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What happens when you click like? Ask these 4 million people

It’s easy to trick people to click, like and share the dumbest things on social networks. I have blogged about this topic before, for example regarding how to spot a fake giveaway on Facebook. But I can’t stop being amazed at the number of people who are fooled by these easy hoaxes time and time again. Here’s a fresh example. Whitetail Overload is a Facebook page dedicated to the “pursuit of the Whitetail deer”, and it has half a million followers and a PTA (people talking about) of more than 1.3 million.

4 million likes on one post
How do they get that much engagement? They post often, entertaining and they trick users into interacting with the content in the most deceiving ways. Take this post for example, it uses and old trick, asking users to guess what happens when they click like on the post. Of course, absolutely nothing at all happens. But look at the numbers, 4.1 million people have liked the post and almost 100,000 have shared it. Incredible.

click like on facebook se what happens

Here’s another one, and I must admit that this is as brilliant as it is evil. The last person to comment on the post wins a t-shirt. And of course, the comments never stop coming. As of now, there are 47,000. For a t-shirt!

last person to comment

As long as people are this naive, don’t be surprised when your social networks are filled with spam and scams.

Posted in Marketing.

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Pepsi’s Cristiano Ronaldo stunt on Facebook backfires miserably

Pepsi Sweden put up three images on its Facebook page before the last night’s World Cup qualifying game between Sweden and Portugal. The three images portrayed Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo as a voodoo doll full of needles, a doll being crushed by a Pepsi can and lying tied on a rail track.

Pepsi is a sponsor to FC Barcelona’s Leo Messi, one of Ronaldo’s main contenders for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, and apparently someone at Pepsi found it to be a brilliant idea to mock Ronaldo on Facebook. It was not.

Pepsi Facebook Cristiano Ronaldo

Pepsi Facebook Cristiano Ronaldo

Pepsi Facebook Cristiano Ronaldo disaster

The stunt has caused outrage among Portuguese football fans who have flooded Pepsi’s Swedish Facebook page with angry comments and images of their own, mocking Pepsi. Here are a few examples:

“Shame on you! Shame on you! You’re a disrespectful and unprofessional brand and you did not manage to achieve anything positive at all with that ridiculous, non-humorous and offensive campaign. It serves you right that 10.6M people shutted you up tonight, and will stop drinking Pepsi.” Link.

Pepsi Facebook

Pepsi Ronaldo

Pepsi Ronaldo Facebook

There are also many angry comments on both the Portuguese Pepsi page as well as the global page on Facebook. And that’s the trouble with a local crisis, it often spreads to a global scale. A Portuguese anti Pepsi page has also been created and it has currently attracted more than 40,000 followers. The story has already been covered in both Swedish and Portuguese media.

Pepsi has now been forced to delete the images from Facebook and to apologize:

“We would never want to put the sport or the spirit of competition in a negative light. We regret if people were offended by the posts; they were immediately taken down. We would like to extend our apologies to all concerned.”

Mocking someone else’s idol can never be a clever way to promote your brand. Pepsi has learned that the hard way.

Posted in Crisis, PR.

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The problem with bad targeting of promoted tweets

Twitter made a successful debut on NYSE a few days ago and as a listed company there will surely be an increased attention to revenues in the months ahead. Revenues that will come from for example promoted accounts, trends and tweets. So prepare to see more sponsored tweets in your Twitter feed from now on.

We can already see more examples of businesses that are experimenting with advertising on Twitter. One key factor in the future success of Twitter is its ability to gather enough relevant data about its users so that advertisers can target their key audiences properly. If you advertise on Facebook you are able to select targets based on age, geography, interest and so forth in quite som detail. At the moment, either Twitter isn’t able to provide this data to its advertisers, or the advertisers are ignoring it.

More often than not, ads on Twitter will look like the one below. This promoted tweet was visible in my feed two days ago.

sponsored tweet

For Twitter to be able to increase revenues from sponsored tweets, it is vital that the ones we are exposed to are as relevant as possible. I blogged recently on my Swedish blog about the nasty and angry responses to one promoted tweet on the Swedish market by Scandinavian Airlines, SAS. Users have been spoiled since they have been able to use Twitter for free for so long and any change towards more ads is seen as a deterioration.

The tweet pictured above is totally irrelevant to me for two reasons. First of all the timing. Why advertise a Halloween tweet more than two weeks after Halloween? Second, why is this ad in my feed at all? I am from Sweden and I have noted both my country of origin and language (Swedish) in my Twitter settings. Sure Becker is an international company but they have no representation in Sweden. The chance that this message is relevant to me is next to zero.

That’s just one of many similar examples from the last week or so. Here are two more. The first is a post by Al Jazeera and I can’t even read the letters.

Promoted tweet

The second is a tweet from @ANGAus.

Promoted tweet

Obviously, I will never be a customer to America’s Natural Gas Alliance. So why am I exposed to these irrelevant ads? I can think of a number of reasons, some mentioned above. However, I think it comes down to this sentence on the business section on Twitter regarding pricing for promoted tweets.

“You’ll only be charged when people follow your Promoted Account or retweet, reply, favorite or click on your Promoted Tweets.”

This basically means that an advertiser never pays extra for having its tweets posted in the feeds of people who would never be interested in its message. The advertiser only pays for interactions and if users are exposed to an irrelevant ad they just ignore it. The only part that loses is the user who is bothered with ads that make absolutely no sense.

As I understand, advertising on Twitter is limited to a number of markets. So hopefully when more markets open up, targeting of ads will become better and Swedes will get ads from local businesses instead. Because ads on Twitter are here to stay, might as well make them as relevant as possible.

Posted in Twitter.

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Facebook now shows trending topics in the news feed

Facebook has been testing the Twitter like feature trending topics for a while and last week there were reports that the trending topics had been moved from the sidebar to the news feed. Yesterday I noticed an example of this for the topic “Philippines”.

One interesting aspect of this is that now Facebook is showing me two posts from people or pages that I don’t follow (the latter two of three seen below).

facebook trending topics

facebook trending topics

Posted in Marketing.

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BMW are giving away a brand new BMW M5 on Facebook. Not!

bmw m5 giveaway

Do you think that BMW would give away a brand new car for free on Facebook through a simple “event”? Really? Of course they aren’t. If they would create a giveaway, it would be done professionally in a way that would maximize the return of the investment. Yet, thousands of people think that the simplest of hoaxes is the real deal and gladly accept invitations to a Facebook event, thinking they might actually win a new BMW M5. A new community page is attracting thousands of people to a “BMW M5 Giveaway 2013″ who are encouraged to like the page and invite ten friends. More than 200,000 people have been invited so far. And without any doubt, this is a hoax from start to finish.

So if you care at all whether you are tricked into liking fake pages on social networks, maybe it is time you learn a few basic tricks on how to spot a fake Facebook competition of giveaway. It really doesn’t take a genius.

How to spot a fake giveaway on Facebook

First of all, is it reasonable that a large brand is giving away something really valueable for just a few likes in return? Probably not. The more “upscale” brand, the more quality we can expect in a marketing activity. This event could have been set up by a 10-year old.

Brands use multiple channels to communicate. Is this contest or giveaway communicated on any other place on the web? On the brand webpage or the brand Facebook page? If not, it’s probably fake.

Are you being asked to spam your friends with shares, likes or invites? Big brands try to play by the book. If you are asked to do something that could be considered spam or to not follow the guidelines of Facebook, it’s a hoax.

Does the page have credible branding? The BMW giveaway is a community page. A brand would not use a community page to promote a new product. And as you see below, the page doesn’t have a branded vanity URL, which you would expect a big brand to use (click on the images to see larger version).

bmw m5 giveaway facebook

Does the page have credible background information? If not, it’s not only a hoax, it’s a lazy hoax.

Did the page just launch or has it communicated trustworthy information for some time? If it is new and the giveaway is the very first post, you should think again.

bmw m5 giveaway facebook

Does the contest or giveaway have a professional touch? If there are several spelling errors in just a few paragraphs, it’s probably fake.

bmw m5 giveaway facebook

Does the information change on the event page? Are  there copies? For a brief second, this giveaway page pointed to a second, similar page called BMW M5 Gift, with the same purpose and it has already attracted hundreds of people who in turn have invited 20,000 others. Once they got the first scam going, this could go on forever.

It’s amazing how easy it is to trick people into liking and sharing pages on social networks. We rarely take a minute to reflect on information that is shared by our friends, and that practice can be easily exploited. So in the future, think before you share.

Oh, and if I win, I would like a white BMW M5…

Update Nov 6: Both BMW pages and events are not gone from Facebook. But there are other similar scams that are still live, like this Audi R8 Giveaway. Also fake, of course.

Posted in Marketing.

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Ryanair crash lands in Twitter chat

In a recent survey published in Britain’s premier consumer magazine, Which?, budget airline Ryanair was voted last among 100 top brands in quality of customer service. Perhaps the airline is finally starting to realize that it needs to improve its awful reputation in order to remain competitive and make an effort not to “unnecessarily piss people off”.

“Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary told shareholders Friday his airline must improve how it treats passengers and handles complaints so that customers don’t feel pushed around by staff and unfairly imposed charges – and potentially take business to other airlines offering more than Ryanair’s budget model.”

But if Ryanair thought a Q&A session on Twitter with CEO Michael O’Leary would do any good, they failed miserably. The thing with inviting customers to a public debate is that you will not always get the responses you wish. We’ve seen a number of cases where critics have hijacked hashtags on Twitter because it’s a great opportunity to get exposure for your complaints. In a case with a brand that so many people hate, you would obviously expect that critics would take advantage of the situation. People who would otherwise have been silent, now feel there’s an excuse to voice their opinions.

Some examples under the hashtag #GrillMOL on Monday were:

“Were you born an arsehole or has it progressed throughout your life?”

“Is it company policy for your staff to be rude and unhelpful as possible?”

“Due to fly to Riga on Saturday but can’t go as my mum in law is losing her cancer battle. 388 quid to re-book seems unfair”

“Why no response for a refund request (sent reg. post) in over a month from seriously ill girl with special needs? @Ryanair #scum”

Here’s another great tweet from @AndyGilder, mocking Ryanair:

Twitter chat Ryainair Michael O'Leary

O’Leary’s history of nasty macho responses to everyone from customers to journalists and politicians has earned him the title “aviation’s most hated man”. The Twitter chat was no exception as he started out commenting female Twitter users’ avatars: “Nice pic. Phwoaaarr! MOL”, to which others responded:

@Ryanair how is it appropriate for an airline CEO to be a sexist pig?”, and: “People who fly Ryanair: do you also think this is an acceptable thing to tweet at a woman?”

A brand in trouble could make use of social media if their intent is genuine, if they are really there to listen and be prepared to change. If you open up a dialogue with critics just to mock them, prepare for disaster.

However, as is often the case, even bad publicity will get you attention and the @Ryanair Twitter account has gained nearly 2,000 new followers in the next two days. Perhaps this could be the start of something new, after all. But until the company changes its approach to customer service and to its own employees, I will not fly with Ryanair.

ryanair twitter

Posted in Case Studies, Crisis, PR, Twitter.

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