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Cloud:Flood another Pay With a Tweet

I wrote some time ago of a service called Pay With A Tweet. Basically you have something to give away, you want to give it away for free, but would like a Facebook share or a Tweet in return.

It seems, from readers comments on the original post, the Facebook share option on Pay With A Tweet no longer works.

Step up Cloud:Flood, which does exactly the same thing as Pay With a Tweet. I haven’t tested Cloud Flood yet, but if you have share your thoughts below.

“If your economy is toast, you may as well have some cheese on it.”

The free cheese story of last Friday set Twitter alight with many excellent cheese related puns. It’s another example of the lack of understanding of how the country feels by the Government. Not only is the county about to teeter over the brink, thanks to the Governments insistence on bailing out corrupt banks full of cronies, developers and Fianna Fail mates, so much so that every man woman and child here is going to be up to their necks in debt for many years to come.

Yet Fianna Fail (FF) treated the free cheese story like it was the good news story to beat all good news stories. It’s one of the most bizarre stories to make a song and dance about especially since its not news, but a scheme that’s been in operation for years.

While this is/was a political story, it also gives an idea of how Twitter works as a communications platform. Twitter is great at is bringing people together to talk about matters that affect us. Be it #Cheesegate, #Freecheese, #Xfactor, sports events, TV shows or whatever your having yourself. Twitter acts as a platform for hundreds or thousands of people to come together and discuss what is happening, in real time. It removes the barrier of location, and unlike Facebook you can start a discussion with just about anybody on it. I would imagine that of my almost 400 followers on Twitter most I have never met before, some I have met since we started following but the vast majority I will probably never meet. But these anonymous links to people and organisations provide me with an incredible amount of information, news, views, insights, topics and entertainment. A day without Twitter and sometimes you don’t feel like you know whats going on in the world.

For more on Twitter Marketing check out a couple of posts I wrote on the Neworld Blog (link and link) which give practical examples of how 140 characters can be used as a powerful marketing tool.

But for now here’s the Top cheese related Tweets from the last few days;

Ireland: There is Philadelphia Light at the end of the tunnel - @HybridVigour

Cheese release me, let me go

Apparently it’s quantative cheesing – both @SeanMoncrieff

The Irish Economy: Things Can Only Get Feta -  @kevnmur

This #freecheese thing doesn’t seem like a modern idea, more like something fromages past – @AllanCavanagh

Things Can Only Get Cheddar #freecheese - johnmadden78

It’s un-brie-lievable - @PaddyDuffy

Gov’s bold initiative.. Quantitative Cheesing.. Edammed if we do, edammed if we don’t! - @lstwrd

For the love of Gouda – @flowersmadeeasy

Letter in the_irish_times today: “Free cheese for Ireland! From the very people who rennet into the ground in the first place.”  - @KimHarte

Most listeners feeling Blue about #cheesegate, it really gets their Goat, things couldn’t Brie any worse. – @LauraByrneTdfm

#freecheese best things in life are brie! - @lisaocarroll

Hello… Is it Brie you’re looking for? #freecheese @blogtackular

Fianna Fail meetng, Dermot Ahern pipes up, the only thing that can win Donegal for us is Jesus, Cowen mishears now - @cooper_m

I’m furious! Brian Cowen thinks he can spend all my tax money on cheese. How dairy? – @phildargen

Government has finally shown it does give edam- @SeanRocksARENA

I thought we were looking at 4 years of Hard Grind not Hard Rind – @boucherhayes

RTE Xmas movies: The Gouda Father, Goodfetas, Das Brie, From Riccotta with Love – @gooneradam

#freecheese just in time for Christmas so we can celebrate the baby cheeses…. –  @phildargan

Jules Carbonara

“Let them eat cheesecake!” ~ The Laughing Cowen – @julescarbonara

One of my producers says he camembert this anymore. He says the country is between a roquefort and a hard place - @cooper_m

Beyond Thinking : Bord Gais

Bord Gais (An Irish Gas & Electricity provider)  are no strangers when it comes to trying out new ideas in their marketing communications. To announce their foray into the electricity market in 2009 they spoke to bloggers ahead of the mainstream media to get their take on it all. That was incredibly well received. Earlier today they announced the launch of their new iPhone App, Think Beyond. The free app, available from today, allows consumers to check account balances, billing dates and transaction history for their electricity and gas. A future version will allow customers to monitor usage of power in the home.

So how do you go about launching an app like this? Think of your target audience – people with smartphones. They don’t necessarily have to be Bord Gais customers, but providing such a useful app may make non customers consider becoming customers. This is combination of early adopters, office/desk/pc bound who will gladly give up some time for a reward. So how can these people be reached in a way that generates buzz, ‘beyond’ what would be achievable in traditional media? Design a bunch of activities for them to take part in, offer some really cool prizes, use Twitter for its real time updates, it’s ability to post photo’s, and use those taking part to help spread word of the app and competition virally amongst a much wider audience.

Here’s roughly how it worked (if anybody has anything to add feel free, I was dipping in and out of it all day)

Task 1: 11.30am

@eoinos announces on Twitter they will be giving away €1,600 in iTunes vouchers and 4 iPhone 4’s. This advert also appeared in today’s press. Note they used the advert to use a member of staff’s account and to promote their Facebook page.

As tweeted by @eoinos today “Ok folks this hour to be in with a chance of winning the iPhone or Vouchers, all you have to do is download our fingerprint image and set it as your iPhone wallpaper and tweet a screenshot making sure to tag tweet with#thinkbeyond”.

This task was iPhone specific. But by setting up the hashtag and getting respondents to tweet their task they were also promoting the competition to everyone that followed them. That’s viral marketing. This task closed at 12.45 and the winner announced at 1pm.

Task 2: 1.10pm

From @eoinos “So thats tweet or email picture of you next to one of our ‘Get in touch with your account’ ads to be in draw, remember to tag #thinkbeyond”. At this stage #thinkbeyond and @eoins were trending in Dublin on Twitter.

Task 3: 2.30pm

From @eoinos “Ok for the 3rd hour all you have to do is create or draw or paint etc the words ‘Think Beyond’ in a creative way and tweet or email a pic”. This produced some really creative entries like how about this video entry from @finianmurphy

The level of entries at this stage were so good and the competition was running so over closing time was extended to 4pm. Some of the runners up are below, and more entries at the end of this post. The judges requested more time before announcing the winner of the iPhone 4 for this round so the winner will be announced at lunchtime on Friday.

Another video entry, this is from @keithbohanna

These were some of the runner ups from @digital_times

@PaulaCoMayo

Task 4: 4.30pm

From @eoinos “A giant iPhone 4 will appear at one of Dublins most famous landmarks at 17:30. We will release the location at 17:20…First person to find that iPhone 4, get their picture taken with it and tweet it wins our 4th and final iPhone 4. #thinkbeyond” This was a really good idea taking the competition into the real world. At 5.20pm the location was announced as The Spire right in the heart of Dublin City Centre. I don’t have exact time on this but roughly 15 – 20 minutes later a very luck, and aptly names, @gimmefreestuff got to The Spire just ahead of another contestant. Here’s the winning picture

So how  did this work out for Bord Gais?

It was a remarkably simple and effective idea. Grabbing the attention of key early adopters and getting them involved in the marketing process. By taking part and using the hashtag #thinkbeyond the ‘players’ were also promoting the app and competition to their own followers who could account for several thousand people. Admittadly how many are in Ireland is another issue.

The tasks were straightforward and very easy to do so had a huge buy in from the public. The later two tasks really came into their own when players could add their own creativity bringing out some really clever entries. While thr fourth task whipped everything on its head and went outdoors. Bord Gais should really look at using the entries for Task 3 in more ways, as they surely don’t deserve to be hidden away on some Twitter status never to be revisited again. Surely they could be used in further promotion offline or online?

Looking at what stats I have to hand right now (and these are basic) Topsy.com is saying there’s 101 Tweets today with the hashtag #thinkbeyond. Not a bad figure, and allowances should be made for entries that didnt carry the hash as I’m sure there was a few. In my own personal opinion I think it worked by generating ‘buzz’ around something in a new interesting way that could be linked to the App. Hopefully a lot of this Buzz will carry into tomorrow both online and offline for Bord Gais.

What didn’t fare so well was the Facebook page. The advert at the beginning of this piece mentions their Facebook page being new. At the time of writing it has just 43 fans. Most of the activity occurred on Twitter using @eoinos profile to send the tweets to his followers. Given that his followers amount to nearly 1,000 and the Facebook page was starting from scratch is it any wonder that the activity took place on Twitter?

With Facebook, fans are more likely to see messages from brands they follow. But due to the sheer volume of Tweets, I don’t think the same can be said about Twitter followers. Also new followers who are now interested in the Bord Gais brand will more than likely follow @eoinos (I have) and not the official Bord Gais Twitter profile (which I think is this and it only has 8 followers). So thats one flaw of what is a really cool marketing stunt – all these people have gotten involved with the Bord Gais Brand for a day, and that connection could go to waste.

But I really don’t want to take away from what was a really good idea, fitting perfectly with the ‘Beyond Thinking’ theme. It grasped the desired audience and kept their attention for the day, while getting them to promote the App all the time.

Here’s some more of the entries, and you have to agree not only is the standard incredibly high, but there’s something very ‘absolut‘ going on in some of them. More entries with the #beyondthinking can be veiewed here

@irishmediawatch

@lollimurphy

@adamjdoherty

@nardiff

@alanisko

@RuggerWine

And my own personal favorite @Patatronic

Quick Guide To Twitter

Quick Guide To Twitter
Twitter is literally everywhere, everybody is using it, talking about using it or is staunchly against the hype. I have been trying to grasp Twitter of late, the concept of knowing what people are doing every hour of the day is a bit much. But in the business world I can see its uses; for building and maintaining relationships with customers, as a means to provide customer services and for PR purposes. It is about promotion of what you or your company is doing, interacting with new and existing customers to deliver a better all round service. This makes it a useful tool to augment existing activities that are already in place. As founder Biz Stone said ‘it’s the messaging service we didn’t know we needed until after we had it’.

What is Twitter?
It’s like a stripped down Social Network. You set up a company or personal profile, personalise it (avatar, background, website or blog link), upload your contacts from an existing email address book (optional) and your done. You can ‘follow’ your contacts who are already using Twitter and they can follow you.

Messages or ‘Tweets’
When I say ‘stripped down’ I mean your profile consists of little else than whats been mentioned, and your ‘tweets’. Your messages or ‘tweets’ will be visible by your followers. Think about that. You build a large group of followers for your business that you can contact rapidly and directly for company promotions, developments, blog posts, product or service updates, on anything that your business does that is relevant to followers and potential followers. For those reasons don’t use it as an Instant Message service. Don’t forget ‘tweets’ that mention your company in a positive way can also be used as testimonials for your company or service.

Outside of Ireland Twitter is updatable by SMS. Hence why tweets are 140 characters or less, the remaining 20 characters are for the username. Although tweets are short if you wish to post a link into your message Twitter will automatically generate Tinyurl to shorten the link into a useable short one that takes up few of your characters. Its not possible to edit Tweets once posted, but you can delete them.

Build Your Network
Theres a simple ‘Find People’ option that allows you to search for people you know by name on the service. Here’s a useful Twitter search option. The hashtag symbol ‘#’ is placed before useful keywords, you can search for hashtags and follow conversations focused on that keyword. More here. Promote your profile through your website, blog, e-mail list, facebook and other promotional tools. If Twitter is for business remember to engage followers and not try the hard sell with every tweet. Some useful do’s and don’ts.

What Next?
Like many social media applications, they’re free to use, the cost comes in time and effort in maintaining and building a worthwhile network that creates value for all concerned. I sometimes find the best way to understand something is to apply it to a practical situation. So here goes;

Twitter For Customer Service

“One day I tweeted about Vodafone being crap because it didn’t have free texts and they somehow deleted my number (so I couldn’t make, receive calls etc.) and that I was moving to O2…within about 5 minutes I saw I had an @ reply from VodafoneIreland saying they would resolve it” full post here (3rd post down).

Twitter connects with people in real time situations and locations

Can a bad review kill a product?

Be careful how your brand uses Twitter

That hopefully gives you an idea of how, on a large scale, Twitter can be applied in different ways. Here’s a bunch of tools and links that may also make your Twitter experience that bit better,

Useful Tools:
Twitter Grader- Grades your Twitter account based on followers and engagement, more info here

TwitterFeed – Feed your blog to Twitter

Tweetbeep - Like google alerts for Twitter, find when people mention your keywords (like your company name), you will be notified

Twitpic - to post photo’s

Geotwitter – recent public updates displayed by location

TwitterMap – allows you to search any location on a map and find recent tweets from that area

TwitterVision – brings up tweets in real time on a map

Twitter Answers – Get answers to your questions from other Twitterer’s

Loads more tools

And more

And 100 more

More Twitter Guides:
In depth Twitter Guide

Another Twitter Guide

A Twitter webinar I have already posted to this site

Random Twitter Links
The Twitter League (of Celebrity Narcissism)

Top 16 Twitter Moments

Twitter writing contest (now closed)

Twitter as a fiction medium

And here

Unusual uses for Twitter

Weird uses for Twitter

Update April 17 2009

Tweetdeck – A Twitter browser of sorts, enabling you to Twitter from your desktop

A piece in todays Irish Times about Twitter as a music resource and two applications twisten.fm ,tinysong.com and twiturm.com

How to become a ‘Super Tweeter’ in 15 miunutes a day

Twitterpreneurship, 3rd party applications making money on Twitter piece from Business Week

A very in depth blog on the various uses of Twitter

Random Things From The Week

A quick post of a few interesting things I found this week;

An overview of Skittles Twitter fiasco. Such an idea was always open to abuse, almost like kids (or MBS students!) left in a classroom, there always needs to be a little guidance.

On the subject of Twitter in marketing, here’s a webinar on the very matter

The Ideas Campaign was launched last Friday. Its Irish people putting our minds together to get out of the economic mess we’re in. The ideas will be handed over to Government officials, hopefully not to join the stack of ideas generated by the Pat Kenny radio show last month which was also handed into Government.

Is there no end to this era of nostalgia marketing? HB get in on the act, and it’s good.

Speaking of Social Networks is this the year of Social Networking for Marketer’s? A study shows most UK marketers don’t understand social networks and how they can be integrated. Perhaps an opportunity for all those graduates who spend half their day on Facebook & Bebo can be put to good use.