Can we use social media to redefine a b(r)and’s ‘street team?’
Street Team: A dedicated fan of a band (or brand) who decides, by simple virtue of liking a band (or brand), that they will take it upon themselves to help promote their favorite band (or brand)… for free or minimal return. A member of a street team could promote a band (or brand)by distributing promotional materials , tacking up fliers to promote an upcoming show, call radio stations to request songs by their favorite band, post to online message boards, etc… and in return? Eh, maybe some free swag or early access to ticket sales…basically nothing compared to the virtually free promotion/advertising (and largely in the trusted word-of-mouth advertising form at that!) by your biggest band (or brand) advocates.
Sweet deal for the band (or brand), right?
And why would a fan want to be a member of a ‘street team?’ Because they want to feel like they’re a part of something. Because the (minimal) return- say, a sweatshirt exclusively available to members of the street team- is an exciting and rewarding incentive. Because they just love the band (or brand).
What if we tweaked the idea of a ‘street team’ by asking our tried and true, loyal brand advocates to be our ‘street team’… instead of waiting for these fans to come to us?
Social media makes it extremely easy for a brand to identify their most loyal and dedicated fans- so why not ask these fans, who are already talking about your brand just because they love it , to help you out with promotions/advertising? Here’s a golden opportunity for a brand to connect with fans and show them they’re appreciated…. and here’s the opportunity to create a new kind of street team.
So what do we need to create this new street team from social media fans?
DATA! Don’t run away yet- you’ll be shocked at just how simple (and inexpensive) it is to get information about a brand’s fans on social media sites. Two examples of extremely easy tools:
Ok, thanks for the data, but how is it useful? A company can look at trending of posts/tweets–> are there a few fans/twitterers who mention the brand over and over in a positive manner? Also included in the data- information the fan/twitterer has already provided about themselves (twitter bio, etc)- a brand can see if these loyal fans/twitterers have personal blogs, how many followers they have… IE how large of a network they’re reaching with every Facebook post or tweet.
And the cost? Free for tracking one term, $35 a month for tracking up to 3 terms and 5,000 comments/tweets. And the most premium package listed on Rowfeeder‘s site? $255 a month for up to 10 terms and 50,000 comments/tweets. Wowzers. That’s a lot of valuable data for not a lot of cash.
2. Topsy: ‘indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain queried…Topsy displays realtime results for related terms & articles, trending topics, identifies experts (influencers) for any queried term and shows you trackback pages for everything in its index, displaying what everyone is saying about that query. (via Topsy about us page) a
Ok, there’s the data. Tell me why I should care. The results are in realtime, and Topsy not only lists tweets about the search term, the site also lists results from all over the web. The most useful information (for my current purposes) is the ‘expert’ information, a listing of everyone who has tweeted the search term, with a count of how many times they’ve tweeted that search term.
And the cost? Free as far as I can tell.
(And that’s just two of the simple, inexpensive social media analytic tools available for anyone to use)
So now that we know how to get information about who mentions a brand/tweets about a brand, etc, what do we do with it? How can we create a new ‘street team’ from this information set?
Let’s say a cable channel wanted to amp up promotion for the return of a popular series. The channel thinks that by reaching out to fans and by asking them to tweet about the show, post comments to their facebook page, or even blog about the show, they can increase the reach of their promotion efforts. And by employing the fans who are already mentioning/tweeting about their love of the show/channel- the cable channel can simultaneously say ‘thank you’ to these loyal fans and ’employ’ them to continue to keep spreading positive sentiment about the show/channel.
To start, the cable channel used one of the tools listed above (or both, or multiple other ones) to identify their loyal fans. All they did was type in a key search phrase- the name of the show, or a popular character on the show, or even just the name of the cable channel itself, and track the data for a few days. Once the cable channel had an adequate sample size, they analyzed the data to see which fans/twitterers had been the most active around the search term.
After taking out comments from ‘verified’ accounts, (for example, FOX wouldn’t want to count the @gleeonfox twitter account as a brand advocate as the account is a corporate, and not personal account) the cable channel identified a handle of users who were frequent (and positive!) mentioners of the search term.
Now that the cable channel has identified a collection of loyal fans, let’s turn these fans into our new ‘street team:’
First, the channel should immediately thank these fans for being such loyal devotees of the channel/show! The channel could send these fans a message/send them schwag from their favorite show/anything to show these fans they care! And to get these fans to become the new ‘street team’ and get them to help promote the returning series? The cable channel could send the fans an advance preview tape of the premiere episode and ask them to tweet about it, ask the fans to attend a press screening and tweet/blog about the experience, have a few fans do an interview with the stars of the show and post the interview to the web…
Are you noticing a trend with the possibilities for the new street team? Advance preview tapes, special screenings, exclusive interviews… hmm… all activities traditionally reserved for the ‘press.’ And the point of these efforts? To get the show featured on the ‘what to watch this week section’ of the newspaper, for Matt & Meredith to talk about the show on the Today show, to have pictures of the show’s stars in the next issue of People magazine. And while these (and other) traditional outlets are still very important in a show’s promotion, why not give loyal fans the same opportunity?