Road to Brand Evangelism

Since the beginning of social media brands gradually found their way to their customers. This can be done through advertisements and/or creating their own channels and pages on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media application. We all realize that the traditional marketing approach differs from the social media approach and we probably all know a couple of examples from our Facebook News Feed proving that point. We can’t imagine a social media world without digital marketing or advertising. Or can you?

Nowadays more and more people find advertisements annoying and therefore are finding alternatives for the services they normally make use of. Two great examples of this are Spotify and Netflix. People that normally would listen to the radio now prefer Spotify, which is ad free if you buy Spotify Premium. People that always watched their favourite series on TV nowadays use Netflix. And how do people get rid of most of the advertisements on the computer? They have an ad blocker installed.

So how does this ad blocker affect advertisements? I assumed it would have a negative impact for the marketer as those people won’t be aware of the brand and therefore can’t get engaged with the brand. Instead, according to Ben Kunz it possibly is the best thing that ever happened to the ad industry. Now people have ad blockers installed, the marketer knows this person is not interested in advertisements. Therefore the marketer does not need to pay for those that block advertisements on their computer. This will result in higher returns on investments.

Brands have three main social media objectives: brand awareness, brand engagement and word of mouth marketing. In the first stage awareness is created before you are able to get engaged with a brand. And normally you are engaged with a brand before you will start talking about it with friends, assuming it is in a positive way. In case a brand succeeds in reaching these objectives there will be brand evangelism. This means that you are trying to convince your friends and family to buy products from that specific brand.

A great example of this is KLM Surprise. When you tweeted on the airport you were going to take a KLM flight, KLM Surprise would contact you and get you a personal gift. Therefore they were going through all your information on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or anything else they could find to surprise you. And because people were on the airport and had to wait for a long time, they could use this time to share their surprise with all their friends. This helped KLM succeeding with these earlier named three objectives.

On their road to brand evangelism KLM made some huge steps with KLM Surprise as this campaign became very well known. Now you are thinking of brand evangelism, do you reckon you are guilty of it? Are there certain brands that absolutely stand out for you? And did you advice people you know to buy their products?


Hoffman, D. L., and Fodor, M. 2010. Can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing? MIT Sloan Management Review 52(1) 41-49.
Weinberg, B. D., and Pehlivan, E. 2011. Social spending: Managing the social media mix. Business Horizons 54(3) 275–282.
Gupta, S. 2013. For mobile devices, think apps, not ads. Harvard Business Review 91(3) 71-75.
Kunz, B. (2015) Ad blocking may save digital marketing from itself’,, 16 September 2015.
Low, K. (2014) ‘The Importance of User Experience for Digital Marketing: 5 Key Tips’,, 16 September 2015.


Facebook-Filled Bags of Pepernoten

Every year from September until December cookie companies produce a special festive type of biscuit called ‘pepernoten’. This is because of  a Dutch holiday called Sinterklaas (ST. Nicholas). Pepernoten doesn’t really have an international term, the term that comes closest is ‘gingerbread cookies’. Pepernoten come in all kind of flavours, from plain pepernoten to a wide range of chocolate covered pepernoten (i.e. dark chocolate, milk chocolate & white chocolate covered pepernoten) and there are even more flavours.

You might start to wonder where I’m going with this, and what this has to do with Social Media, well, you’re going to find out.

A Dutch company called  ‘Bolletje’ is a well-known cookie factory that also bakes pepernoten. At Bolletje one can buy a bag of just plain pepernoten, or a bag of a mix of the chocolate ones (i.e. dark, milk & white chocolate pepernoten combined) or even bags with truffle flavoured pepernoten. In my family, everyone prefers the white chocolate covered pepernoten over all the other flavours. Too bad for us, because it is not possible to ‘just’ buy a bag of white chocolate covered pepernoten, they’re always mixed together with the milk and dark chocolate ones.

Picture 1 - White chocolate covered pepernoten by Bolletje

Picture 1 – White chocolate covered pepernoten by Bolletje

Well, maybe the wait is finally over because last week, two Dutch Bolletje ‘fans’ asked Bolletje, via Facebook, if they could start producing bags of only white chocolate covered pepernoten. Bolletje replied saying that they could start producing bags of only white chocolate covered pepernoten, but they’d only do it if there’d be sufficient support, say something like 200.000 likes.

Just like the ‘fly2Miami’ action, the ‘bags of white chocolate covered pepernoten’ campaign started. The two fans are trying to get the total amount of likes on the Facebook post in picture 2 up to 200.000. If they get there, Bolletje promised to produce the bags.

Picture 2 - The Facebook post of one of the fans

Picture 2 – The Facebook post of one of the fans

I understand that Bolletje has to have sufficient consumers willing to buy the bags of only white chocolate covered pepernoten to make it profitable, but is liking a Facebook post the same as saying that one will buy the white chocolate only bags? Is Bolletje taking a risk producing the bags (if the post gets enough likes), or will this implantation create a massive profit increase? Do you think that this strategy would be as effective on other social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram?

If you ask me, I think this campaign will be beneficial for Bolletje. If one looks, for example, at other posts on Facebook by Bolletje, they usually get a few hundred likes, but this post has already gotten over 135.000 likes. So by this campaign, Bolletje got as wider audience-range, and we might finally get bags of white chocolate covered pepernoten by Bolletje!! Every like gets the fans closer to the bags of white chocolate covered pepernoten, everyone can make a difference so click here and raise the amount of likes ;)!


Karen- the app that psychologically profiles you

Karen is a life coach, a digital friend that lives in a smartphone. You can interact with her via an app which is free and can be easily downloaded from your App store. She – and the software – was designed by Blast Theory, a group of British artists who has made major innovations in the use of technology creating interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet.

karen picture

From the first ‘appointment’ with Karen, you immediately understand how friendly she is with you (maybe too friendly) and how willing she is to help you work though a few things in your life. As you begin, she – the lead character, the app, the algorithm, not sure how to define her- asks you some personal questions like: “What do you value most in this moment of your life?”, “Do you think positive even if you are feeling down?”. When you answer, it soon becomes clear that she is profiling you and trying to advise you based on what you just told her. Of course, it’s up to you how open and honest to be with her. She will clearly state that she won’t lie to you and she hopes you’ll do the same.

She is in a transition moment in her life as she’s recently ended a long term relationship and sooner or later it will be your time to act as her life coach. As time passes by, she starts to know things about you that she didn’t hear from you. How is that possible? All her questions come from psychological profiling questionnaires on which the Blast theory team has worked extensively with researchers including Geraldine Nichols, Professor Nina Reynolds and Dr Kelly Page.

karen pic

Users trust the app and tell Karen what she wants to know. This is what we do every day when we use social network or we agree on some terms and conditions imposed by online services, often without reading them down the line. “Data belongs to the users” explains Matt, from Blast Theory group, and ,at the end of the story, you can purchase your data (WHAT?!) for 2,99 pounds and choose to leave them anonymously to the research team or to delete them. Part of the financial support for this project came from a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, which collected almost 18thousand pounds.

In this new world where technology is ever more personalized and intrusive, we give away so much information about ourselves through our mobile phones and apps without even knowing it. This project should make us think about the privacy that we are willing to lose when we use social network.

After reading my post, will you download Karen app to discover how much personal information you are willing to share on the web? How do you see the fact that you have to buy your own data?

Where social media meets philosophy: does the enormous power of social media and its impact on users come from the inherent curiosity of people to meet with other people and form artificial communities? Or does this impact stem from a certain degree of loneliness and isolation that the modern human has imposed himself, while creating the industrial environment that will serve from now on as his home?


Terrorism using Social Media

Social media is often used by companies for adverting or sharing new information with the world. It gives companies access to the global world, instead of the local areas. The global accessibility of social media van be seen as a big advantage, but also as a disadvantage. What to think about terrorism, which uses social media platform in order to share their thoughts about the world.

The use of social media by terrorists was also recognized by Robert Hannigan, the head of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarter). He gave a several examples which were used by terrorists in order to spread their ideas or covering their identities. Terrorists now have access to encryption tools, which they use to cover their identities.

Isis uses many social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. They share their ideas and even videos of prisoners who are getting tortured or killed. Even blocking these terrorists account does not help, because Isis uses thousands accounts in order to be always online and active on social media. This problem has even been on the CNN News where they have discussed about Twitter which has been used multiple times by terrorist to spread their message.


Even Al-Qaeda is using social media platforms in order to influence other people to follow their thoughts or by sending manipulative texts or images. There is a slight different between the use of social media by Al-Qaeda and Isis. Isis has more a directive approach by even sending beheading videos to the world.

The use of social media as a marketing tool for companies and government is a well known example, but what can we do to stop or minimize the use of social media by terrorists. Only by blocking accounts of terrorist we won’t stop terrorism, because it’s easy to make another account. Should some social media platform block their platform for certain countries? Another solution could be by making some social media platforms more personal by asking for your passport numbers for example. It sounds crazy but you could minimize the use of social media by terrorism through this action. What other ideas do you have to solve or minimize this problem?


(, 04 November 2014)

Social Media Power – The HeForShe Campaign

Emma Watson, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, delivered a speech on declaring the official launch of the HeForShe Campaign at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 20, 2014. The HeForShe Campaign is led by UN Women and aims at “putting men at center of activism and dialogue to end persistent inequalities faced by women and girls around the world”.

The speech video was posted on Youtube through the HeForShe official Youtube channel. Only 4 days pass, the video already got more than 862,900 views on the channel, which means everyday the video reaches at least 200,000 people all over the world on average. What a big number! Since the video gets vrius online, other social media platforms of the HeForShe Campaign also get boosted a lot. According to the numbers sent out from Ogilvy, a famous PR agency in the world, HeForShe saw an 82% increase in Twitter followers within 24 hours of the Saturday launch, a 305% increase in Facebook likes, and a 3,500% increase in Instagram follower. It is a dramatic increase of social media attention in general on the HeForShe Campagin in such a short time period. It is also very interesting to see that all the social media platforms are quite connected in a sense that one platform’s attention can lead to another one and another one. Personally, I only found out this campaign few days ago after the Youtube video was posted. However, when I went to the HeForShe Facebook page, I found out that the page already joined Facebook since 8th March this year. In this sense, maybe Youtube Channel or video channels in general are more popular and easier to reach out audience than Facebook page?

After the HeForShe Youtube video goes virus online. More and more people, even celebrities participate in this movement. The most active platform so far is Twitter, every user can use #HeForShe to join the conversation and express their opinions on feminism. According to the blog posts from BuzzFeed, ELLE and PRNewser, celebrities such as Russell Crowe, Simon Pegg, Chris Colfer, Tom Hiddleston, Douglas Booth, Matthew Lewis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all respond to Emma’s HeForShe Campaign, which boosts the whole Movement to a new peak level. Social media and halo effect are absolutely tightly attached with each other. On the one hand, celebrities use social media to promote certain images about themselves. While on the other hand, celebrities use their personal influences based on popularity to draw more social media attentions on certain issues. In this case, the participations of celebrities including Emma herself, also contributes to the partly success of social media promotions in my opinion.

So do you think Youtube Channel is more influencial than Facebook Page somehow? Or in this case, if Emma is not a popular celebrity in the first place, maybe the HeForShe will not even popular in the first place? Whether social meida is the key to success of the HeForShe Campaign launch? Share your thoughts with me. 😀


No More Facebook Like-Gating Soon!

What does it mean – No more Facebook like-gating? Recently, Facebook just changed its platform policy to ban the practice that as known as ‘like-gating’. Here is what the policy content has been updated:

Only incentivize a person to log into your app, like your app’s Page, enter a promotion on your app’s Page, or check-in at a place. Don’t incentivize other actions. Effective November 5th, 2014, you may no longer incentivize people to like your app’s Page.

It is very obvious that Facebook no longer wants Facebook Page mangers to use any kind of promotions or giveaways in exchange of likes on their pages.

Why Facebook wants to change the situation? Why does it matter to normal Facebook users or Facebook Page managers? Here is my thoughts.

The biggest reason why Facebook wants to change the policy is because Facebook wants to improve both users’ and advertisers’ experience with Facebook. Here is the answer directly given by Facebook:

To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

I believe banning like-gating will be beneficial for both sides (users and advertisers) in the end as well. On the one hand, for a normal Facebook user, many times they will like a page in order to enter a contest, get a reward or a coupon, while how much they really like a page or a company is hard to be predicted. Moreover, many users are already complaining about they get invited for such promotions quite often on Facebook, while they feel quite annoyed. That’s exactly the problem that most Facebook page managers treat Facebook as a very commercial platform and even apply many pushy marketing strategies when they promote products or companies. On the other hand, for advertisers, banning like-gating is surely a good news, since they can get to know their target groups more accurately. Otherwise, if Page Like only based on like gating, then most of the time, those users are not highly engaged. Besides, if this policy can really improve users’ experience with Facebook. Then more people will be present online longer, which helps increase the exposure chances of advertisements on the home page in a longer term.

Now the trend is changing from like-gating to action-gating on Facebook, which requires Facebook marketers to create more high-value and audience-engaged posts online in order to attract more fans. In general, I believe this action will help Facebook have a better business model and a better user feedback.

So what do you think of this policy made by Facebook? What kinds of influences do you think this decision will bring on Facebook users/ advertisers/ Facebook marketers? Share your thoughts with me! 😀