Challenge: Capture data
Solution: Introduce a mobile social network to the marketing mix.
Fans of Honor Society couldn't have gotten a better deal. Concertgoers who checked in on a mobile application got the ultimate offer from the Los Angeles-based band of New Yorkers—the musicians themselves.
The first five audience members to check in at each performance using Flowd, a Finland-based mobile social network for music lovers, got a "coupon" entitling them to meet the band. Between the Nov. 26 gig in Orlando, Fla., that launched the 18-date Rock the Red Kettle Tour, and the final concert on Dec. 18 in Hollywood, Honor Society gathered a nearly 600-strong following of "superfans." The indie rock fans came early to check in, representing about 14 percent of each concert's audience, and sometimes more than 20 percent.
While this number may seem low, Honor Society Bassist Andrew Lee says it's a great showing for a three-week tour and means a lot to the band. As his band gains popularity, it's getting harder and harder to maintain a meaningful face-to-face relationship with fans, and Lee thinks this mobile tool helped the band do just that.
"Fans require a lot more attention," he says. "And they want more personal interaction—whether it be in person, or if you can't be there in person, they want to hear your voice on Twitter. Or they want to see your posts on Facebook. They want to know you're out there and they want to be engaged by you. And so, one of the goals with Flowd was to just more easily engage the fans, especially while we're on tour, both electronically—obviously, through the posts that we put on Flowd—but then giving the fans the opportunity to check in. ... So we got to take the interactivity electronically, and then pull it over into actual personal interactivity when the fans come to shows."
For the band, which has 131,827 Facebook page likes and 130,269 Twitter followers as of presstime, social media networks are extremely important ways to have one-to-one relationships with its fans. Lee says each musician even has his own Twitter account. His, @IAMtheCOMMODORE, has 38,335 followers.
"Will [mobile social networks like Flowd] be as big as Twitter or as big as Facebook?" Lee asks. "It's different. It's a different animal. I feel like it kind of combines the Facebook and Twitter worlds. But it's more used to, again, to incentivize for the fans. ... They'll see it as an instantaneous benefit if they go on Flowd. They check in and then they get something, and I think there's a lot more to that concept that we can play with in the future."
For Honor Society, Flowd provides instant benefits, too. While the band promoted the social networking tool to its fans through email, Facebook and Twitter, Flowd's first test came on the first date of the Rock the Red Kettle Tour. Right away, Honor Society could see the tool working to enhance the fan experience.
From the stage, they could see fans holding up their phones and showing them the "meet-and-greet" coupons, yelling, "We won! We won!" Lee says for the band, that feeling was mutual.