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“Some people thought we were stupid” – Microsoft Mobile’s Selena Harrington on Apple Live hijack and reactive content

“If you can come up with reactive content in one hour, that’s brilliant, four hours is good...in 24 hours we’ve missed it,” stated Selena Harrington, Microsoft Mobile’s head of digital marketing, as she spoke at Social Media Week London.

Discussing connecting to audiences in real time on Twitter, she offered the “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” tweet from Nokia – now owned by Microsoft – as one of the best examples.

Having driven over 40,000 organic retweets, Harrington revealed the unplanned tweet was designed by Nokia’s community creative after hours as a result of Apple announcing coloured iPhones.

However, when Nokia tried a similar tact with Samsung, as both companies announced tablets on the same day, it did not go as well, receiving only 135 retweets. “We didn’t manage to make lightning strike twice,” Harrington admitted.

The issue with using social in such a way is how to measure success.

“A lot of people struggle with what we should do to measure engagement – including us”, she said, adding that it was shares and engagements that were measured by Microsoft Mobile for Nokia.

But shares sometimes don’t show the full story, as Harrington discovered in Nokia’s Valentine’s Day campaign. The branded content campaign, which Nokia spent a few thousand pounds on, saw messages such as “I feel so empty without you” alongside a near-empty phone battery and “I’m getting strong signals” with a Wi-Fi signal button.

The campaign led to 1,500 interactions and 2.800 engagements, but the shares were felt to be less than they should have been.

“A lot of people shared it by putting a friend’s name in front of it. On Facebook, this isn’t counted as a share – though I think it should be. For us, shares are one of the biggest drivers, but if you’re only thinking about shares, you’re missing other things.”

One campaign from Nokia that evoked a mixed reaction was when it bought #LoveMyLumia as a sponsored trend on the day Apple announced the imminent release of the iPhone6 and the Apple Watch.

“Some people thought we were stupid for doing this, others thought we were geniuses,” said Harrington.

She revealed that 15 per cent of interactions with the #LoveMyLovia tag were negative, with 43 per cent positive and 42 per cent neutral.

What was more important for this and other campaigns, she explained, was to raise awareness and get people talking about the brand.

When it comes to creating campaigns, her main piece of advice was “stick to your guns”, adding that it is important to always have a budget ready to roll in case a good reactive opportunity appeared.

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