With more and more brands now looking to align their social media activities with their overall PR and marketing campaigns, it's no surprise that many of them are utilising the opportunities presented via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to increase consumer engagement and brand awareness. Of course, it is often the brands that do something innovative, fresh and interactive with their fans through social media that stand-out amongst all the Likes and Tweets. Additionally, those brands that are able to effectively integrate rewards for fan engagement and present their fans with 'something different' will ultimately see the most success from their social media campaigns. In light of this, below are three examples of how brands are utilising social media to give something back to their fans and followers.
1. Do something unique - As we saw recently with Porsche, doing something unique via social media to reward fans can often be hugely successful for a brand's profile. To celebrate reaching 1,000,000 fans on Facebook quicker than any other automotive brand, Porsche designed and created a vinyl wraparound for their GT3 R Hybrid that included the names of all its 1,000,000 Facebook fans. Not only has this proven to be a fantastic social object to create significant online PR 'buzz' but is also an incredibly fresh and unique way to display brand appreciation for its fans. There surely can't be a more perfect way to bring together product and fan than to create a car that literally embodies all of their fans within its design?
2. Foursquare promotions - Location-based services such as Foursquare, present brands with a perfect opportunity to create loyalty-based rewards programmes for fans and customers, rewarding them with exclusive discounts, content, promotions and products. A fantastic example of this is the way marketing and PR companies working alongside a number of record labels, and artists have started to offer exclusive downloads for fans checking-in to live shows. Ranging from promotional codes for merchandise, to free mp3s, to behind-the-scenes video footage, this particular example could certainly be applied by a wide range of brands to reward customers who interact with the brand through their social networks. Interestingly, another example of this is the idea that customers checking-in to movie theatres receive exclusive film content such as interviews and making-of documentaries. Additionally, movie theatres could also reward fans with free tickets for every fifth or sixth check-in to the movie theatre, indicating a great way to encourage customers to keep coming back and continue checking-in.
3. Bring the fans and the brand together - With its latest 'Levi's Girl' Facebook campaign Levi's have offered its Facebook fans the chance to become the next Levi's Girl, essentially becoming the new face of the brand. So far the campaign has received an excellent response and created a significant level of fan interaction and engagement. Now in the voting stages of the campaign, fans are able vote to decide which of the final five contestants will become the next Levi's girl. All in all, a fantastic example of utilising social media to create a campaign entirely shaped by the fans and followers of the brand.
Social media provides brands with the perfect opportunity to develop the relationship between fans/customers and the brand. By its very nature social media thrives on conversation, interaction and the sharing of ideas. As a result, the more brands can tap into these areas the more value they will ultimately see from utilising social media as part of their wider marketing and PR strategies. Although rewarding fans and customers with exclusive content, products and offers is an effective approach, there is a lot to be said for those brands that are able to reward fans through the social media experience and interaction they are creating. Interestingly, one of the key elements that we are seeing bring a significant amount of success is in brands creating an experience that puts the fan at the heart of the campaign, shaping the campaign activities and subsequent social media interaction around the consumers and fans themselves.