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Nov 20, 2008
How To

How to Recruit Friends to Create ‘Stickiness’ for Your Website with Social Media Tactics

SUMMARY: Social media and Web 2.0 efforts can create ‘stickiness’ on a website. But how do you make a website even ‘stickier’ to bring customers back or to get them to stick around longer?

Here’s an answer from a marketer who partnered with 10 bands to build ‘stickiness’ for a mobile 2.0 service that has seen an increase in awareness and subscriptions. Includes creative samples and tips.
Evan Tana, Director, Product Management and Marketing, Loopt, noticed a barrier that prevented new members of the mobile social-mapping service from becoming frequent users. “We had this ‘zero friends’ problem. You need to get people engaged long enough that they will invite friends and stay with the service. … We’ve found that, once you have three to four friends, Loopt becomes a very sticky service,” Tana says.

Loopt is free on most carriers; it allows a user to visualize their friends’ real-time locations on a map on their phone. The service also displays reviews and ratings of clubs and restaurants in an area. Like many Web 2.0 platforms, Loopt relies on ‘friends’ to make it work.

Tana and his team created a campaign to motivate trial users to become regular users. They partnered with touring bands that they thought would appeal to their target audience. The bands used Loopt to send regular tour updates and to let users track bands’ locations on Loopt’s maps.

“A lot of these bands would actually use Loopt as a promotional tool for their fan base. … That drove subscribers, but more importantly, it was getting people engaged with Loopt immediately,” Tana says.

Here are the six steps Tana and his team took to help drive engagement and boost subscribers for their Web 2.0 platform.

Build Engagement with Bands – 6 Steps

Step #1: Align strategy with product and partners

Because Loopt lets members visualize where their friends are, what they’re doing, and where they could meet, Tana’s campaign fit right in. Members could track the bands of their choice by getting their real-time locations on a map and regular updates on bands’ schedules.

A band needs a fan base to prosper. This campaign gave fans a chance to follow the music and see a free show in L.A. For the bands, Loopt was a free way to connect with fans. Some bands promoted the service more aggressively than others, Tana says.

“With the music vertical, you find a lot of people who want to try new things, who are really interested in new ways of connecting with their fans.”

Step #2: Select appropriate partners

Tana’s team worked with an L.A.-based marketing agency that has deep connections in the music industry.

“There are a ton of marketing agencies down there that are focused on the entertainment space and basically provide an ‘in’ to artists and entertainers, and will build interesting campaigns around bands.”

Tana’s team started with a list of about 50 possible bands for the campaign. They narrowed the list to 10 based on:
o Availability with respect to tour dates
o Enthusiasm for using the service
o Loyalty of fan base
o Type of music

The team did not want to alienate users by featuring bands from only one or two music genres. They went for a mix of bands that would likely appeal to their mostly under-30 demographic.

Step #3: Set up agreement with partners

Tana’s team did not insist on an iron-clad contract with the bands. Most of the terms were loose, but there were a few requirements:
o Come to an L.A. studio to film promotional videos
o Put on a private, post-campaign concert in L.A.

The rest of the agreement was suggestion-based, Tana says. The bands were expected to:
o Provide updates a few times a week
o Write about the “backstage” and “on-the-road” aspects of their tours
o Promote the service to their fans

“Ultimately, it was up to a band finding it compelling enough to want to do all that,” Tana says.

Step #4: Equip and educate partners

Tana’s team provided smart phones for the bands. They paid for all the hardware and carrier services. The team also had to educate the bands and their managers on how to use the phones and the service, and give them time to become comfortable with them.

o Keep messaging consistent

The team also provided consistent messaging, graphics and links that could be used in the bands’ MySpace pages, email blasts and other touch points.

Step #5: Set up landing page and disseminate videos

Tana’s team set up a landing page for the campaign with:
o List of bands in the campaign
o Videos of the bands
o Description of the bands
o Simple instructions for “friending” a band
o Links to register for Loopt

Each band video featured:
o Band talking about Loopt
o Landing page URL
o Band playing live music

- Driving traffic

The landing page received traffic from the bands’ promotional efforts. Tana noticed the bands driving traffic via:
o MySpace pages
o Homepages
o Email newsletters
o Mentioning Loopt at shows

Tana’s team also disseminated the videos on social videos sites throughout the Web – YouTube being the largest.

“So if you saw your favorite band on YouTube, you would also know that you could follow them on Loopt.”

Step #6: Handle small problems

The campaign ended in September. Some problems Tana’s team encountered:

o Differing degrees of use – not every band selected for the campaign was smitten with Loopt. One or two dropped off during their tour. But four or five of the bands were “super-active,” updating several times a day. Two continued to use it after the campaign, Tana says.

o Unique accounts – each band needed a tailored account for the campaign. For example, regular Loopt users cannot have more than 150 friends, a restriction that was not suitable for the campaign’s goals. Also, regular Loopt users had to be protected from sharing their location with the bands.

o Technical glitches – there were also basic “logistic hiccups” in getting each band a phone with service, teaching them how to use it, and getting the campaigns running, Tana says.

Evan Tana spoke at ad:tech New York in November.

Useful links related to this article:

Loopt Follow the Music Creative Samples:
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/cs/loopt/study.html


ad:tech
http://www.ad-tech.com/


NonStop Riot: Agency that helped Loopt connect with bands
http://www.musicmakesitbetter.com


Loopt
http://www.loopt.com

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