As the world moves toward a new and exciting era where brands are taking to social media to connect with consumers on a personal level, the value of a well-run social media presence is increasing. Marketers are realizing that gold does not simply lie in compelling content, but by creating online advocates of a brand. Using a traditional "word of mouth method", online brand advocates are the key to an increase in sales and more effective PR. This method is often considered as the most effective form of advertising.
Online brand advocates are firm believers and admirers of a brand that they will gladly promote to their friends & followers. But just how are online brand advocates created and what kind of return do they offer?
Imagine you are walking down the street at lunchtime and you are in a rush to get back to your desk. You have skipped lunch and have forgotten your wallet in the office but have your mobile with you. Across the road is a pop-up store that rewards customers with snack bars in exchange for a tweet about the snack bar brand. You use the predefined hashtag in your tweet, the server confirms the tweet, and you then receive the snack bar without a moment's hesitation.
The idea of a "social currency" is being experimented with and is yielding positive results. Recently in London, Kellogg's opened a "tweet shop" where people could get a snack in exchange for a tweet. Twitter users could claim a free item in exchange for tweeting one of three predefined tweets. Another highly successful event was the Marc Jacobs Pop-Up Tweet Shop, where Twitter and Instagram users were rewarded with perfume and necklaces daily, with a daily prize of a branded handbag for the best Instagram photo of the day.
Newly founded South African agency Utopian Advertising
embraces this concept and is offering brands the service of a pop-up reward store - a temporary social currency outlet that rewards consumers for advocating a brand via a tweet or by uploading a photo to Instagram. Using this method, retailers are given the opportunity to test markets with new products. By blurring the lines of retail, social media, promotional marketing and market research; Utopian Advertising claims to be the first of its kind in the country to roll out such social currency solutions.
The return offered to brands is an effective campaign that offers a positive word-of-mouth effect, with the objective of converting consumers into online brand advocates. Using social media, the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing can now be measured and tracked. The real value for brands lies in the mobility and marketing return of the pop-up reward stores.
Find out more about social currency and pop-up shops here