How using twitter could harm your brand

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Those of you may or may not have seen many references to random words such as “MoonFruit” and Mpora on twitter over the last few months. Let me just explain to those of you who are not so up-to-date with these seemingly meaningless phrases what exactly they are all about.

Since twitter has been snowballing in popularity more brands are quickly diving into the “twitter barrel” in hope for some kind of brand value to pour out. Lots of businesses are “doing twitter” just because someone sitting in a nice empty office at a top of a tall building says” it’s what everyone else is doing, why aren’t I?” I won’t get sidetracked and explain what I think a brand should do on twitter but I’ll quickly explain how “MoonFruit” and “Mpora” have influenced twitter in a major way.

Essentially MoonFruit and Mpora are both brands, they both came up with a simple idea to attract people to start tweeting (or posting) about their brand, in particular – their competition give-away. MoonFruit started first giving away a free Macbook Pro every day for 7 days straight, the rules and method of deployment were simple – twitter about the brand and include the tag #moonfruit. Everyday a winner would be selected at random from, method unknown, but probably looking through the twitter search engine somehow.   Being the first major contest like this to actually gather pace was probably down to the ease of entering, simply click on a button and you’ve entered, of course as well as notifying all your fellow friends about MoonFruit too.

MoonFruit got very big very quickly and actually topped the twitter trends for a while (even when Michael Jackson had recently died), however before the end of the competition the phrase #moonfruit was apparently removed by twitter or somehow sandboxed. Now although the competition was very popular the chance that they will ever be able to reach the top trends again looks unlikely, but like many I now know of the brand MoonFruit, so kudos.

Now my second case study is for a brand called Mpora who used the same strategy, I of course got hooked like many others by the chance to win, yet again, another Macbook Pro. However Mpora used a much more aggressive approach to the promotion which in my personal opinion has harmed their brand.

So, what did they do? In my eyes they got greedy, they started the competition like MoonFruit but quickly introduced the rule “more tweets gives you more chances to win”. They notified the winners at 5pm UK time every day, for the hours leading up to that point – Mpora would establish themselves in the top 10 most popular trends. However, like many I started getting minute by minute updates from Mpora themselves, pushing just about anything on their site to get as much traffic as possible. Very soon my twitter looked like the screenshot below:

twitter-mpora

The last thing I want in my twitter feed is for someone or some business to start spamming their services at me. So anyway, why has this harmed the brand? Well I for one got very bored, very quickly of seeing #mpora popping up everywhere – and although judging by traffic estimates from Alexa and Compete their campaign seems to have been a success. I wonder how many other people out there like me who quickly stopped following the brand during the competition and now consider them to be something to avoid in the future – food for thought.

The graph below shows an increase in traffic rankings in alexa while the competition was running:

alexa-mpora

The graph below clearly shows that the term #mpora was only popular at times near the result of the winners:

mpora-trend

So no doubt there will have been some traffic being sent to both these sites but if brands continue to use such tactics to engage potential customers and increase brand visibility only bad things can happen (i.e. spam association).





Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.

3 Comments

  1. Not sure I get the premise here Matt, the conversation on twitter between Mpora and our followers has increase massively. In fact during the competition when we stopped sending out content links for our followers we got a lot of comments that we were too quiet… cannot please everyone I guess.

    The thing with Twitter is that no one forces anyone to follow us… so you are free to stop seeing tweets at any time. During the campaign i also followed Mpora and didnt get annoyed with tweets from Mpora as they were mixed in with all of the other interesting content from the other people i follow. if however i was only following 3 people then it may seem a lot… but thata the nature of twitter…

  2. Great article. I too noticed the Moonfruit promotion and therefore I am aware of the name. I do not however know what they provide on their site, and have not yet been tempted enough to look. From my experience these competitions attract ‘prize pigs’ who will provide a spike, but sadly will leave as quickly as they came. Lots of brands are doing great work on Twitter: Innocent Smoothies, Carmony.co.uk, Amazon.com, Zappos, and 4homes. Lots of targeted content and less spam

  3. Pingback: HOW TO: Create Trending Topics and Success Stories Over Twitter | Thoughtpick Blog

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