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Interacting with Fans: Marketing Done Right

As marketing professionals, we are bombarded with examples of companies making social media blunders (can you say “Gap”?) Yesterday I saw a group doing everything right. It was refreshing and really struck me.

Although the group I’m using as an example is a band, the same rules apply for brands using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube—as well as their own websites and other outlets.

Last night I attended a 3OH!3 concert. They are a two-man pop group with many hit songs, including collaborations with Katy Perry and Ke$ha. From the second I walked in, I noticed their high level of fan interaction. Upon further investigation today, it is undeniable that 3OH!3 is a case of doing social media and fan interaction right.

I enjoyed the show from a gated area on the side of the stage, giving me a complete view of the audience—more than 500 people tightly packed in a hot, standing-room-only venue. I saw two guys in the front row who really stood out. One was dressed in a gold full bodysuit (homage to the band’s album, “Streets of Gold.”) As it turns out, these two guys had won a contest for a video they made.

The contest was held in conjunction with Wendy’s, and the winners were flown in from Colorado to meet 3OH!3, do a one-on-one interview and attend the concert. 3OH!3 pulled them onstage, where they remained for the duration of the show—an honor that wasn’t part of the official contest winnings, but rather a testament to 3OH!3’s commitment to their fans.

With 3 million Facebook fans, 165,000 followers on Twitter and 11.8 million YouTube hits on just one of their many songs, 3OH!3 is completely plugged in. They follow the golden rule of social media for brands, companies and groups: Interact!

3OH!3 harnesses the power of the crowd and their fans. They frequently update their Facebook, Twitter, blog and website with a variety of fresh content. They have video blogs, go on UStream to answer questions, run spontaneous contests (“First person to Twitpic a photo of their ticket gets two more free!”) and have well-executed, sponsored contests.

3OH!3 understands what many companies are still grappling with: It’s not about selling, it’s about interacting and maintaining loyalty.

Upon meeting them, I saw how personable they are and understood where the desire to interact comes from—to genuinely connect with those who support them. And the fans can sense that.

3OH!3 understands what many companies are still grappling with: It’s not about selling, it’s about interacting and maintaining loyalty. Brands who only tweet or write, “Buy our product!” are getting nowhere. Those who are replying to people, amassing followers, running contests or giveaways, blogging, posting photos, articles and interesting content are those who are will gain more followers, keep the followers they have and build a loyal base.

3OH!3’s approach transcends industry and products. It is a way to retain fans and followers, get more, and keep people interested. Using a wide variety of channels, keeping content fresh and original, updating often and staying interactive contribute to 3OH!3’s success in this area, and are strategies any company can and should employ.

(Editor’s note: Thank you J for setting up this night.)