Now, let me pre-qualify this entire post first by saying that I think Scottish Institute of Enterprise (SIE) is a great institution, and I think they run some of the best events there are for student entrepreneurs. They do a great job. Plus, SIE intern Hilary Singer is one of our favourite bloggers.
But I have to say, when I heard about their new twitter competition, I was somewhat amused/perplexed/confused.
Well, you can win £150, and all you have to do is retweet:
Simple, right? Following the formula of SquareSpace, Moonfruit and magners and numerous other companies which have used re-tweeting competitions, SIE have harnessed the power of twitter for advertising.
For those of you that haven’t been introduced to the world of re-tweet market, here’s a brief history of Twitter’s most prolific retweeting campaign: #squarespace.
SquareSpace is a website builder (and one of the nicer ones, if I may add). They ran a campaign back in June where they gave away 30 iPhones in 30 days. All you have to do to win an iPhone (and it turns out that you actually won a gift certificate anyway), is to add the hashtag #squarespace to one of your tweets.
Now, there is an on-going discussion about whether these campaigns can work to harm twitter, rather than enhance them because it adds spam into everyone’s lifestream (unless you don’t want to win an iPhone or a MacBook). By doing so, it will make twitter more spammed filled and in return make people switch off twitter.
I understand why these companies do it. Running a campaign like this is relatively cheap compared to hiring an advertising consultancy. Plus, when squarespace did it, it was clever and innovative. They should be given a pat on the back for coming up with it. But it has been so successful that if every company did it, twitter would just be one big spam-fest. Much like the email before Gmail.
But SIE – why did you jump on the bandwagon? I get that you’re engaging with twitter, but this campaign sounds like the most un-innovative campaign for an organisation known for its novelty. Retweeting a single statement and that’s it? Apart from making more spam, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe if it was:
@ _sie_ “I’m an Entrepreneur” because: [insert some entrepreneurial idea/thing/action that you did]
@ _sie_ “I’m an Entrepreneur” and I am inspired by [some other entrepreneur on twitter] for [reason]
Then that might be remotely more informative, or find other student entrepreneurs to follow, or funny to read. Instead, we just got plain old retweeting. So I’m sorry SIE, this twitter competition just doesn’t cut it. It’s not innovative like I expected you to be.
In fact, I don’t even know how you’re going to select your winner. To demonstrate the mindlessness and general pointlessness of retweeting competitions in general, I’ve set up a new account called @anticompetition – where I will repeatedly spam all retweeting competitions by scheduling automatic retweets every day. And just in case I win the SIE contest, don’t worry, the money will get donated straight to charity.