But now, suppose Brand X has come up with a way for us to meet — in person. That’s an entirely different premise. And it immediately creates a more powerful type of community – one that exists in the real world. Where we might actually have the chance to get together and have some fun (imagine that).
This is the latest phase of social media marketing. We’re currently working on a project for a client of that offers cycling fans the chance to review short bios and photos of other like-minded fans who live nearby. Then it gives them the opportunity to meet and go for a ride! In other words, it bridges the gap between the digital world of Facebook and Twitter, and the real world beyond all of our personal technology.
Another current example is the ‘Tostitos Reunite America‘ campaign. Even though reuniting friends and family members probably isn’t the first thing you think of when someone says ‘Tostitos’, you have to admit it’s a smart marketing move. Tostitos says ‘Tell us which Facebook friend or family member you’re dying to reunite with. If you’re picked, we’ll set you up with a once-in-a-lifetime reunion.’ So yes, this is another social media contest. But what they recognized is that ‘the emotional benefits drive people closer to the brand than the functional elements.’ (That’s worth thinking about for your brand, too.)
In other words, if you endeavor to use your social media program as a platform where fans actually get to meet in person, it’s a very powerful way to build greater enthusiasm for your brand. And as most large consumer brands continue to rack up millions of fans on Facebook, it’s going to become more important to find ways to stand out from the pack. Imagine what this could do in say, the wine or musical instrument categories.
When I was a young kid, my parents went to a couple of Ford Mustang road rallies. Later on, Saturn picked up on the same idea. Building communities on Facebook and Twitter is an absolute necessity for your brand today. But in reality, there’s simply no substitute for meeting face to face.