In 2004, Dove did something real different. They launched the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty using real women of all shapes, sizes and colors instead of professional models to sell their leading beauty products. At the time, social media had yet to transform how consumers communicate on a daily basis, but Dove still utilized a mixture of traditional and new means of recruiting their class of “real women.”
Little did we know that they were showing us a sample of what was to come.
Now in 2011, companies across the world are turning to “real people” for their marketing campaigns and social media is giving them instant access to the diversity they seek. Last year model and mogul Kimora Lee Simmons took to Twitter to find models for KLS Gold, her new skincare line.
Other companies have chosen the number one website and social networking tool, Facebook, for their marketing and recruitment efforts. Johnson’s Baby Canada and Bergdorf Goodman who has teamed up with Lucky Magazine are both currently hosting fan contests as a means of securing new consumer support while also
recruiting new faces for marketing campaigns.
This trend has seen exponential growth since Dove stepped out in front and it is proving to be quite a game changer. Not only are these companies maximizing relatively free tools to engage with consumers, but they are playing directly at the perceived narcissistic behavior of social media users and ultimately increasing brand loyalty for a worthwhile ROI. People everywhere are ready and willing to answer these “calls” because of egoistic behavior. Who doesn’t want to see their face on a billboard or better yet – a Facebook Fan Page?
Beyond the personal gratification fans get, the contests are great for companies to leverage current supporters and subsequently their networks (because of voting)– attracting new supporters and hopefully customers.
Companies that need and can add a human element are sure to continue to reap the benefits from the direct access that social media fan contests/campaigns can offer, but there’s always a drawback. How often can you pull this off? Once a person has “Liked” your page and entered one contest, the challenge becomes maintenance of that audience and the cycle starts all over again.
So in the end, social media contests for the recruitment of models or fans is an energizer tool. They should kickoff your entry into new media or give you a mid-way boost, but they can’t be the sole tactic for a successful digital strategy.