Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. These are phenomena that have started attracting the marketing departments of Czech companies. These social newtworking sites still have unused advertising potential. “It’s a relatively new tool for building a trademark. When I see that my friend is a fan of a company, I immediately gain a more positive attitude to it,” said David Šimák from the consulting company Idealisti. He added that campaigns in social networks are and will be at least for some time only an additional component of an advertising mix.
Initial timidity is disappearing
Companies have been entering the sphere of social networks only slowly. The first ones to discover the new world were music promoters, internet shops, dating portals and other online services. US President Barack Obama also used these networks in his presidential campaign.
“Social networks have a significant potential for growth. The traditional principle of luring people on the web through banners no longer works very well. Now you have to follow people directly into the environment they are used to,” said T-Mobile’s spokeswoman Martina Kemrová. The operator has been testing campaigns on Facebook since last Christmas. It has also tested the possibilities of the video portal YouTube. “The invested money is minimal in comparison with traditional advertising on the internet. We have invested dozens of thousands of crowns in it. However, our task of the day now is to measure the effects,” Kemrová said.
Vodafone has had a similar experience. “We have been experimenting with the majority of social networks. We even created our own blog, which has recorded half a million unique visitors since it’s been founded. Over 150,000 people have seen the instruction videos on Stream.cz,” said the operator’s spokesman Miroslav Čepický. Vodafone has been also testing Facebook at the same time. “We have, for example, organized meetings of our fans via the character of the male frog Karel from our magazine Čillichilli,” Čepický said. Telefónica O2 has tested presentation of its photographs on the photo portal Flickr and has been placing its advertising on the video portal YouTube. “We are using both, the traditional advertising and non-standard means of communication on social networks,” said O2’s spokesman Martin Žabka.
Also for example the Czech branch of Microsoft or the payment system PaySec have been considering penetrating the social networks. “We see a clear potential in them, but we have not decided yet which road to take,” said Poštovní spořitelna’s spokeswoman Denisa Salátková. Also the Czech version of YouTube has been recording new channels of Czech companies. The TV station Barrandov and One World festival have recently joined it.
It needs an idea
However, to capture attention of social networks users, companies must be active and creative. “It’s no longer enough to have a profile. It’s necessary to connect it with certain activity. Currently, we are preparing a Facebook project for the firm Popron, who wants to sell DVDs there,” said Ogilvy Interactive agency’s head Tomáš Jindříšek.
An example of an original campaign may be the project of the fast food chain Burger King, who was offering a voucher for one hamburger if Facebook users deleted ten of their friends. “The project was successful and users sacrificed 250,000 friends because of hamburgers,” Jindříšek said.
The number of Facebook users and other similar portals is still growing in the Czech Republic. According to a survey by Mediaresearch, 70% of internet population over 15 years has a profile on one of the social networks. Facebook itself currently has 380,000 Czech users. The portal has more than 175 million users worldwide. “Facebook is the fastest growing social network and it keeps investing in its development. This is reflected in the comfort it’s providing for its users and advertisers,” Šimák said.
However, the use of older internet services, such as Wikipedia encyclopaedia, still has its effect, according to a study by the Sweedish agency Hallvarsson & Halvarsson. “Ninety percent of users are namely seeking the information about companies also on other than their official websites,” said the company’s analyst Marcus Eriksson adding that a post about a company in Wikipedia is advantageous also because bloggers and journalists will link to it.