News / Economy

In Indonesia, 'Buzzers' Not Heard but Tweet for Money

Social media strategists work to prepare a campaign through Twitter at an advertising agency in Jakarta, March 26, 2013.
Social media strategists work to prepare a campaign through Twitter at an advertising agency in Jakarta, March 26, 2013.
Reuters
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, 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m., 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.
 
Nanda Ivens, COO at XM Gravity Indonesia, speaks during an interview at his office in Jakarta, March 26, 2013.Nanda Ivens, COO at XM Gravity Indonesia, speaks during an interview at his office in Jakarta, March 26, 2013.
x
Nanda Ivens, COO at XM Gravity Indonesia, speaks during an interview at his office in Jakarta, March 26, 2013.
Nanda Ivens, COO at XM Gravity Indonesia, speaks during an interview at his office in Jakarta, March 26, 2013.
“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 personalize 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.”
 
Measuring Success
 
PT Nestle Indonesia, a unit of global food company Nestle SA , counts teenage pop singer Raisa (zraisa6690) and heartthrob actor Nicholas Saputra (znicsap) 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.
 
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 Nestle 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 percent of its advertising spending goes to digital media. Apart from Nestle, competitor Unilever Indonesia also followed similar path for their products.
 
Sometimes things go wrong.
 
Prabowo (zbowdat), 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 (zernestprakasa) fell afoul of the “twitterverse” last year 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 realize 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.”

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.