High fashion designer Marc Jacobs is allowing fans to earn shopping credits by posting on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain, as part of an initiative for New York Fashion Week.
The brand is opening a pop-up store as part of Fashion Week to promote its Daisy perfume, but at the Tweet Shop no dollars will exchange hands.
Instead of paying in cash, shoppers will be able to post photos accompanied with the Marc Jacobs hashtag and the best posts will earn shopping credits and free giveaways of the perfume.
This is just one example of businesses realising the value of social media, allowing it to become a form of currency.
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The Tweet Shop will also include a lounge, nail art area, photo booth and drinks, as well as free Wi-Fi.
Retail Oasis director Nerida Jenkins told SmartCompany social advocacy is key to building brands.
“Marc Jacobs values the building of brand advocacy,” she says.
“This is one of the newest forms of media and it’s a great social tactic.
“We’ve well and truly reached critical mass in the area of paid media (buying advertisements, etc), but earned media is about building kudos with consumers and having individualised relationships and social media initiatives allow brands to do this.”
Jenkins says brands are able to connect with consumers in a more interactive way.
“Being able to build a legion of fans has a currency and value well beyond something like Google AdWords or search engine marketing which still reaches a broad net,” she says.
“The ROI on Marc Jacobs investment will be really high. The beauty of it is you’re tapping into people who are highly engaged. You’re rewarding people who are the most engaged and who will be advocates for the brand and spread good will for it.”
Tommy Hilfiger is also going to be running a social media initiative during Fashion Week, with the hashtag #nyfwinstameet designed to encourage instagrammers to meet up and hang out after the show.
In Australia, the 1888 hotel which launched in Sydney last year offers anyone with over 10,000 Instagram follower a free night’s stay.
American Airlines also lets passengers into its First Class lounge for free if they have a Klout (social media measure) score of 55 or above and Kelloggs spent four days in Sydney running a pop-up store where people could only get free samples if they posted online.
Retail Doctor Group chief executive Brian Walker told SmartCompany initiatives like this allow the brand to grow virally.
“There is an integration now of all the channels… in many examples retailers are using social media to actually drive consumers to the physical store, not just push them online,” he says.
“We’ve always known referral is one of the big drivers of brand awareness and acceptance and over 80% of consumers now go online for reviews and research prior to the shopping experience. This then translates to more conversation, peer reviews and community building.”
Walker says initiatives like this are “highly effective” and capitalise on the natural momentum of social media.
“It creates a movement toward the brand tipping point where there is a certain mass of followers that the investment pays at a magnified rate,” he says.