In the modern age of online dating one app has recently taken a march in the market and that's Tinder. If you aren't familiar with the dating app you login via your Facebook account (with nothing posted to Facebook don't worry) and you essentially see pictures of women or men whichever you indicate you want to see and you swipe the ones you like the look of or the ones you don't. Swipe right for Like, swipe left for Unlike. Not vain at all. You can only message someone if both have liked each others photos. That's pretty much the crux of it!
But Tinder is essentially considered a social media dating app due to the nature of it. You create a profile, connect with others and share info and pics. So could brands take advantage of this opportunity to gain access to a whole new market? Tinder currently has approximately 25 million users who swipe 1.5 billion profiles making 21 million matches per day. The number of users in 2016 is set to double to around 50 million! So in the era of brands coming up with strategies for new and developing social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, what's stopping Tinder being the next big thing.
Snapchat has 30 million users and many people in the social media landscape are talking about how brands could exploit this, but if Tinder has almost that amount, why isn't there more talk about it being a player in the social media market? Maybe because it's still very new and unproven. Only recently has Tinder offered a premium version at £3.99 per month, so it's still in its infancy in terms of developing its feature and having a revenue model.
So the question is how could a brand use Tinder, here's a few suggestions.
Create a Profile
Firstly they could create the standard profile with a photo of their logo and a bio of who they are. Obviously they would need to create a Facebook profile first...and maybe like their own Facebook Page which would come up as a common interest with other users. The profile creation could be the same as other social networks like Facebook and Twitter in terms of their info provided. Tinder was thinking of introducing a verification element to its profile with Ed Sheeran being the guinea pig, though that never materialised. If it did, that would be a sure way to enhance the brands profile authenticity.
For the targeting of users brands could use the discovery settings to target a particular market in relation to age and gender. For instance, if you were a mens fashion brand who targeted young males, you could set your discovery settings to the age bracket of say 16-25 and 'interested' in males. Of course if you were a female brand it would be visa versa or both if you were a fashion brand for both men and women. But it's not just demographically they can target users, they can also do it geographically by location. So if our fashion brand is only based in say four locations, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow it can set the discovery settings to that also to target better.
Therefore, the great thing about Tinder is its ability to demographically and geographically target an audience so precisely, something you can't do with Instagram or Snapchat.
Right so a brand has created its profile and has set who it's going to target, the next step is how it'll promote its offering. Of course you can't promote anything to anyone without getting matched with someone...so get swiping! Personally if I was using it as a brand to get as much exposure as possible I'd swipe every profile. Let's hope other users do the same, but if it was a brand that they loved, surely they'd swipe right?
Success! A match! What shall we say to them. The best message for them could be a link to their website or to a new product or service. Another form of promotion could be the first 100 people to match with the account get a code and link to claim a prize. So there's quite a few opportunities to make Tinder fun for a brand and get the message out there of what they promote.
All social media activity needs a reporting system and metrics to determine whether it's a success or not. This could be people who've claimed a prize or signed up or visited the website link provided, but it'll be hard to see whether they've read the message. Alternatively how many matches you get could also be a great determinant of success.
I'm not one for being biased, I'm not an American News Corporation...so there are a few pitfalls of using Tinder as a form of marketing. A question that a Tinder strategy also poses is do users want brands taking over their dating app. Or should it be only for actual people. The point of Tinder is dating, and if brands are starting to 'date' you with offers and promotions the whole aim of the app goes out the window. People use Tinder to get a date, not really to find the latest product from their best loved brands, so the whole concept of the app is blurred. It's like going to the pub with your wife or husband and suddenly the social media manager of a brand comes up to your table to sell you something. Not pleasant or wanted...though I'm not married so maybe it's welcome! But the point is you can't really tailor an app which is in a completely different market to something a brand could exploit. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the others have a place for brands, not sure Tinder does yet.
Another problem is the reporting element previously mentioned, as you can't really place an ROI on it. Using Tinder is free unless you sign up to the £3.99 premium feature so the potential returns could be quite high if say someone goes on to buy a £50 product from your website. Although the question marketers and senior executives always go on about is the value in it, or should time and funds be allocated to other networks. Thus the reporting side is a downfall.
A further pitfall is whether a brand should use Tinder or just stick to other networks like the big three (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). It's true you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, but spread your message as much as possible to as many people as possible. But there is a limit and prioritizing is needed. Personally I would set up a Snapchat account before Tinder.
One problem with swiping every account under the sun is this could be seen as SPAM. Once you match with a brand, how many more times will they contact you with offers, so you could get bombarded with all these messages, something no one really likes. Of course you could Unmatch the brand if you wanted to avoid this, but there's the chance the brand could get continually 'reported' by users for SPAM.
After analyzing the potential Tinder strategy a brand could have against the problems they could incur I'm quite excited to see whether brands actually use the app in the future. I mean it could NEVER happen, or this time next year we could see hundreds of brands on it. The thing to remember is although it sounds like a strange idea, it's not something to think might never happen. We thought brands would never take over Facebook, but they sure have!
Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your comments, so please feel free to post them :-) Don't forget to follow this blog, and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart for more digital news and views!