While this kind of event has become commonplace in Paris, on July 16, Orange Réunion Mayotte organized the very first Orange “Aperitweet” on the island of La Réunion, with handball champion Jackson Richardson in attendance. What is an aperitweet? Why did Orange organize this event? Who uses Twitter on the island? Anthony Filbien, Head of Communications for this subsidiary answers these questions on the live Orange blog.
Hi Anthony, can you explain to us what an aperitweet is?
It’s a kind of gathering which we didn’t invent, but which geeks really like: it involves bringing together the blogosphere and social media users around a few drinks and a topic related to digital technology. It’s an example of networking going hand-in-hand with conviviality, which enables the event to be spread through Twitter, for example. We therefore launched the first aperitweet on La Réunion on July 16, based around the theme of digital coaching.
Is Twitter very popular on La Réunion?
On La Réunion, we are fortunate enough to have a very young population, which is very active on social networks. Facebook in particular is used a lot by our target age group of the under-25s. Twitter is the no.1 platform for developing viral marketing, although we are only at a very early stage in comparison to Facebook, but we see ourselves as a key player in digital technology, almost like an evangelist. At present, only a few thousand people on La Réunion have a Twitter account, but that figure should increase considerably over the next 3 years, and Orange Réunion Mayotte will play its part in this new adventure.
Where did the idea come from for this Orange #ocn974 aperitweet?
It’s based around our new TV advertising campaign for Orange services, featuring Jackson Richardson and our employees, and on the theme of digital coaching. We used this publicity event as an opportunity to build up a network of Twitter “friends”. To generate buzz and give the event a slightly secretive edge, we came up with the idea of bringing them together and created this hashtag, #ocn974 meaning, “orange coach numérique 974” (Orange digital coach 974). This short abbreviation is a bit like a secret code word for Orange aficionados, both internal and external. Eventually, it will be used to “tag” all our latest news items, such as press releases, external events, strategic partnerships, etc.
How did you publicize the event, and how many people responded?
First of all, we had to define our target of the island’s tweeters and bloggers. Our regional management team had already established its position by organizing an event each spring for the local digital community: the Webcup, held in the commune of La Possession. We used this event as a springboard. By beginning to use “ocn974”, and giving advanced notice of Jackson Richardson’s visit, in one week we were able to form a community of active tweeters and bloggers. In total, around thirty social media users came to this first event, as well as a few influential journalists.
Why did you choose Jackson Richardson as the special guest for this first aperitweet?
Jackson was the focal point for this event because he featured in our advertising campaign. He’s a huge star on La Réunion, and has been an icon for the Orange brand on the island for the past 11 years! His presence also gave the event a slightly “celebrity” element, which also tied in with the theme.
Is he a Twitter user himself?
Jackson does have a Twitter account, but he doesn’t use it much. In contrast, his personal blog draws lots of sports fans, and fans of handball in particular. Not forgetting also his avatar, which features prominently on our portal for La Réunion, www.coachorange.re, to explain Orange’s services!
Did the event receive a lot of coverage across the different forms of media, especially Twitter?
Yes, all things being equal if we compare it to mainland France, of course. The event was covered by the local press, on blogs about the island and on “péi” Twitter accounts, as we call them here. With over 30,000 impressions on Twitter per day, and some kindly-written articles, we can definitely consider our first objective of raising awareness to have been achieved.
Will there be other aperitweets organized by Orange Réunion?
Yes, we want to keep up this idea of a “geeks club”, or simply for local people interested in Orange’s news and digital technology. We will return to the theme of “the Collective” sometime after the academic year begins again in September, and we will look to schedule further gatherings between now and December 2012, and over the coming years J.