In the midst of the Hurricane Sandy crisis, the New Jersey Governor tweeted Justin Bieber asking if he could help to pass on information about the relief work being undertaken by the Red Cross.
Bieber retweeted the information from the Governor, resulting in over 1,300 immediate retweets from his fans – Bieber has almost 30m followers on Twitter. Bieber also used his Twitter account to express support for the work of the Red Cross and urged his fans to help them.
What does this teach us in the enterprise world?
First, a senior politician – possibly advised by his young children – has seen that if he wants to reach a lot of people with an urgent message then social media is far more powerful than traditional media.
The governor reached millions of people in a very short period of time with his message about the Red Cross. He did not only contact Bieber – he tweeted several other celebrities and many of them responded enabling an enormous reach that almost certainly exceeded what could have been achieved by appearing on a TV or radio show.
Second, the power of a message that has value cannot be underestimated. An appeal for help during a natural disaster has more power than any marketing message, but there is a lesson here for marketing people – keep your information useful and people will pass it on. Just posting ads in a social environment will ensure they entire online community ignores your message.
Photo by Vanessa Naylon licensed under Creative Commons