While social media was born online and continues to breathe online, there are many creative ways that you can bring that same fun and interactive experience to your brand's offline presence. Below are some great examples of how brands have used social media to leverage brand awareness through multiple verticals.
1. Creating Event Hashtags
Whether you’re building out an intimate event with top influencers or you’re throwing a larger in-store event, concert, etc, creating a branded hashtag for the event is a great way to track social engagement and encourage guests to participate. Making this hashtag visible to your guests is key. I’ve been a guest at multiple events where bloggers are wandering around searching and asking anyone that may know, “what is the hashtag for this event?” As social influencers, they've been groomed to give credit where credit is due. If your brand hasn’t created a hashtag for the event, that becomes an immediate loss. Be sure to have your hashtag included on the event invite so that guests can start using it right away and become familiar with it for the event itself. Once they arrive, the event’s hashtag should be in plain site. A great way to get even more participation using the event hashtag is to use incentives. Build a contest or giveaway around the hashtag to encourage more engagement from your guests.
One of the best events that we threw during my time spearheading digital at AG Jeans was the #AGBloggerBowl in collaboration with Teen Vogue. We invited 19 influencers from NY to take part in a bowling challenge between team Uptown Glitz and Downtown Grit. The influencers were encouraged to smack talk over Instagram and Twitter pre-bowl as well as during the game which resulted in more than 7.5 million impressions.
2. The Dressing Room Selfie
You can take your social strategy offline by bringing it directly into your retail locations. We all secretly enjoy taking a selfie from time to time, so when you give your customers permission to pull out their phones and snap a photo in the dressing room, they should happily oblige.
In support of the Fall 2015 #ACforAG collection, we invited shoppers to snap a photo of themselves wearing their favorite pieces from the collection and share them on Instagram using the dedicated hashtag to enter to win 1 of 3 prizes.
3. Photo Booths and Sharing to Social
The idea of bringing a photo booth into your event or retail location isn’t a new one, but it certainly works and is worth a mention. Urban Outfitters and Topshop are two retailers that I think have conquered this well. Their in-store photo booths are branded from the outside as well as on the photo itself.
During the in-store #ACforAG launch event at Ron Herman last Fall, we hired Bosco to bring in a high quality photo booth for our guests. It was the hit of the party with a line that never dwindled. Giving users something “to do” during a shopping event that also encourages them to share their branded experience on social is total win for any brand.
4. Billboards and In-Books
From the screen to the street, Calvin Klein took social completely offline by including their branded hashtag on billboards around the city and in-book advertisement circulating internationally. Because the hashtag is easy to remember, easy to spell, and in front of (literally) everyone’s face, the brand has collected over 230K Instagram posts from their followers.
5. QR Codes
While there was a time when brands across the board were considering how they might be able to incorporate QR codes into their marketing strategy, it seems that the food and beverage industry holds the majority of success in this arena. Coca Cola took advantage of this engagement tactic to support their Snowball Effect Campaign. The QR code featured on 7-Eleven cups directed customers to their mobile app to learn more about the campaign which resulted in tens of thousands of app downloads (source).
6. From Twitter to the Airport
A few years ago, Morton’s Steakhouse truly brought online to offline when Peter Shankman (a customer) wishfully tweeted from the airport. He wrote, “Hey @Mortons - can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours?K, thanks. :).”
Although Morton’s never replied to the tweet, they did something even better. Upon arrival at the Newark airport, Shankman was greeted by a waiter wearing a tuxedo while holding a steak, shrimp, side of potatoes, bread, two napkins and silverware.
Now that’s something to talk about #viral.
7. Take a Stand
In 2010, AT&T launched a campaign that we still talk about today. The “It Can Wait” campaign encourages everyone to take a stand against texting while driving by using #X as a signal to their family and friends that they’re getting behind the wheel and won’t be able to text until they have parked again.
The message is clear, “No text is worth a life. Not even one.” By encouraging everyone to share #X on Twitter or Facebook, they were able to show the world how many people were putting their phones down before driving.
8. The Tweet Shop
During New York Fashion Week, Marc Jacobs did something that surprised us all. They opened up a tweet shop within their Manhattan pop-up shop where the required currency wasn’t a dollar, but instead a tweet. Customers who came to the shop were asked to share a tweet or photo on Instagram using the hashtag #MJDaisyChain in exchange for gifts including perfumes, necklaces, and purses. As a result, the brand was able to garnish more than 13,500 Twitter mentions and 4,300 Instagram mentions.
9. Pinterest Comes to Life
Nordstrom is well aware that a large segment of their target market is active on Pinterest and cleverly decided to bring that beloved online experience in-store. Boasting 4.3 million followers on the platform, they brought their top pins to life in 117 stores by featuring them front and center with a special “Pinterest marker.” Because of the success of this campaign, the brand created an online catalog for their customers called “Pinspiration” which allows salespeople to match popular items from their Pinterest boards available inventory for their customers.
10. Virtual Reality From the Comfort of Your Own Store
Fashion Week proves to be a good time for fashion brands to get attention in the social space by doing something noteworthy and out of the box. During London Fashion Week, Topshop creating a contest asking their fans to share their LFW style across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for a chance to be one of five winners that would experience their runway show via virtual reality from their famed flagship store on Oxford Street.