Buzzers tweet for money in Indonesia

2013-08-23 07:35
Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Twitter. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jakarta - In Indonesia's capital Jakarta, a buzzer is not an alarm or a bell, but someone with a Twitter account and more than 2 000 followers who is paid to tweet.

Jakarta is the world's tweet capital and advertisers eager to reach the under-30 crowd are paying popular Twitter users to spread their word through social media, starting at about $21 per tweet.

While celebrity endorsements via Twitter are common worldwide, Indonesia is unusual because advertisers are paying the Average Joes too.

These Twitter "buzzers" send short messages promoting brands or products to their followers, usually during rush hour, 07:00 to 10:00 and 16:00 to 20:00, when Jakarta's notorious traffic jams create a captive audience with time to scan their mobile phones.

Jakarta has more Twitter users than any other city in the world, according to Semiocast, a social media market researcher, and Indonesia is home to the world's fourth-largest population, with half the people under 30. All ingredients for a social media marketer's dream.

Special interest


"Indonesians love to chat. We love to share. We are community driven as a culture. For us it's very easy to adopt social media because it is a channel through which we can express our opinions," said Nanda Ivens, chief operating officer at XM Gravity Indonesia, a digital marketing unit of London-listed advertising giant WPP Group.

For advertisers, using Twitter buzzers is a way to personalise the pitch, connecting someone who may have a special interest in a product with like-minded potential customers. A local photography buff, for example, would be a good target for a camera company.

An effective social media campaign will generate real conversations and genuine endorsements, said Thomas Crampton, Hong Kong-based social media director at advertising firm Ogilvy. But one issue with paid buzzers is that they may be seen as endorsing something only for the money.

"It's not going to be transparent to the people reading the Twitter feed whether they're being paid, and that's not very honest," said Crampton.

"The followers will see that this guy is for sale. It's really like talking to a friend. If your friend is being paid to tell you something then A, you wouldn't consider that person your friend and B, you're not going to believe them."

PT Nestlé Indonesia, a unit of global food company Nestlé SA , counts teenage pop singer Raisa (@raisa6690) and actor Nicholas Saputra (@nicsap) among its brand ambassadors.

They recently tweeted their experiences at a large Sumatra coffee plantation in a campaign supported by hired buzzers who were retweeting the celebrities' comments and other sponsored messages from the company.

Measurement


The challenge is measuring success.

"We do have quantitative measurement, which is the number of followers, the number of likes and the number of clicks," said Patrick Stillhart, head of the coffee business at PT Nestlé Indonesia. "But how do we relate that to brands and sales? There's left a question mark."

Stillhart said the company uses social media for more than a dozen brands and about 15% of its advertising spending goes to digital media. Apart from Nestlé, competitor Unilever Indonesia also followed similar path for their products.

Sometimes things go wrong.

Prabowo (@bowdat), 33, who quit his day job two years ago to scout for buzzers, recalled one cautionary tale about tweets meant to promote an Android product that were sent through a rival BlackBerry or iPhone device. Followers could see the gaffe because tweets often include an automatic tag indicating how the message was posted.

Stand-up comedian Ernest Prakasa (@ernestprakasa) fell afoul of the "twitterverse" in 2012 while promoting the Mini Cooper, a popular car made by BMW Group.

"There was a viral video. The idea was, I had to pretend to be locked in a container for several hours and then I escaped with the car. I was asked to act as if I was captured," said the 30-year-old, who charges advertisers 7 million rupiah ($670) for 10 tweets.

Some of his friends didn't realise it was an act, and began retweeting he had been kidnapped. They were furious when told it was an advertising gimmick.

"I was cursed at, accused of only trying to create a sensation. I had around 15 000 followers so I didn't think it could become big. But I also learned that whenever this sort of fiasco happens, stay silent. It won't last more than two days. Something new will come along and people will forget anyway."

Read more on:    twitter  |  social networks  |  e-commerce
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.