In Twitter-dense Indonesia “Buzzers”, or folks who have at least 2,000 followers, can earn at least $21 per tweet, particularly during peak hours.
Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous countries, with 247 million people living across thousands of islands. In the country’s capital, Jakarta, however, it seems the more important demographic relates to social media usage.
According to recent figures from Onavo Insights, 64 percent of Indonesians are active on Twitter, which makes this set of users the most active on the microblogging service. To compare, only 36 percent of Americans are active on Twitter. Social analytics firm Semiocast says Jakarta has the most Twitter users than any other city in the world.
The popularity of the microblogging service has prompted businesses, brand advertisers and public relations firms to capitalize on social connectivity in promoting their products and messages. According to a recent report by Reuters, Twitter users in Indonesia — mostly from within Jakarta — can get paid US$21 per tweet to send out sponsored messages. Called “buzzers”, these individuals have at least 2,000 followers on their accounts, and are asked to post the tweets during rush hour (7 to 10 AM and 4 to 8 PM), when vehicular traffic is at its worst.
The idea behind buzzing is that folks stuck in traffic are more likely to check their phones for messages and updates, and marketers would have better views and conversions. Advertisers believe that buzzers are a way to personalize a product pitch. However, social media experts say that this might result in problems if buzzers are perceived as only posting updates for money.
Twitter advertising is actually quite appropriate in emerging markets, where feature-phones and smaller-screened smartphones usually dominate. There is actually an inverse relationship between the popularity of premium devices like the iPhone and Twitter adoption. Given this, short, text-based updates via Twitter can reach an intended audience, regardless of whether these are on iPhones, Android devices, feature phones or even BlackBerry devices, which are still popular in the country.
Likewise, a country’s regulatory framework for advertising and commerce would have an impact on whether social phenomena like buzzers would be effective — or even legal in the first place. In Indonesia, it is perfectly legal and common to accept compensation for social media postings. In the US, however, the FTC requires disclosure whenever one accepts compensation for public posts.