Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’


Reaching the Masses via Social Media: What the Royals Got Right

In United Kingdom on August 13, 2011 by sdaniellebenjamin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

When you think of those people and groups that use social media well, there are a few types that easily come to mind: people in their late teens to mid thirties, the super internet savvy and… the royals?

Believe it or not, the Queen and her posse of royalty are fairly active via the social media networks. Granted, perhaps it shouldn’t have come at such a surprise considering more than 80 percent of the UK population is online. I just arrived in London this morning and started checking out various tourist sites and attractions. Of course, Buckingham Palace (and the dress) was top on my list. Low and behold, when I went to view the official website for The Royal Collection, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were effectively using a couple of social platforms to reach the masses.

What the Royals Got Right

Twitter: With over 225,000 followers, @TheBritishMonarchy is leading the way as it engages its audience of both the English and “fans” from across the world who love to follow the celebutante royals. By regularly tweeting information on events and activities taking place at the Palace, one can easily plan a visit around the daily schedules that most interest them. While this is a significant first step, the Monarchy may also consider more two-way conversation with their audience. When appropriate, answering questions or sharing thoughts based on Twitter comments they receive can be a way to show that they are in touch with those who follow them.

Flicker: No, we’re not suggesting that anyone do that to the Queen. BUT the Royal Collection website connects visitors to its flicker page where they regularly post photos of weddings, marches and other exciting happenings of the Palace. The visuals provide an easy storytelling opportunity that can be easily incorporated into the existing site as a way of moving the visitor through a historical narrative of a day in the life of a royal. In this way, the visitor isn’t just looking at pictures, but they can begin to imagine themselves living the “privileged” life.

How Can the Queen Take it Up a Notch?

  • Despite concerns that Facebook is declining in the UK, the immense popularity of this social media site makes it almost impossible to ignore this platform. Establishing a Royal Collection facebook page where people can “friend” the royals and have easy access to photos, page links and other interesting tidbits would be another way to invite the commoner into their world.
  • Just this July, YouTube had its biggest month of traffic ever in the UK. As video watching on mobile devices continues to grow, this opens up another avenue that the royals can employ to share footage with the people. Who wouldn’t love to see the changing of the guards or a celebratory event at the Palace… and then easily share it with friends and family across the country and the world via their smartphone or other mobile device?

I am so excited about my first time in London and my plan is to see as many sights and experience the city for all that it has to offer! The Buckingham Palace is definitely staying on my list and the social tools the royals use just make it easier for me to stay up-to-date and get the fullest out of my visit.


#LondonRiots: Stop the Blame… Play the Game

In United Kingdom on August 9, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , ,

Another crisis. More deaths. More fear. 2011 is the year for revolutions and riots around the globe. And more prominently, 2011 is the year social media became the scapegoat for revolutions and riots around the globe. First, Tunisia. Then, Egypt. Now, London?


Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road on August 6, 2011

I can’t deny (sorry, Malcom Gladwell) the significant role social media tools have played in organising people (for good or bad), but that’s exactly what they are – tools. They are not the reason why people revolt and riot. They are, however, revolutionising the way people live, communicate and mobilise.

The Numbers

  • Almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) and over a quarter of adults in the UK use smartphones (Ofcom Study – 2011)
  • 50% of the population (30 million people) use Facebook
  • 7.2% of the population uses Twitter and UK MPs spend 1,000 hours on Twitter per year.

So What?

More than ever before, people in the UK are connected to each other through their mobile phones and digitally through social networks. Today, as the riots and violence spread even further, there are two important ways the London authorities and media should leverage the very same tools they are blaming for fueling the riots… to save people from the riots and do good (i.e. fight social media with social media): 


What does this mean? Listening in social media involves reading, monitoring and understanding the conversations taking place online. Online communication is quick and offers a human lens to every situation. Every tweeter is a citizen journalist in times like these. Listening also offers authorities and media the opportunity to understand what people need in times of crisis — whether it be emergency police support or advice on places to avoid.

How can we do this?

  • Set up accounts on Monitter or HootSuite – platforms that allow you to monitor tweets in real-time, up to three hashtags at a time.
  • Search for Facebook groups and pages about the riots and understand what the majority of people are talking about. Are they in favor of the riots or mobilising to clean up the streets?
  • Look for maps created by people online that intelligently gather important data about the crisis. A good example of this is this visual map created based on the #londonriots hashtag and UK postcodes. Another great data source is crowdsourced maps, like this special edition Google Map that was created and updated live by @jamescridland, mapping reports of looting, rioting, arrests and citizen rowdiness. | Trending Topics on August 8, 2011


What does this mean? Every conversation is an opportunity to engage. Rather than act as higher level watchdogs and security agents on the crisis, social media allows for greater communication and engagement with the community. By using social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and mobile platforms, like SMS and Blackberry Messenger (BBM), there is a much higher chance of impactful and immediate mobilisation of positive efforts. Especially in the case of the authorities, there is an opportunity to create rapport with the people and develop a united front to do good together, similar to the recent situation in Vancouver.

How can we do this?

  • Live Blogging: Create a one-stop-shop source of information for people who can be accessed on smart phones and update it in real time. Include photographs, locations affected and video to communicate and tell the story effectively. The Guardian, a major UK-based newspaper, is doing an amazing job of communicating with its readers through its live blog.

  • Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and SMS: This is by far the most significant amount of blame I have ever seen attributed to BBM. As an extremely secure and rapid way of communicating with groups, this is an amazing tool to use in times like this. The Guardian is the first news outlet, and brand even, I have ever seen using BBM to gather on-the-ground information, as well as to broadcast important messages. Also, the authorities should partner with UK’s telecom corporations to send real time SMS alerts to citizens, warning of dangerous areas.
  • Twitter and Facebook: This is the most straightforward way to communicate for the media and authorities, many of whom are already on these platforms. Join the conversations that are already happening. Respond to important questions. Offer advice on how to act and where to go in dangerous situations. Find the people who are seeking to do good in times of crisis and offer real support. Be the authority, and be reachable.
  • Crowdsourced Maps: If they haven’t been created already, develop a map like the one above that details the locations affected and places at risk. The ultimate aim is to protect the people and this is a remarkably easy way to do it.

In a Google search for “London Riots + Blame,” over 10 million hits were found. Blame is being placed on everything from Twitter to Blackberry, even on the popular Grand Theft Auto video game. Instead of wasting time on blame, let’s play the same game and use these amazing tools for the good of the community.


Turkey’s Changemakers vs. Fark Yaratanlar: Let’s Integrate, Engage & Collaborate.

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , , ,

Turkey's Changemakers


WHO: Some call it Turkey’s Changemakers. (Most) others call it Fark Yaratanlar.

WHAT: An initiative launched by Turkey’s Sabanci Foundation, Fark Yaratanlar is a weekly TV program aired on CNN Turk that shares the inspiring stories of 32 individual “changemakers” who promote and positively impact the country’s social and economic development. Over the course of two seasons, 800 applications have been submitted, 64 causes featured and almost 1 million viewers.

WHEN: The program launched Season 1 in October 2009. Season 2 just ended last month.

WHY: To increase visibility of individuals who make a significant impact on other people’s lives, raise awareness of social issues and inspire others to act for social change. Güler Sabancı, Chair of Sabancı Holding and third among the Financial Times “Top 50 Women in World Business” in 2010, said: “I think its extremely important to promote role models and good examples to mobilize more people to get involved.


It’s usually quite easy to do an overall assessment of an organization’s social media/digital footprint, right? That’s what I thought, too. My best friend introduced this initiative to me as Turkey’s Changemakers. We hit it off instantly. Loved the concept. Loved the implementation. (Filiz Bekman, much respect.) Here’s what I found as I tried to understand where this program lived among Turkey’s 35 million Internet users:


Internet Penetration in Turkey (in terms of # of users)

Turkey’s Changemakers



397 Fans




The numbers don’t make sense, right? With Turkey’s Facebook population of 29,643,160, how could this amazing program only have 396 fans?

The quick answer: They don’t. They have 9,084 fans. Still not putting a dent in the 29 million, but a big difference nonetheless. How did the number jump? The program has two pages on Facebook and Twitter, one under the program’s English name (Turkey’s Changemakers) and one under the program’s original Turkish name (Fark Yaratanlar). Here’s a clearer picture:


Internet Penetration in Turkey (in terms of # of users)

Turkey’s Changemakers

Fark Yaratanlar



397 Fans

8,687 Fans





In addition to their Facebook and Twitter presence(s), Turkey’s Changemakers has a dedicated YouTube channel with 96 videos, 46 subscribers and over 100,000 views. The website — — is difficult to find if you know the program as Turkey’s Changemakers (especially since the links on both of its Facebook and Twitter pages don’t work).


  • Fark Yaratanlar clearly has two “faces” for a good reason: to reach their domestic audience and the international English-speaking audience.
  • Wide reach through a variety of platforms and good integration between networks (i.e. linking to YouTube from Facebook, linking to Facebook from Twitter, etc.)
  • Great use of video storytelling to reach non-TV audience online


As the program enters its third season, I recommend that Fark Yaratanlar do three things to leverage their current momentum for future success:

1. INTEGRATE: Develop a brand with one face and name, even if it’s reaching out to two audiences. Add the English version of the name after the Turkish one for clarification (Fark Yaratanlar: Turkey’s Changemakers). Create an English version of the website (just like Sabanci Foundation). If there must be two Facebook and Twitter accounts, make sure they’re fully integrated and that it’s clear to users where to find the other version, as well as always linking back to the program’s official website. Contact Facebook and have them remove unauthorized pages and groups under the same name to ensure all supporters are supporting the official page.

2. ENGAGE: Have two-way conversations with online audiences — they are the lifeline of the initiative. Ask questions. Answer questions. Invite ideas and recommendations for new program developments. Enlist supporters to evangelize the program. Use Facebook and Google ads to spread more awareness and drive traffic back to the program’s sites. Develop a short-term campaign prior to the launch of the third season where every new Facebook “like” triggers a donation to one of the changemaker causes. Invite supporters to post their personal social impact stories on a dedicated “Sharing/Storytelling” tab on the revamped Facebook page.

3. COLLABORATE: The program currently is aired on CNN Turk, produced by Dipnot TV and hosted by TV personality Cüneyt Özdemir. By collaborating with these three entities on social media communications, Fark Yaratanlar can reach thousands more people. Özdemir alone has over 200,000 followers on Twitter and is on over 2,000 lists. ( has almost 190,000 followers and Dipnot TV has almost 30,000.) That kind of exposure would be priceless for Fark Yaratanlar. The key is using the @mention so followers can then engage directly with the program. On top of that, the program can develop offline engagement opportunities with Sabinci University students and professors to garner even more interest and online participation.

Before you sign off, watch one of their weekly programs. This one is about “Child Brides,” a project to raise awareness about early marriages in Turkey

(Click on CC for English subtitles)


Turkcell Takes To Twitter

In Turkey on August 7, 2011 by S.Albright Tagged: , ,

Today, it is no longer a question if companies use social media to promote their product/service/campaign, but rather how they are going to do it — and above all, if they can do it well. Earlier this spring, leading Turkish mobile communications company Turkcell looked to promote new smartphones bundled with a mobile Internet package. The company needed to hone in on where they could best reach their target market for the campaign to be a success. Turks are only third in the world for hours spent online each month, so Turkcell wanted to attract these heavy Internet users – who distinctly avoid online advertising – in a unique and engaging way. The verdict? A live, time-sensitive competition through Twitter.

What Turkcell Did

Turkcell created a campaign that combined the use of Twitter and live video streaming. As seen above, the video showcased the smartphones packed in festive gift boxes and covered in colorful post-its. Turkcell prompted its Twitter users to ‘unpack the box’ by tweeting what was written on the post-its by using the hashtag #turkcelltweet. Users unfold one post-it each time they tweet to uncover the gift underneath, but are unaware of the total number of post-its, prompting them to tweet more as an incentive to win.

The competition ran live for 3 hours a day for a total of 7 days. Along the way, users could also participate in games such as Pictionary, Trivia and word puzzles to win minutes and other mobile data perks. The final challenge of #turkcelltweet was for users to try to get a celebrity to re-tweet the message, which would ultimately win them a new smartphone.


For a campaign that ran for only a week, the impressions Turkcell made were impressive:

A Social Media Success

Traditional forms of online advertising now have less reach than ever before (bye bye, banner ads) and Turkcell really took a leap forward in the future of social media advertising through this innovative campaign. You may be wondering (as I was): did the campaign ultimately translate into increased company sales? Turkcell had cut its 2011 sales target in April after a 21% fall in first-quarter net profit. Second quarter results, however, following the #turkcelltweet campaign fared differently. Turkcell’s subscriber base has grown substantially, and the company expects continued growth and momentum throughout the remainder of the year.

Overall, Turkcell’s Twitter campaign garnered increased awareness for the company as a whole. Turkcell accurately identified that their target audience is very actively engaged in social media, and their interactive approach engaged these Internet heavy users in simple yet creative new ways online. The final step in having to engage a celebrity re-tweet in the process was a smart tactic that enabled Turkcell to extend the campaign’s awarness even further. I vote this campaign a true social media success and can’t wait to see how other brands around the world will continue to use the power of Twitter in innovative ways.


Talking Tourism in Turkey

In Turkey on August 4, 2011 by P Grant Tagged: , , , ,

One of my most difficult assignments as an Account Executive for a major Midwest PR firm was to sell a tourism destination in the middle of the USA.  The objective was to fly travel writers to the city, sightsee, explore,  wine and dine them for several days in hopes our tourism destination would be written about, talked about and featured in the New York Times, Travel and Leisure Magazine or other major print outlets.

What made the job so difficult was the energy and enthusiasm required by me as the perfect tour guide/chauffeur for three jammed-packed days.  I once had a New York travel writer insist he leave in the middle of a Repertory Theater performance because he was bored.

Social media to the rescue at least, in Turkey. Travel writers still visit Turkey to write their stories, but the tourism market in Turkey has become a conversation on the internet. The real buzz right now are the conversations taking place through social media on the Website, Wizard Istanbul, operated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey.

Get involved to share Istanbul Love

A traveler can post a question on Twitter, Facebook or the Website with an answer returned in minutes or several hours. Constant updates are also posted on the Website as well as Facebook and Twitter with the most recent being, “what can someone do in Istanbul during Ramadan?” What a great question and one that some people might not even know to ask.

Using social media to guide tourists in real-time around your city is a great idea that will be followed by others.  No more waiting around for an article to come out months later in the print media.

Here are three reasons why Wizard Istanbul is such a good idea:

1.Wizard Istanbul is a proactive way of reaching out to your market.  What separates it from other location guides is that it’s crowdsourced with real-time answers 24/7.

2.Wizard Istanbul works through social media outlets, Twitter, Facebook and via the Web.

3.Responses to questions are written by citizens of Istanbul who are passionate about their city and willing to volunteer their time to engage tourists online. Their enthusiasm for Istanbul is catching as you can see by the answer I received about souvenir shopping in Istanbul :

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for your question, and sorry for late reply, for faster replies you can ask your questions via or   (I emailed my question and the response took about four hours)

There are lots of gift opportunities, depends on what your family members like, you can buy “dried fruits” to “Turkish delight”, “quality clothes with Turkish motives” to “hand-made carpets”. Also we suggest up to hobbies; Waterpipe(nargile), porcelain tea & coffee sets, Turkish coffee, unique accesorizes(which you can find in Istiklal avenue -in aznavur pasaj-)

Even you can buy anything in huge shopping malls(Kanyon, Istinyepark, Cevahir) and shopping districts(Kadikoy, Nisantasi, Besiktas, Beyoglu), if you want to have more cultural or unique things grand bazaar, spice bazaar and the streets between these bazaars are great. Also Tunnel to Taksim(istiklal street) is also another district to shop with its backstreets.

Enjoy Istanbul and feel free to ask anything.

Wizard Istanbul Team

Istanbul attractions are open during Ramadan

The Wizard Istanbul Team is engaged and inviting.  Since 70 percent of the population in Turkey is under 35, in a culture that is traditionally shy, you can see why social media is so popular.

Wizard Istanbul is an innovative new way to target your market and boost your tourism. It’s not just postings and announcements on a Website, a YouTube documentary, shared stories/ photos on a blog,  or digital maps.  It’s all about conversations – real people talking to real people in real-time.

Talking tourism in Turkey is a good idea for anyone in the tourism industry.


How Social Media Engagement in India Truly Impacts Lives

In India on July 17, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , ,

To India, with Love:

Since my childhood, India has occupied an exclusive place in my heart. Spirit. Culture. Passion. Bright bursts of color. As a nation – rich in history and diverse in landscape. As a people – wildly intelligent and exceptionally kind.

Exactly 10 years ago, I traveled to Hyderabad with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing housing to people in need. For 9 days, my team and I carried hundreds of heavy red bricks up and down hills to help rebuild houses from the ground up with families whose homes had been devastated by recent floods.

Since that day, my affinity to all-things-Indian has multiplied, but now is not the time to discuss my obsession with:

  • Bollywood movies (now thankfully available on YouTube!)
  • Delicious chaat and chutney, and…
  • Two of my very best friends Aarti Jaan and Akanksha Jaan.
    [Jaan is a term of endearment in Hindi]

10 years ago, the world hadn’t yet been introduced to Facebook and Twitter. In times of need, non-profit organizations partnered with schools, governments and on-the-ground volunteers to garner support and create impact. But today, in a world tightly packed with dozens of digital platforms, global netizens have quickly penetrated these social networks and begun engaging for social causes.

In India alone, nearly 30 million people are members of social networking sites, with an estimated 45,000 joining these sites per day over the next four months, according to a recent Nielsen study.

Social media is now ingrained in the way tech savvy Indians live their lives. With its ability to play multiple roles in an individual’s life by enabling shared experiences, creating linkages between communities and satisfying the need to be networked, its role in creating a deeper engagement is a boon to marketing. – Adrian Terron, Vice President, The Nielsen Company

Even more notable is that Indians are increasingly engaging in more meaningful ways on social networks. Here are three concrete examples of social media being used effectively to create social impact:

1. User-Driven Crisis Communications | Mumbai Blasts

The most recent, albeit disheartening, example of this took place just last week after the Mumbai bombings. However, what was beautiful to witness was the quick mobilization of support that flooded through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other online platforms. As phone lines jammed, people tweeted their willingness to donate blood, give car rides and offer a place of refuge through dedicated hashtags #heretohelp, #mumbaiblasts and #needhelp. Soon enough, an editable Google Docs spreadsheet was created and circulated on Twitter, containing people’s mobile phone numbers, blood types and help required/offered. 30 minutes after the bombings, an Ushahidi disaster-tracking map was created north of Mumbai, showing where people needed help and where they could seek shelter.

#heretohelp Twitter Feed on July 13, 2011

IMPACT: The incident proved that, when put to the test, Indian netizens largely use social platforms for positive impact, rather than to gossip or spread rumors.

2. Corporate-Driven Cause Marketing | Tata Tea & Janaagraha: Jaago Re Campaign

Tata Tea, the leading tea company in India, partnered with Janaagraha, a nonprofit working to improve the quality of life in urban India, in 2008 to encourage youth voter registration through interactive applications online. The campaign has an active social media presence with a YouTube channel, Facebook (over 35,000 fans), Twitter (~3,000 followers), Orkut (~13,000 members) and a dedicated website. The website has a clear call to action, asking youth to “wake up and make the change with Jaago Re!” Supporters are given specific and easy steps to follow to help, whether it be networking with like-minded people, volunteering or sharing inspirational stories.

Impact: As I have been studying cause marketing campaigns in depth for the past few months, I am particularly inspired and impressed by this campaign’s ability to motivate 625,000 people to register as voters. By communicating loud and clear and actively engaging on the platforms where their target audience spend the most time, Jaago Re has proven itself as a model for similar cause marketing campaigns. As the Georgetown professor and marketing expert Gaurav Mishra said on his insightful blog, “…voter registration campaigns like Tata Tea’s Jaago Re have caught the imagination of urban India’s web-savvy youngsters, with their effective use of social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.”

3. NonProfit-Driven Marketing & Communications | Pratham Books ‘Read India’

This campaign particularly has touched me because I was such a bookworm as a child. I would spend hours on end in the public library reading my way through the children’s library. Pratham Books, the winner of IndiaSocial Case Challenge 2010, is a nonprofit trust that aims to make children’s literature accessible, with the goal of placing a book in the hands of every child. Pratham actively engages its stakeholders through its blog and its various accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube. The coolest thing they do (in my humble opinion) is uploading books on Scribd for people to read and share with others through a Creative Commons license.

Impact: Through their active presence online, they have received offers of support from authors and translators, recruited social volunteers (see photo below) and launched a listening/engaging program with their followers and fans. Although this is a relatively young initiative, they have done a fantastic job of engaging online and I look forward to see what they do next.

India occupied an exclusive place in my heart many years ago. And it just keeps growing. I look forward to seeing what great things the Indian people, companies and nonprofits do next to create social impact through social media.

For more information on social media in India, here is a great visual overview.


Sendero de Chile: How a Strong Social Media Presence Can Put Chile on the Right Path

In Chile on June 26, 2011 by sdaniellebenjamin Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Throughout the past year, the world has given more attention to the country that snakes along the coast of the South American tail. Having experienced much in 2010, including a record-breaking earthquake and the captivating story of 33 miners fighting for survival, Chile has landed in the hearts and minds of people from all over the world and has enjoyed a steady growth in tourism as a result.

 But while traditional tourist spots will continue to be a favorite among many, the rise in ecotourism is making headway for those seeking to uncover the hidden treasures of this beautiful country.

The Sendero de Chile (Chilean Path) project was designed to create a tapestry of paths that tell the tale of Chilean history, landscapes and culture – perhaps the road Frost would’ve taken had he ventured to warmer climates. With claims that it will be the “longest hiking route in the world” once completed, the project was originally slated to celebrate Chile’s 2010 bicentennial anniversary of independence from Spain, but was delayed due to funding and other issues.

While the Sendero project seeks to raise greater environmental awareness through its trails, a stronger social media presence and more active engagement of current digital tools could not only increase interest in the project from both local and global tourists, but also help to raise needed funding. Here are just some of the social platforms the Sendero de Chile project might explore:

While traditional social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, are currently used, there are ways they can better engage with their audience. For example, rather than hosting a friend page, a fan page would include more relevant features to display, including customizable walls, photo sharing capabilities, fundraising options, and open discussions about specific trails, and be a more open conduit to attract new visitors. At the same time, while there are only a reported 60,000 Chilean Twitter users, there might be opportunities to engage many of these (and the handles of global users) through a more targeted approach – much more than the seven tweets currently shared by @senderodechile.

As of September 2008, there were a reported 4,827,387 Chilean Fotolog users (Chile reportedly has the most accounts) uploading and sharing photos. By incorporating photo sharing capabilities onto the Sendero website, hikers can not only enjoy the experience of the trails for themselves, but share those memories with others. In this way, the story of the trails are told not only through the lens of project workers and volunteers, but through the unbiased photographers as well.

With the growth of digital crowdsourcing, websites such as Crowdrise offer a free and easy way for foundations and non-profits to raise money. With only a few clicks of la ratón de la computadora, Sendero can create a profile and share their own mini-website with millions of visitors who come specifically looking to donate to worthy causes and projects.

The Sendero de Chile project is truly a collective effort of the Chilean government, environmentalists and volunteers who want to celebrate the country’s heritage and natural beauty. By positioning the Sendero site as the social gathering for outdoor enthusiasts – both local and foreign – the project is sure to capture attention and financial support and thrive as one of Chile’s most natural tourist spots.


The Key to Jumpstarting Norway’s Tourism Marketing Campaign

In Norway on June 20, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , ,

Norway: The Happiest Country in the World. That’s an accolade that’s hard to come by with 193 competitors around the globe. National Geographic recommended it as one of the “20 Best Trips of 2011.” Even CNN listed it as one of the World’s Top Destinations for 2011 — #5 to be exact. But somehow, an avid traveler like myself has never heard Norway described that way. Frankly, I’ve never heard anything about Norway from any of my well-traveled friends. Why is that? And why hasn’t Norway done anything to attract us?

Well… actually, they have. Innovation Norway, the tourism board for Norway, launched a social media campaign called Norway. Your Way. in 2010 to increase awareness of Norway as an attractive and desirable tourist destination in Europe. They described it as “a competition to find 5 adventure seekers from Europe to compete and challenge their own boundaries in a beautiful wintery Norway.” The competition required consumers to submit a creative piece inspired by Norway.

Watch the campaign’s teaser video here:

Over 1,400 entries were received from five countries (UK, Italy, France, Germany and Russia). The five winners (one from each country) set off on their journey in February of this year, accompanied by Norwegian explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, and the challenge ended earlier this year. Innovation Norway’s strategy was to leverage word-of-mouth marketing through each of the 5 winners who documented their 10-day trip through Norway.


Frankly, I think the campaign is genius. It harnessed the collective powers of Norway’s bloggers, tweeters and social media gurus to encourage entries, vote on the best ones and then follow the campaign throughout. But now that the short-term campaign has ended, is Norway reaping the desired ROI of their initial strategy? – Norway’s ongoing tourism marketing campaign is active on Facebook (+ US-specific page), Twitter (Norsk, Spanish, German, US) and YouTube, with several accounts on each (to serve different foreign audiences). They even have an app for Android and iPhone that serves as an in-depth travel guide to Norway, with thousands of hotel, restaurant and attraction listings. They’ve attracted a total of 28,207 Facebook fans (on both pages) and 10,176 Twitter followers (across all accounts). All in all, I think they’ve done a pretty terrific job of covering all their bases.

Now what, though? How will Norway keep attracting people? With a population of over 4.5 million people, close to 95% of Norwegians enjoy seamless, high-speed Internet access. That’s even higher Internet penetration than North America, Singapore and the entire continent of Europe. Not only that, over 50% of Norwegians use Facebook on a weekly basis.

With stats like that, Norway has an incredibly valuable untapped national treasure: its very own citizens. Norway needs to shift its tourism marketing into the hands of the every-day media-savvy Norwegian. Who better to capture and tell the beautiful story of Norway than its very own? With hundreds of bloggers, thousands on Facebook and Twitter, Norway can create an army of its nation’s own brand ambassadors with little money and effort.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against Norway’s initial strategy of using tourists to generate creative content that would then hopefully “go viral online.” On the contrary. I think Norway is on the right track. They should move forward and take their strategy to the next level by engaging tourists at every touch point of their visit.

I have three recommendations for Norway’s ongoing tourist engagement on social media. These could be incorporated into a long-term campaign in partnership with major tourist hotspots (airports, transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, outdoor attractions).

  1. Facebook Places and Foursquare: People love being in everyone else’s business. It’s in our nature. So naturally, if our friends are checking in at Oslo International Airport, we’re intrigued. Encourage tourists to check in wherever they go, virtually creating an online logbook of their entire trip. And, more importantly, marketing Norway’s beautiful destinations for free.
  2. Gogobot and TripAdvisor: We all know by now that word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. We believe other people more than we believe advertisements. By the time most of us are nearing the end of a vacation, we’re not thinking about writing reviews. But when we have a great experience, we’re usually willing to write one. So, why doesn’t Norway take advantage of that goodwill and ask tourists to recommend them on travel sites where other travelers can see their reviews?
  3. Twitter: Twitter has two very cool features: location-based tweeting and photo-inclusion. The best tweets are specific and visual. Imagine all your friends tweeted their travels with great photos of beautiful, far-off lands. Now, imagine you knew exactly where those photos are taken! Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Norway is definitely on to something. They understand the importance of social media presence. They understand the power of user-generated content. Now, if only they would remind their two most valuable stakeholders to spread the word… Personally, I think they’ll strike gold.


What does your online “brand” represent? Something good I hope.

In USA on June 12, 2011 by msjasminerenee Tagged: , , ,

What exactly is a brand these days?  Is it a distinct symbol or shape, a simple jingle, an overpriced good, or a fancy name that may or may not be easy to pronounce.  Perhaps it’s something that’s easy recognizable or something that we continually consume because we think that it’s the “best on the market.”  The truth of the matter is that brands are no longer considered to be large corporations but, thanks to the evolution of social media you to my friend, are a brand.

So when did individuals become brands?  We became brands the moment we created our personalized Facebook  page, the day we entered the world of Twitter and the day that we became connected to LinkedIn and commented on that article in the paper. The day you made the decision to engage in social media, also made the decision to create your own brand.  How so? Well first, you created a username.  This was your opportunity to call (or identify) yourself as whatever it is that you wanted.  Some people use their legal name and others make up things that are just plain silly but either way, you immediately created your unique identifier.  Second, you  posted personal things about your life. Where you live, what you do, where you were educated, your religious background and so forth.  Yes, one could argue that there are controls put in place such as “friend request” or “request to follow,” to keep weirdos out of your space but, your living in a virtual atmosphere and most things virtual (aka social) have come to serve as a resource, especially for employers.  When you share, comment, post, connect, or tweet, you are sharing  and representing your thoughts, your values,  and point of view with the world.  This is branding at its best. 

A brand offers a unique identity and that identity often times serves as a representation for something much deeper than a cute picture or a profound statement that you encountered. Yes, all the sites that I mentioned above are for personal use but I say again, they are also resources.  If you meet a hot guy or gal, the first thing that most people do is look them up in Facebook or on Twitter to see what they are talking about, to see what kind of pictures they have posted, and  to learn more about the person. Applied for a job lately, employers are checking out social media sites.  Why? Because they are checking up on your “brand.”  The bottom line — give them and yourself something to be proud of.


Ruling Politicians with an Iron “Twitter-Fist”

In USA on June 12, 2011 by J. Murphy Tagged: , , ,

Courtesy of John Sheriffus

For some reason or another, politicians can’t seem to resist being anxiously lead into the lions den that is the global Twittersphere.  It seems harmless on the surface right?  It isn’t a documented 140 character online diary entry….right?  No one will ever find out what I wrote X days/weeks/months ago…right? 

Well, given the partisan gridlock in Washington, it is quite the contrary. People are paying attention to politicians more than ever online and it is almost like they are humming the Elvis tune “A Little Less Conversation” in the process. 

Wander into the twitter realm for a politician is like entering into a chat room where everyone knows your name, and everything else about you.  But they desperate want to know more. So what does one do to respond to such fanfare?

Two possible outcomes can result from taking the twitter plunge:

1) Methodically easing into tweeting, all the while developing a strong, healthy and active following and spreading their agenda and views for the next term and beyond.

2) Jumping right into tweeting and conversing with followers like they have known them for years — that is until they get too bold or provocative with a statement, which in turn leads down a slippery slope filled with reactionary, impulsive decisions that can potentially suck the air out of their twitter voice and following before they know what hit them.

No pressure right? And it doesn’t take much to get the extremes going — just ask the tea party express or   (to name a few).    

The New York Times said it best: “More than two centuries and many scandals later, Twitter has replaced pamphlets as the medium of the moment.”  And they are right!  We live in a world where it is fascinating to watch our political leaders wiggle out of and around incendiary barbs that may have graced their lips or nimble fingers, all while weathering the burden of fed-up political extremes.  It’s merely a ribbing to keep them honest and when you examine the current perception of politicians in Washington from “outside the beltway” this should not be a shock to anyone.

After all, pandering to a political base or enraging opponents to gain leverage is part of the game, but sometimes it trumps the real reason people get elected – representing the constituency that put you in office.  Will our politicians learn that before it gets the best of them? Only time will tell.