Can I make myself trend on Twitter? I can with Eurovision. Douze Points.

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twitterOK, so I lost the vote at home to watch a recorded episode of The Pacific VS the Eurovision Final. No surprise there…

So, with laptop open, on the couch, with Eurovision tinnitis after only the second song – I thought that it might give me the chance to see how social media was dealing with a whole bunch of different countries, all getting very excited about what was a pretty poor “real” representation of themselves. (Yes, the Jedward hairstyle IS representative of the Irish male…).

I wanted to see how easy/difficult it was to get my own Twitter handle (username) trending on a local / national level. I’ll give you the experiment results now, so you don’t have to sit through 43 countries like Friday night.

They were (for me, in Eurovision terms) douze points – or a good solid result, without having to break a massive sweat.

You can see the trend results below for “betonliamcasey“. The period began at 8pm on Friday and was trending locally and nationally by 10.30pm.

betonliamcasey twitter trending

The exercise gave me some really good insight into Twitter’s value proposition. It reinforced the fact that Twitter engagement is about dialogue, relevancy and providing unique insights.

How did I do the trending part?

1) Created a hashtag that was linked to an event that was already trending (#eurovision), that hashtag was #eurovisionhotornot (you can guess where I’m going here with the dialogue already :-))

2) Tweeted “Am looking for #eurovisionhotornot scores (ie: hotness) for the country acts. What’s your score?”

3) Aggregrated and then Tweeted #eurovisionhotornot scores as they came in to me from (a very small in Twitter terms) network (ca. 150 followers). Eg: “#eurovisonhotornot: #spain = (the middle tall backing singer 9) – but unfortunately score is solid 7.6.”

4) Tweeted after every act, scanned replies, and tweeted an approx aggregrate score for #eurovisonhotornot:

5) Finished up with a prediction purely based on the “hotness” factor. (Final tweet: “The predicted results based on my survey 1) #Ireland 2) #Sweden (3 #Germany”

…and by that point “betonliamcasey” was trending on a national level in Ireland.

What real world things did I learn about Twitter during this exercise?

1) It’s not that difficult to get something trending on a national level. I sent out ca. 50 tweets, received ca. 65 tweets in a two and a half hour period.Within 2.5 hours, I was trending on a national level.

2) Current relevancy is everything. Spread your message about things that are happening now, or are very close to happening. It encourages dialogue. People aren’t going to set a reminder to reply, for a future point, it can’t be treated like a “things to do later” list”.

3) Don’t take the subject too seriously…if you want to build engagement and make people listen, have your own slant and add a bit of personal humour that shows that it’s not just a copy & paste.

4) Provide unique insights and information that’s relevant to those insights. I’m no Eurovision expert, but on Saturday evening, I was the knowledge hub for the scoring for #eurovisionhotornot. Therefore, people wanted to engage with my content to see where the voting was, and I was the sole source for that. There are too many users of Twitter that post information that doesn’t engage or make me want to engage. According to Sysomos, only 6% of tweets get retweeted, and 92.4% of those happen in the first hour. It really highlights the ripple effect of relevant content. Sysomos have actually put together a great report on Twitter stats for 2010.

5) Dialogue not monologue. Pretty much sums up the points above, and this experiment has shown me, where Twitter’s value lies. Don’t worry about tweet volume. According to the Social Times, 71% of tweets don’t get a single reply or retweet. Focus on quality of content & relevancy.

A special mention to PR guru @jilloherlihy who gave Azerbaijan a 10, but then qualified it by saying it was only because the singer reminded her of Danny from The Script. It almost made me count it as a spoiled vote – but there’s no accounting for taste (and my wife agreed with Jill).

The actual #eurovisionhotornot results were:

1) #Ireland 2) #Sweden (3 #Germany 4) #greece 5) #azerbaijan 6) #UK

(For the sake of the ARHR* scale, we may have to remove Ireland due to the Irish weighting of my network) *Actual Real Hotness Rating.

The actual #eurovision results were:

1) #azerbaijan 2) #italy 3) #Sweden 4) #Ukraine 5) #denmark 6)  6) #bosniaherzgovina

Also – if you want to see what’s trending in Ireland at any given time – it’s worth checking out the handy tool at Trendsmap.

For the record, Sweden won in the hotness stakes. I got to watch The Pacific after the Eurovision, and at the weekend – I’ll be going to Cardiff to celebrate my national trending on Twitter (and I might go to the Heineken Cup Final to support Leinster, the best club rugby team in the world).

On a final note, as the Commercial Director of an online gambling company – I had to feel sorry for this punter.

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