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Twitter Failure and Success: Marketing Update 3/16/12


Episode #192 - March 9th, 2012


  • How to interact on Twtter: Include #MktgUp in your tweet!
  • On the show today is Karen Rubin (@KarenRubin) and Mike Volpe (@MVolpe)
  • As always, all the old episodes are in iTunes. If you like the show, please leave a 5-star review!
  • Anyone is welcome to come by the show to watch as part of the live studio audience - 4pm Friday
  • Question of the week: What's one key reason why companies should use Twitter for business?


Doing it Right

Happy Birthday Mitt!

  • From @dunster 
  • Mitt Romney's campaign yesterday on Twitter, urging supporters to tweet happy birthday wishes to Mitt Romney using the #hbdmitt hashtag
  • As of 11:46 AM ET, there had been just 19 uses of that hashtag over the past three days ... and just eight of them had come from the Romney campaign's tweet 14 hours earlier. 
  • One of those eight came from the Romney campaign itself.
  • #HBDMitt Happy B-Day Mitt, Don't forget to vote Ron Paul!
  • #hbdmitt I'm not good at baking cakes, but I'm sure you know lots of people who own cake-baking corporations.
  • Romney sadly invites corporations, his only friends, to his birthday party and finds they can't wear party hats #HBDMITT
  • What to get rich, white guy with everything? More tax breaks of course! #HBDMitt
  • Marketing Takeaway: 
Kony 2012
    • Invisible Children, the non-profit group that made the film, started out with a simple narrative about an obvious villain, in this case someone who kidnapped children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves.
    • The group enlisted celebrities to spread the message. It relied on the exponential power of social media.
    • Filmmaker Jason Russell ends Kony 2012 urging viewers to tell 20 specific celebrities and 12 policymakers to tell the U.S. government, which sent special operations forces to Africa in October to help find Kony, to stick with the mission.
    • The film was posted March 1 and had 58,000 views by March 5, Tilton says. On March 6, Kim Kardashian sent a tweet with a link to the film to her 13 million Twitter followers, the same day Oprah Winfrey tweeted the link to her 9.7 million followers. That day, Kony 2012 hit 8.2 million views on YouTube, Tilton says. Views continued to grow over the weekend, from 50 million Friday to 71 million by Sunday. (And 80 million today) 
    • Special polling and social media content analysis by the Pew Research Center tracks how the “Kony 2012” video and information about it reached so many Americans in a relatively short period of time
    • Those ages 18-29 were much more likely than older adults to have heard a lot about the “Kony 2012” video and to have learned about it through social media than traditional news sources.
    • 27% of young adults first heard about it through social media such as Facebook or Twitter and another 8% learned about it via other internet sources. The internet was more than three times more important as a news-learning platform for young adults than traditional media such as television, newspapers, and radio. Some 10% of young adults first learned about the video via traditional media platforms.
    • For those ages 30-49, the mix of news sources was about even: 22% first learned of the “Kony 2012” video from internet sources – 15% via social media – and 21% learned from traditional media sources. 
    • Those 50 and older were much more likely to have learned of the video from traditional sources, especially television: 29% of adults ages 50-64 heard from television, newspapers, or radio, compared with 12% who heard via the internet. 
    • For adults age 65 and older, 47% learned about it from traditional sources and 5% learned from internet sources.
  • Marketing Takeaway: (Something about story telling....or something about calls to action...or maybe both?)
Vasectomy Madness
Question of the Week
  • What's one key reason why companies should use Twitter for business?
  • InboundChat Tuesday March 20 at 3pm ET on Twitter for Business with HubSpot expert Anum Hussain (@numinews)


  • American Express is now working with Twitter to allow you to Sync your Amex and Twitter accounts, and then tweet a hashtag to get deals with different companies
  • To launch it, they put together a Jay-Z concert at SXSW which had 25000 tickets (offered to Amex cardholders who synced their accounts) and streamed live on YouTube
  • The show was the sponsored Tweet, and some Jay-Z songs were often in the top 10 trending topics
  • Stats:
    • Over 20,000 tweets on the day of the show
  • More:
    • It was a campaign to promote the new American Express and Twitter relationship that lets you "sync" (it's all coming together now, right?) your Amex card and Twitter account, tweet special hashtags, and then redeem couponless offers from the participating companies. 
    • This Jay-Z concert was the official launch of the cardholder's program, and one of the 25,000 tickets to the show was offered to every cardholder, for free, who synced their Amex card and Twitter account.
    • Don't talk about yourself directly. Okay, calling this a Jay-Z campaign is a little misleading...but it's one of the reasons the campaign was so effective. This campaign isn't actually about Jay-Z at all. It's about American Express and the brands participating in its new program.

    • Don't let negativity be an option. It's pretty hard to be negative -- or even emotional -- about the Amex campaign's hashtag, #JayZSyncShow.

    • Give people a reason to participate - American Express had a compelling enough offer -- simply sync your Twitter account with your credit card, and get a free ticket to a Jay-Z concert. And for remote viewers, all they had to do was give the hashtag some visibility, and in return they got to request a song from Jay-Z. 
  • They brought together a lot of people - Jay-Z, Amex, Twitter and the brands that do the sales promotion with them
  • They made the event small / exclusive, but also streamed it to get mass appeal - made it both special and mass
  • I'm looking at Topsy, and we will see what it says in the morning, but it looks like 20K tweets today?
  • They got people involved in the event by tweeting about the songs they wanted to hear
  • They launched the promotion with a highly engaged audience of influencers (the folks at SXSW) on Twitter
  • It is pretty hard to be negative about saving money and getting to see a free Jay-Z show...
  • Marketing Takeaway
SXSW Uses Homeless People as WIFI Hotspots
  • A marketing agency touched off a wave of criticism and debate when it hired members of the local homeless population to walk around carrying mobile Wi-Fi devices, offering conferencegoers Internet access in exchange for donations.
  • BBH Labs, the innovation unit of the international marketing agency BBH, outfitted 13 volunteers from a homeless shelter with the devices, business cards and T-shirts bearing their names: “I’m Clarence, a 4G Hotspot.” 
  • The smartphone-toting, social-networking crowds often overwhelm cellular networks in the area, creating a market that BBH Labs hoped to serve with the “Homeless Hotspots” project, which it called a “charitable experiment.” 
  • It paid each participant $20 a day, and they were also able to keep whatever customers donated in exchange for the wireless service.
  • Tim Carmody, a blogger at Wired, described the project as “completely problematic” and sounding like “something out of a darkly satirical science-fiction dystopia.”

  • A commenter on the BBH Labs blog offered mock praise for the project, then complained that “my homeless hotspot keeps wandering out of range, and it’s ruining all my day trades!”
  • Saneel Radia, the director of innovation at BBH Labs who oversaw the project, said the company was not taking advantage of the homeless volunteers. He said that the company had had success with other such experiments, including one in which it gave homeless people in New York cellphones and Twitter accounts as a way to call attention to their plight.
  • Marketing Takeaway: 


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