Like Farming & Fan Fishing

23 Dec

Like Farming & Fan Fishing, this practice is quite common around the world, especially in the United States. And just as I thought everybody knew, I see friends of mine who are actually veterans in social media fall for these cheap sleazy tricks.

So let me explain what these Like Farming/Fan Fishing is and what is their modus operandi. Like the name suggests, the intention of these posts is to gain as much page likes through viral-able contents that usually promises insane good-to-be-true incentives, prizes or sometimes asks people to support a cause (which mostly involves a tear-jerking story or a ploy to get you curious).

The biggest Like Farming are in the auto industry. Why? Well, its because: a.They can afford to buy the finished product, b.The product it represents will make people go nuts if they are told that they could get for free, and c.Because the car industry are mostly idiots when it comes to social media.

rangeroverfarmSo here is a recent sample on the left.

A page called Range Rover 4×4 is offering 2 Range Rovers for the first time ever (shocking) on facebook by simply liking the page, liking the content, commenting and sharing on your wall. Now, why the f@#$ would a brand like Range Rover do that? A brand that has a reputation and image to uphold will just randomly give away their car to anyone where it will most likely land in the hands of someone that does not fit their target market requirements? Making it (the campaign) useless to use as future advertising tool.

Of course, this will go viral. People will want that car and follow the steps blindly, liking the page, sharing the contents, etc. And their friends, well, its human nature to not pass up a freebie opportunity, they’ll do the same thing and before you know it its viral and they’ll have hundreds thousands of likes.

To make it convenient, the winner will be notified on facebook, directly through personal message. For seasoned social media admins alike, they know that product pages cannot message other facebook users directly. This should be a big fishy clue for many, but for the general public, it seems legitimate.

Now, what is the MO; modus operandi or motive behind these Like Farming/Fan Fishing. Obviously its to get as much Like/Fans on a facebook page as it possibly can. The more fans it generate, the higher it will sell. The more engagement/comment/like it gets on its posts, the less facebook’s bots will think its a fake account. Yes, those steps supports this, and most people fall for it and does it blindingly. Well greed is a powerful thing.

Now then, you are probably thinking; “what good is a page that has a brand’s name but doesn’t belong to the brand? The brand already has a facebook page, so why bother?”

Well, when it comes to cars, social media and the vastness of the USA, most marketing people in the automotive industry has been to one of those seminars where they are preached about social media, and those guys are just plain blind about it. In the US, there are so many car dealerships that represents a brand and would like to also own a social media. So, the owner of that page can simply find the nearest Range Rover dealership with no social media and sell them a page that has hundreds and thousands of fans. A second option is to sell that page to an agency that represents a dealership or maybe even the big brand itself. By a simple flip of acknowledging the main page and registering it under one user of the same social media, you can actually combine the page and move those new fans into the existing social media.

There are other methods of what they sell these pages for, such as spamming, hacking, etc. Since you are a fan, after a few months they can either spam you with contents, or even trick you to download stuff and telling you that you have won something. Its devious, and my advice is to dislike those pages.

Like Farming & Fan Fishing have shown to have big disadvantages, such as the long dormant inactive fans who liked once, engage once and forget. These fans will be fans who are counted as has no interest and won’t likely receive any updates unless its a paid one. GM is such a company that found out about this the hard way, accumulating large number of fans and later found it expensive to activate them as most have been dormant fans on facebook.

So, if you should find some posts shared by anyone thats too good to be true with only so little effort, then its probably a Like Farm or Fan Fishing scheme.


Never Forget Your Roots

21 Dec


Wearing the colour of the senate, today we graduated 72 students. Smiles were all around, a sense of pride, achievement, and big hope. Tomorrow for most will be the start of their new chapter: Life.

When most went home to celebrate the day with friends and family, a group of graduates talked with me over lunch about whats next. How to get ahead and what will make them find success.

I told them to look at each other. We humans are a social bunch. We grow and measured by the company we keep and those who surrounds us.

Imagine living in a neighbourhood where everyone has nice houses, a single bad unkept house that stinks and a sore to see will lower the housing value of the beautiful homes around it. Should one of your friend becomes a failure, your value will decrease as you are part of the same group. Yes, the world is judgmental, stereotyping and bitter.

When you find work and you are doing your best, better than anyone, but your peers are doing bad work, it will hurt your reputation as you belong in the same group. You wont reach your goals and the groups bad name will reflect on you.

You see, you need others in order to succeed, you should never forget your roots, never leave a man or woman behind.

When a friend needs work, you help them by giving him leads, when co-workers do bad work you should help him or her be more effective. Their success will reflect on you. A great leader shares his or her knowledge to others, share their time, help others. Because in order to succeed, most times you will need the help of others, and what kind of help would you get if the ones that can help is not competent enough to help you.

You need people to be your root, your foundation to grow. If your roots are weak, then it will be a liability and a weakness. You can either hurt yourself by letting that root go or nourish it with your help so that it can grow stronger. You may think that big corporations just replace bad employees with good ones, but in the micro management level, you don’t get to be so lucky. Replacing a team member can be a tedious job and even hurt others as removing someone will not get you a replacement as soon as you want.

So rather than complaining about a co-worker who you think is incompetent, have you considered helping them be competent? It is after all the basic responsibility of being a manager, you make sure your team functions the way you want them to be, and most of the times you have to work with what you have.

Shortstop: Digital Evolution.

28 Nov

Its funny how things fast things evolve on digital. The days of chat rooms and mailing list groups are mostly over. Internet brought connectivity to the whole world, people enthusiastic to connect with others in God knows where part of the world, it was the new frontier. Then social media came along and brought not just connectivity, but also narcissism and fame. Then social media got more private, and now personal chat apps are coming back. What was once the brave new world just got more personal.

I wonder where this path will lead us in 2015. What digital evolution will arise?

Cadillac’s Rich Guy vs Ford’s Crazy Eco Entrepreneur

30 Mar

If you’ve read Guy Kawasaki’s “How To Drive Your Competitor Crazy”, well this is text book. The Cadillac brand is known for its luxurious automobiles, and when launching its electric hybrid the ELR, they went for the all American pride ego of an old 80s American dream persona. A rich man portrayed by actor Neil McDonough emphasizes on why Americans work hard than European or Asians and proud of it. It lifted and played on the American ego, defining that he worked hard to be where he is and got what he deserves.

Cadillac Ford

Did the ad work? Well yes as it represents an American Dream stereotype niche that is the target market of Cadillac, however America is a melting pot of cultures and the American Dream is sadly just a dream for most. It is marked as an over boastful, arrogant and tasteless ads to most who really are not in the Cadillac target market, and this is where our story starts. While the Cadillac ads gain praises in the upper class and non target markets in the American Midwest and South, other parts of the country especially the more urban critical and eco aware populous who mostly reside in the coastal part of the country (NY, Washington, San Fransisco, etc), finds it repulsive. Car manufacturer Ford finds this as opportunity to launch its Electric Vehicle the Ford C-Max Energi. Ford made a contrast replica of Cadillac’s ad, and in that contrast was what Ford wanted to grab as its target market for its Electric car consumers: hard working Americans who are aware of its surroundings and cares enough to make a difference. They cast a spunky urban farming entrepreneur and made something that not just Americans can relate to. I’ll just let you see the ad right away to make a comparison and maybe you’ll have your own preference to which ad you prefer and maybe defy my words above, I’d be interested in what you have to say.

Arby’s, You’re Doing it Right!

4 Mar

The Mountain Hat

It started with a Viviene Westwood hat that looked like the 80’s Buffalo Girls hat where Pharrel Williams thought would be cool and a homage to hip hop to use it as one of his fashion style. When the Grammys took place, a photo of Pharrell wearing the hat caught the eye of the Arby’s social media team and they punned at  the singer with a Zing on twitter: “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?”

Hat AuctionThe tweet had over 65.000 retweets and a reply from Pharrell, it was social media timing at its best. However, it ain’t over yet. A few days later Pharrell decided to auction the hat he wore to the Grammys for a charity he is supporting; the From One Hand To Another charity that helps teach people to code.

The auction took place on E-Bay and after 10 days of bidding, the hat sold for US$44.100 on March 2nd. Pharrell tweeted his gratitude to the bidder who bought the hat and guess who bought it? Yup, it was Arby’s.

Not only did they got something out of the tweet such as earned media and not to mention one hell of a good press, but it would’ve took a great effort to make corporate go ahead with bidding a hat. The result may not be as big as the Grammys, but its EPIC in my book. Arby’s social media showed follow through and the importance of not just those short term tweet glory, but the long term ones as this epic achievements to me is more memorable than the tweet they made at the Grammys.

My hats off to you Arby’s social media team, and may your posts be forever HAPPY.

Auction Tweet

Identifying Your Social Media Audience

10 Jan

The beauty of digital is that everything can be counted and measured. You can see how much people love or hate something, see the percentage of reactions to posts and basically setup measuring to any data you want captured. With that in mind it really blows my mind when I come across brand social media who cannot communicate effectively with its audience.

talkingtoselfI was recently invited by a hotel chain who were frustrated with their social media agency who never seem to be able to connect with their audience. Sure they bring in the number of fans, but the number of conversations, impressions are low, non-existent to be more precise. You don’t need to have a degree in communications to see whats wrong here. They represent these beautiful hotels and the topic they regularly posts are about how beautiful the sites, rooms, service and food of other hotels in the world. They don’t even bother to ask or include the audience in their conversations.

Some other social media I’ve found tried to hard at being a super hero with contents catering to everyone. You can see contents for kids, teenagers, and adults in one social media in one whole day. People are literally confused who you are trying to talk to. Just because the social media is for a company that cater all ages, lets say a mall, you don’t have to talk to everyone, you need to talk to the people that matter, that can influence others and are decision makers.

Insights are Important

Yes, those sites that offer insights services are actually important. They can show you who follows you, their age groups, which topics are popular, and what day of the week or time of day they like to interact with you. From these information you should be able to begin to describe what your audience are like. You can be more advance by A-B testing posts and measure their sentiments, create surveys or activations that lures user involvements.

Don’t forget to consider what your competition is doing. Why go head to head with a competitor who’s doing the same thing first or have better funding. For instance, a competing motorcycle company is using communities to be part of a testimonial video series published weekly on their social media. Using communities in similar way is just a bad move, try getting community members to spend a day with a motoGP racer and see him in action. Record their faces and testimonial. There is more than one way to break an egg, be creative. So be sure to have insights on your competition by running a competitive review at least once a month.

Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time. ~ Sun Tzu

Case Study

After a month on social media, after market automotive parts producer Aspira has connected to a little over 10,000 fans on facebook and 2000 followers on twitter through an integrated campaign. We took another month to connect and engage the fans and followers through dishing out random posts that are according to the brand’s target market. We look at what post get the most likes, what post get the best shares, and what posts get them to comment. We also looked at the type of comment they make.

We find that our audience likes talking about automotive contents that relate to what they face each day: commuting, traffic jams, people who break traffic laws, etc. They love to comment on these topics both good and bad. The important thing is that it starts conversations with themselves.

Through these insights, we know that creating a post about the daily commuting life is easy, but we want something they can relate and share, even laugh at themselves. We wanted to tell a story, but we don’t want a long boring post. So we decided to take on comic strips as they can be sarcastic, funny, and have an emotional value all together.

We recruited comic artist Haryadhi Gee known for his comic strips KOSTUM to be part of the Komik Jalanan (street comic) project and deliver a satire of everyday life of motorcyclist in Indonesia. With a comic every 2 weeks, we started our first comic post on September 23rd 2013, and it was a big hit. We had 12x the impression, 5x more likes and share in the first day than other any other posts. The snowball grows bigger as we hit 33k impression in one day on the 5th issue, and the likes and shares have quadrupled from the first issue.

Kerukunan KeluargaThis is Busway

GPS AkheratNeandhertal

Listening to what your audience is like pays off, and in more ways than others. People are begining to download and share the comic on other social networks which Aspira has no investments in. Our team have found them shared on Path, Line, Kakao Talk, Blackberry Messenger groups, Whatsapp, even joke sites like and ( like sites). The comic went viral because its the content that the audience can relate to. With the brand on the comic, it was a bonus.

So start paying attention to your audience, because you are not talking to yourself. Your audience will leave you if your content can’t relate to what they expect of your brand.

How Much Fans is Enough?

25 Sep

What is this funny looking formula you may ask? Well its still a hypothesis I’m working on. Its dedicated to the dreaded question asked by clients to social media strategists about how much fans should I have on Facebook to be adequate.

Its my fault really. I was asking for it.

I like clients that understands how social media works and how to generate leads or even sales from it through the right conversation and guerrilla tactics. How to generate fans from targeted ads, getting the message across through reach marketing, influencing the friends and friends of fans, and optimizing posts for great impression performance. So I taught them about it.

Understanding all that, they’ll surely end up asking: “So how much fan do I need to get my message across to everyone?”

When you are able to optimize your message, boost it to reach your fan’s friend of friend, you do come to a conclusion that you don’t need to have all the fans in the world. So how much is enough or how much fan should I least have? Thats a hard question to answer. Not saying that its  impossible to answer, but there is no absolute number you can pull out of a hat, and you need to be ready to back that up son.

So I started googling for answers and there was none.  So I guess I’ll just make one. Started researching about Frigyes Karinthy’s “six degrees of seperation” theory, Robin Dunbar’s hypothesis about how a human can only have a maximum of 150 close friends at one time, to Facebook’s guidelines. and collaborative cheat sheets

Through a dozen theory and hypothesis I started to piece my own hypothesis:

  1. Those considered potential fans should be those that fit the product/brand’s target market; age, gender, interests, etc.
  2. Individual reach is measured by its closest friends, meaning that each users is only accounted for 150 of their friends, even though they have more than that number.
  3. The number of reach per individual fan is 3, as it is the number you can effectively reach friends of friends of fans on facebook marketing.
  4. Possibility of overlapping friends is taken out of the equation as in social media, the more you receive a story from friends, the higher the probability of friends trusting that information.
  5. Scores should be evaluated at least once every year to adjust to new data and changes.

So to determine the number of User Population (U.Pop), we determine the number of active facebook users in a specific country or area, and calculate that with the targeting data to come with a result. So lets say we’re targetting all women in Indonesia between the age of 25-34, that would be (52.700.000 x 47%) x 68% = 16.842.920

So roughly there are almost 17 million Indonesian women aged between 25-34 who have facebook accounts. You can add other specific variables like interests to the equation.

Sample Calculation

The number of U.Pop is then divided by the individual reach. So its 150 (close friends) x 3 (reach through boost). Why 150? Well you know how facebook only shows updates on the home timeline from friends you have good interactions with, CMIIW, well they didn’t release any data on how many friends updates they show to you. Manually counting from my own home timeline scrolling down and getting unique users updates I receive from the past 5 days, I counted 129 unique accounts. So Robin Dunbar’s theory should fit here, after all Path is using it.

So, 16.842.920 divided by 450 equals 37,429, meaning that this year the brand should at least gain that much fan, and recalculate those numbers again in the next quarter to new data.

As I have said before, this is a hypothesis. Its not exact or proven science. Its open to testing, ridicule, dispute, modifications and discussions. Feel free to voice what you think on the comment section below.

Nice Theory