Wikileaks: $100k Facebook Strategy for US Embassy Indonesia

Thanks to Wikileaks (via the Guardian) here’s a cable from the US Embassy in Jakarta describing and justifying their US$100k investment in a Facebook and other social media ahead of Obama’s visit.

Interesting to see how they position it.

The US Embassy in Jakarta built a fanbase on Facebook larger than the US State Department and larger than all US Embassies combined, as I wrote in an interview with the team behind the initiative.

For me, this cable is a reassuring in that it shows how the US Embassy in Jakarta understands the real corridors of power in the 21st century.



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: Jakarta 0065

1. Action/funding request in paragraph 5. 2. Summary: Mission Indonesia requests immediate additional funding to use new media and social networking tools maximize online outreach for the POTUS visit scheduled for late March, 2010. Already the leading U.S. Mission in the world on Facebook with nearly 50,000 “fans,” and one of the leading Missions using Twitter, YouTube and engaging local bloggers to promote USG messages and information, we are uniquely positioned to use these tools to amplify key topics and themes to support the upcoming visit by President Obama. We request $100,000 in funding from R to boost our Facebook fan page membership to 1 million, and can accomplish this in 30 days. End Summary. Proven PD 2.0 Expertise

3. U.S. Mission Indonesia is on the forefront of Public Diplomacy 2.0. With over 50,000 fans the most of any diplomatic mission worldwide, are gaining traction using social media in Indonesia for PD. Our efforts were recently cited in an article on CNET Asia, as “a great example of social media interaction in Indonesia,” prompting the author to wonder “how long will it take for other organizations and businesses to do the same?” We also have our own YouTube channel with over 300 videos, almost 1,000 followers on Twitter, and — for the last two years — engaged positively with thousands of country’s most influential bloggers.

Indonesia’s New Media Environment

4. Indonesia’s internet community is emerging, but recently has become a powerful political force for reform (reftel). With roughly 10% of the population able to access the internet at least monthly, this represents over 25 million people, nearly half of whom are on Facebook. In the seventh-largest and one of the fastest-growing Facebook markets in the world, we will directly reach a young, urban population which does not rely on traditional media as information sources. In addition, Indonesians’ special connection to the 44th President means that interest in the visit is incredibly high. Our Facebook post announcing the visit had interactions and comments from over 1,000 people in less than two weeks, and stories about the visit appeared in the media every day since the official announcement.

5. By actively connecting the POTUS visit to our new media efforts, we have a unique chance to build a sustainable online platform to engage Indonesians on USG issues and messages long after the visit. With enough funding to properly amplify and build on past our successes, Mission Indonesia requests $100,000 immediately in order reach a goal of 1 million Facebook fans in just 30 days — just before POTUS visit.

Action Plan and Implementation

6. This money would be used in three areas. First, it would increase direct advertising via Facebook. Currently, Embassy Jakarta spends less than $25 per day on advertising, and nets between 300-400 new fans daily. Increasing this tenfold over 30 days, results in a gain of 100,000 to 120,000 fans. The funds would also be used to promote the visit and our fan page as the place to learn more by extensively advertising on Indonesian online portals, banner ads, YouTube, Twitter, and other promotional efforts, including embedding bloggers, contests and giveaways, and using SMS technology. With over 100 million mobile phone users in Indonesia, texting is a powerful way to include a huge audience. Partnering with a major telecom provider, we can encourage Indonesians to sign up for real-time updates via their cell phone — a great way to reach those not yet online about the visit. Cost: $60,000.

7. Another key promotion strategy to generate interest will be offering a “golden ticket” via Facebook. We propose making a dream come true for one lucky Indonesian, by providing an opportunity to meet POTUS during his visit. If the White House approves, we could invite fans to post why they should meet President Obama, and in doing so, use our social media platform to connect fans to the visit, as well as build excitement beforehand and follow-up coverage afterwards. In addition, we could partner with a local TV station to have a “finalist” show and increase coverage. RSO would ensure any winner(s) are vetted for security issues. If the White House would not agree to this, an alternate “dream prize” might be an educational trip to the U.S. Cost: $15,000.

8. Third, in order to implement these ideas in this limited time-frame, we need short-term expert help on this promotion in the form of a qualified local digital marketing agency, who could assist the Embassy’s new media team (currently one officer and three FSNs working on it part-time). Cost: $25,000.


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