On Friday, 29th of April – Etisalat Misr announced a competition directed to Twitter users, the rules were very simple – use the #moretolife hashtag as much as you can “without SPAM” and the person with the most number of tweets by 5:00pm May 11th will be the winner.
As a social media strategist, I decided to enter this competition as a field experiment and address 2 issues, the competition itself, and the madness of Twitter-scape.
1) Choice of the #moretolife hashtag
Any competition should have a goal, usually this goal mainly benefits the owner (the brand) in some way and adds some value to the community through awareness, culture, charity, cause …etc. in Etisalat’s case, this could have been true if the campaign was mentioning @EtisalatMisr instead of the slogan #moretolife so as to increase followers or brand awareness, or they could have launched a parallel campaign offline using traditional media, and used a hashtag to promote this campaign.
However, the choice of #moretolife added no value to anyone, it didn’t relate directly to the brand, it didn’t increase awareness, and there was no rule to use the hashtag in a creative way so as to promote the Etisalat slogan – simply it was a meaningless choice.
2) Competition Duration
Have this type of competition over an extended period of time, which is 2 weeks only promotes SPAM, the top 10 were determined from the first few hours, and extending the competition more than 2 days only converted it into a game of musical chairs were the top 10 are exchanging ranks over the course of the day.
3) The Rules
One of the rules was that Repeatedly using, and thus abusing, the #moretolife hashtag will be considered SPAM, well almost 940 tweeps joined in on the competition generating around 45000 tweets within the first 5 days, the top 10 alone (1%) generated 64% of the tweets (almost 26,000 tweets) – check the chart below:
The question is how can (on average) a tweet every 3min not be considered as “Repeatedly using…”? if we take the top 3 alone, they are tweeting every 1 or 2min – yet they are legitimate contestants who are considered by Etisalat as not abusing or spamming.
Another strange rule was that a contestant will be considered SPAMming if and when the #moretolife hashtag in used in blank, empty, meaningless tweets, regardless of the confusion of trying to understand the difference between blank and empty, what is the definition of meaningless? see the below random sample of tweets from the top 5 contestants (I removed the account names for anonymousness):
If Etisalat had another idea for meaningless, they really had to give us examples! – and do they expect to monitor almost 10,000 tweets per day to filter out meaningless tweets anyway?
Only one main issue remains, the legitimacy of the competition itself – according to Twitter – a person is considered to spam If you post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #!
Now, enough said about the competition, all the above is mostly straight forward logic to anyone using Twitter, the part that really surprised me was the reaction from twitter-scape, I was expecting a mass unfollow trend, mostly throughout the duration of the competition – which did happen, but what I never expected at all, was the even greater addition of new followers – I started out with only 690 followers on Friday April 29th, 5 days later I was 773 followers strong, taking into consideration that I almost lost 100 followers during the same time-period, that’s a really remarkable phenomena!
The above chart shows the sudden jump in number of followers towards the right end of the chart, which is when I started to Tweet every 2min or so, another jump was in my Klout score (klout.com), which is a measurement of my overall online influence, it too jumped suddenly once I started flooding my timeline with tweets, see below:
So the question I would ask now: is the rate of gaining new followers directly proportional to the tweet rate? I kept the type of tweets mostly the same before and after engaging into the competition, yes I lost some followers, but I gained almost double the number I lost.
The conclusion I reached is that a steady and constant flow of tweets throughout the day is a guaranteed formula for gaining a good number of followers, of course 2min between tweets is extreme, but I would recommend around 10~20min between tweets (100~140 tweets daily) as a good rate.
I also highly recommend reading the post Social Media Use or Abuse? by Doha Shawky which is also related to the same topic. – by the way, I’m stopping my participation in the competition, not because I’m losing, I’m actually in the top 5 since the start, and stopped when I was in 3rd place but because this is Twitter Madness 🙂