Make Social Fun, and Fans Will Follow


Nov 13 05:00 am
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 92% of consumers trust ‘earned media’, including unpaid recommendations, tips, and social media check-ins (In contrast to 47% of consumers who trust television, representing a 24% decline since 2009). In other words, social credibility matters to your reputation.

So, what are some fun ways to create content that gets you that social capital? Try games and contests aimed at your most loyal customers. Here’s a great example from Delicatessen, a New York City restaurant:

Loyal Delicatessen customers Baratunde Thurston, former Digital Director for The Onion, and Ron Williams recently decided to have some fun with the FourSquare social app, which allows users to compete for “mayor” of the places they check in to. Baratunde and Williams faced off in a formal “election” to settle the “mayorship” once and for all under the following terms:

  • Real Check-Ins – Only a visit to the restaurant counted, i.e. no standing outside or across the street to record a bogus check-in
  • Clean Comments – No foul language or cruel remarks would be left by the candidates in the tips section or on check-in updates
  • 30 Days, Winner Take All – No one had access or permission from Foursquare to manually change the user who was Mayor, so each candidate had to put in sweat equity to ensure the system ranking who becomes Mayor chose them, and whoever was still holding the crown after 30 days won

Key to the success of this social game election was a focus on humor while subtly referencing the product. The restaurant wasn’t center stage, so much as the organic content from the customers. And the customers had fun: They enjoyed the “intrinsic motivation” of simply enjoying some friendly competition and shared creativity.

And as the humorous content between the competitors began to snowball and go viral, the true election “winner” was the restaurant itself. Delicatessen netted:

  • A doubling of its initial Twitter follower count
  • Free press coverage by popular media outlets (Metromix and WNYC)
  • Foursquare/Twitter buy-in and usage from staff and management
  • Official support from Foursquare

So, how could an automotive dealership replicate this type of success?

Social Syndication
Get the most out of your content by using all relevant social channels

Delicatessen’s marketing win was exceptional, but any dealer can take some lessons from it for its social content strategy. Here are some key ones:

  • Know your loyal fans.  Remember, Delicatessen stayed above the fray while inspiring their biggest fans to advocate for them.  An auto dealer might encourage something like this by offering cool incentives or prizes for folks who check in, and giving special publicity on their own social page to their biggest fans.
  • Focus your content on inspiration, not sales.  Fans and followers will flock to your social sites if you create content that simply makes their day better.  The point of the Delicatessen election wasn’t “Buy Our Stuff NOW”. It was about bringing people together for a common cause.
  • “Cross pollinate”. Use Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other channels to promote the cause, and encourage users to make the majority of contributions that are tagged with the name of the event or charity/person they support.
  • Join conversations.  Take notice of what’s working out there. If you spot a dramatic portion of messages using the local community hashtag on Twitter, like #BTV for Burlington, you might invest in a promoted tweet for people who search that tag.  The same tactics can be used when deciding to target Facebook users via promoted posts or sponsored stories.

Have you had any social “games” at your dealership? Or cool exchanges with loyal fans? Share your stories in the comments section below.

Joe Mescher is the Digital Marketing Evangelist for 

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