This summer Twitter launched a new campaign option for businesses advertising, or considering advertising, on Twitter. The catchy phrase used to coin the concept is “Flock to Unlock”. In essence, Flock to Unlock involves incentivizing followers to spread your brand message by retweeting your Tweet to unlock exclusive content and/or an offer. If this sounds contrary to Facebook’s recent move to improve user experience by banning like-gating, it kind of is.
However, Twitter is not Facebook. The same rules do not necessarily apply. The concept of Flock to Unlock is actually pretty cool and can serve to generate a lot of interest while growing your following and customer base. But it can also be a dangerous waste of brand marketing resources. Flock to Unlock is not for every business or industry. If you are considering joining those brands migrating towards this campaign you’ll want to make sure that you follow the “best practices” so that is has a successful flight.
5 Best Practices for Brands Considering the Flock to Unlock Campaign on Twitter
1. Create a Clear Can’t Miss Offer or Don’t Bother
Seriously. Your offer must be so good that current and prospective followers will care enough to retweet your message. It must also be clear so that there is no misunderstanding or potential for followers to point a “bait and switch” finger at you. You’re asking them to “represent” your brand when they share your message with their following, encouraging them to do the same. This will not happen unless you tempt them and their own followers with an offer so good, concise, and relevant to them, that they can’t pass it up. Typical 10-30% off deals and free keychains with purchases will NOT cut it so go big or go home. The offer can also tie in a charitable contribution, informing followers that your business will donate “X” amount of dollars or time towards a great cause upon completion (fulfill the charitable tie-in even if you don’t receive the required retweets, the goodwill is priceless). The bottom line here is that the offer needs to have true meaningful and/or financial value to consumers.
2. Tempt Them by Hinting at Truly Engaging Content
Scratch that. Forget tempting, you need to downright seduce followers with the prospect of delivering content they want at the end of their retweeting efforts. Big brands like PUMA have pulled off success with Flock to Unlock with interesting content driven by athlete personalities. However, you are a small to medium business without Usain Bolt on your speed dial so you’ll need to get darn creative with your existing resources. Use the controversial dining concept of naked sushi as the analogy when crafting your content, with each retweet stripping away a layer, unearthing what engaged consumers want to see. An online bakery could bake what they deem the “world’s largest cupcake” (social media devours food concepts) and unveil it for the first time once the last retweet unlocks the campaign. The possibilities are endless. It’s up to you as a business to anticipate what sort of content your customers would love to see. (Disclaimer: do not take the naked sushi analogy literally. Twitter has clear advertiser policies regarding nudity!)
3. Tie the Content and Offer Together
Combining the prospect of great content together with a great offer is the best way to garner success with Flock to Unlock. Our local online bakery could unveil its “world’s largest cupcake” together with an offer for local followers to come down for the official cutting and tasting, along with a buy-one-get-one offer on all pastries. Anyone craving cupcakes now?
4. Build Anticipation Before Launching the Campaign
You can’t just assume the campaign will gain interest and momentum from the date of the launch, no matter how great the content and offer is. You need to build anticipation well in advance. Don’t just take to Twitter, use ALL of your social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, etc…) to promote your up and coming Twitter Flock to Unlock campaign. This is also a great time to tap into (or start) your employee social media advocacy program to help spread the word.
5. Maintain Engagement Levels with Fervent Passion Throughout the Campaign
Since you’re investing valuable resources into the Flock to Unlock campaign you should give it everything you’ve got as it runs its course. Not one retweet should go by without your brand responding to each follower with gratitude, while at the same time building anticipation towards the endgame. If your campaign requires 100 retweets to see fruition your brand should celebrate each one, as in, “Thanks to @username for putting us all one retweet closer to the goal of 100. #35andCounting #FlocktoUnlock”. Keep users and followers engaged, build anticipation, and you’ll find that you reach your retweet goal faster than anticipated, in time to start planning your next Flock to Unlock offer.