hashtags1As the presence and influence of social media branding continues to climb, advertisers are capitalizing on this growing trend with unique approaches.

The music industry is transitioning from the traditional press tour and album release events, to competing with the millennial desire to have it and get it now.  Katy Perry is one artist who isn’t fighting the hunger but encouraging it. Katy Perry will be one of many to perform at this Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, where she will also be promoting her new album to be released on September 17th.  As a strategic ploy to engage viewers, Perry has teamed up with her sponsor Pepsi and MTV to do all the promotional work for her.  All parties are encouraging people to use the hashtag #Katynow throughout the weekend to unlock clues about her forthcoming album, Prism, such as song titles and lyrics.  Twitter followers can then use these revealed clues to listen to two songs from her album and from a Pepsi microsite vote for their favorite.  Perry will then perform the winning song in from a secret location during the awards show.

So why is this social media approach relevant to you and your brand?

Brands like Pepsi used social media to gain direct access and influence to their target consumer through Katy Perry’s many followers. But the genius twist is that these Katy Perry followers have no clue how much their tweets benefit the sponsor.  Not only is this a “free” PR campaign, but the fans have given Pepsi insight to the type of music they want to hear.

So much can be learned about a consumer from a survey perspective.  Most consumers are hesitant when they are asked to do a survey or questionnaire of any kind. But using this approach allows you to indirectly get the same results while rewarding the consumer with exclusive access and freebies.

Any brand can use this same method with their social marketing approach.  All a brand has to do is associate/partner with a cause, person, topic, event that is popular to your target demo—like Pepsi did with Katy Perry.  You then cobrand your promotion so that you give to the consumer and in return they must give back to you.  This is where NTR events help local business.

A plumbing company can sponsor a concert that reaches their target demo with event host. The company can then tap into the host’s social media followers by creating a specific hashtag such as #plumbingblues and describing their worst plumbing experience or posting a picture. The consumer then receives a message saying they are entered to win tickets or backstage passes.

This process shows you the current service demand needed from your target customers while also expanding brand awareness.

The best part, you will save more money using social media, but your return on investment will be priceless.

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