especially when mixed with advertising.
  • Listing trends in combination with a request to be followed.
  • Tweeting about a trend and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
    The effectiveness of such rules on twitter and the validation of such claims is always a grey area, similar to the trending campaigns orchestrated by such agencies.

I, as an informed trainee learning the business of building brands through conversations on social media, tfeel that just minting money from large corporates for a quantitative result is not a sustainable brand strategy. Rather, the approach for a long term association with brands is to propose campaigns to narrow the gap between the brand and its stakeholders, brand consulting to achieve competitive advantage over other players in the industry and to improve brand perception amongst the target audience specifically on instant engagement platforms, like twitter and beyond.

Nishant Bindraban