What Digital Marketing Professionals Must Learn from the Swedish Twitter Experiment
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What Digital Marketing Professionals Must Learn from the Swedish Twitter Experiment

By Mainak Biswas November 12, 2012 - 641 views

Digital marketing is an area that must be tread carefully. There are hundreds of examples that we could give why you must put forethought into your digital marketing campaign. This time, we shall use the infamous Swedish Twitter Experiment as an example to describe why your digital marketing campaign has to be planned well and must have a degree of control.

The Sweden Twitter Experiment that Was Not

Sweden decided to let its citizens take over the official @Sweden Twitter ID for a day each, as part of a digital marketing campaign. The idea was to show the world how regular Swedes are, and how they are so interesting that investors and tourists should never miss an opportunity to consider Sweden. Their digital marketing campaign backfired.

Sonja, one of the citizens who got to take over @Sweden for a day tweeted bizarre content including what could be perceived as anti-semitic and homophobic. Another Swede tweeted less embarrassing stuff but at the end of the day, it was clear that Swedes are no different from citizens elsewhere in the world. The democratic digital marketing campaign backfired and Sweden did not really gain anything positive from its marketing efforts. What can the rest of the world learn from Sweden’s failed experiment? A lot, actually.

The Swedish Twitter Campaign Was Not a Failure

The government of Sweden continues to allow its citizens to speak out using the official twitter handle even after the gaffe. In fact, a few embarrassing tweets by ignorant citizens has not changed the way we perceive Sweden and has in fact humanized that nation. To us, Sweden is no longer that ultra squeaky clean nation with extremely liberal citizens. There are people with their own weaknesses, flaws and embarrassing traits.

This only tells the world that Sweden is just like any other country in the world. What makes it different is that in spite of the gaffe and embarrassments, it has decided to stick to its digital marketing campaign. Sweden is not afraid to reveal its flaws and it is willing to accept that there may be elements in that nation who may not be exemplary. In social media, this strategy works really well. Sweden not only came to focus but has also gained mileage for letting its citizens speak even when they are seemingly embarrassing.

What Digital Marketing Professionals Must Learn

The Swedish Digital Marketing campaign was not pulled off and it continues to allow its citizens to tweet under the official handle. This decision has increased the respect we have for Sweden and its democratic values that insists on freedom of speech. The USP of Sweden is its liberty, freedom of speech and human rights. It has managed to tell the world that even in the most cringe-worthy situation; Sweden would not back off from its policies and beliefs. That builds investor confidence and creates positive image for those who intend to travel there.

Likewise, digital marketing professionals must be ready to be creative, controversial and to an extent edgy as well. Sticking to the known territory and being conventional will make a campaign redundant and boring. It becomes very easy to ignore and even forget within no time. Digital marketing campaigns must be honest, true to company policies and mission, and tell the audience what the reality really is like. It humanizes companies just like it humanized Sweden.

In digital marketing, it is all about the human factor and most importantly, the social factor. Gaffes, embarrassments and even controversies are ok, so long as you stay true to your company’s agenda and policies. Digital marketing professionals must use this example to learn that it is extremely important to be creative, edgy and social when trying to market something. Mundane campaigns that are no different from the thousands of other campaigns will never be successful.

Twitter can be a great tool for marketing professionals. In fact, it is the best tool to begin a digital marketing campaign and can later be diversified to other networks. It offers the highest level of engagement and can be very cost effective. Even when a campaign doesn’t work the way it has to, it can quickly be tweaked and changed to suit changing needs.

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