Here’s One for the Fans: Rewarding Your Followers

On this blog, we’ve talked a lot about engaging with your brand’s fans and followers through social media. The reason is, there’s a lot to gain from brand loyalty. Especially considering that fans are responsible for not only repeat business, but also generating new business and voluntarily participating in word of mouth marketing.

So what are some real world examples of brands truly rewarding their fans via social networking? We scoured the web for some great instances of brands (and bands) rewarding social media fans using social media. Undoubtedly, these are wonderful ways to turn everyday fans into brand evangelists.

YouTube: The above music video is for Blink 182‘s first single in eight years, “Up All Night.” To create the video, the band joined forces with AT&T to dig through YouTube’s archives to find fans using the band’s songs without express written consent from the band or its label. Instead of labeling the fans “copyright infringers” for life and slapping them with a lawsuit, Blink 182 edited the clips together to create their new music video.

Calling it “The Blink 182 Film Festival You Didn’t Know You Entered,” the band and AT&T embraced the social aspects of YouTube and made their fans a lasting part of the popular band’s legacy. By giving the fans power, AT&T also branded itself as the kind of company that is “hip” to new music, social media and how people are using it to engage with one another online.

Twitter: Kraft Mac & Cheese took to Twitter to find inspiration for their television and online advertisements. Fans who simply tweeted about “Mac and Cheese” had the opportunity for the brand to turn their ideas into an advertisement in under 24 hours that played on the brand’s Facebook page, and one lucky tweeter actually had their 140 characters turned into a national TV advertisement that proudly displayed the Twitter handle. In doing so, the brand catapulted a few fans into the national spotlight for a fleeting moments, and turned Mac and Cheese into a trending and popular topic online.

Facebook: With the company losing market share, and the respect of its customers, Domino’s Pizza boldly admitted its faults with an ad campaign called “Pizza Turnaround.” Of course, changing a pizza recipe from something that tasted like cardboard into something that tasted like, well, anything else, Domino’s couldn’t please all of its critics. So, the company turned to Facebook for suggestions on improving its product, where fans could see that their suggestions were being taken to heart and that the brand was willing to hear what customers had to say. Recently, the brand took to Times Square where it broadcasted people’s Facebook reviews on a giant LED billboard. Not only did the company drive sales and win customers’ respect back, it also welcomed fans into their business with open arms and ears.

In each of these campaigns, we saw brands encouraging engagement in exchange for a unique reward. While many brands see social rewards as nothing more that digital coupons, an innovative and creative approach can create the most memorable campaigns, and the strongest brand loyalty yet. Sometimes it’s less about monetary and more about emotional or psychological value, connecting with customers on their own terms in a creative and honest way.

When developing a social rewards campaign, consider what the customer is expecting, meet that expectation, then exceed it, or better yet, give them something they didn’t even know they wanted. Each of these campaigns exhibits the brand’s respect for their fans and followers. And in an increasingly social online marketplace, respect goes a long way.


Wes Crnkovich

With two B.A.s spanning history, historical geography, languages, and Soviet Studies, as well as a Master of... Continue reading