Social media marketing campaigns are often intended to reach large audiences. Marketing pros usually talk about Facebook, YouTube and online groups as tools for reaching broad swaths of potential customers. But for a business I recently came across, the desired result was to reach a small group of urban professionals in New York and get them interested in renting some apartments--so I was interested in seeing if it would work. It did, and I think there's a lot to learn from the campaign about how to use social media on a local level.
The venerable community of Yonkers, N.Y., located just north of the Bronx, was home to the first streetlights and the first elevated mass-transit system in the U.S. I'm not sure this campaign amounts to another first--others have probably used Facebook groups, mailing lists from Meetup groups, and targeted emails to move real estate--but I've been around social media marketing for a long time now and it certainly strikes me as novel. The rental buildings, located in Yonkers' downtown waterfront business improvement district, sit in an excellent location for commuters to New York City or the suburban Westchester and Connecticut office parks. The owners, MetroPartners, decided to advertise these units at 66 Main Street and 92 Main St. using primarily online methods instead of the traditional real-estate strategy of newspapers, radio, and direct mailings.
Working with a branding and communications firm called The OnSwitch, MetroPartners broke the mold by offering free rent to the person who submitted, via YouTube, the best story on the theme of "I Gotta Move." As it turned out, the contest didn't generate a lot of video submissions, but it did attract the attention of the local ABC station, which gave the story two minutes on the 11 o'clock news, as well as other press coverage.
They also ran a Valentines Day singles party that was promoted through Meetup groups and Facebook groups. For that event, a New York Water Taxi, renamed the Love Boat, transported guests between Yonkers and Manhattan for the party. A second, "green" event, co-hosted by an environmental group, highlighted the buildings' geothermal heating-cooling units and energy-efficient appliances. Sponsors participated by placing swag in the green-themed gift bags, and were required to reach out to their e-mail lists to spread the word about the events and properties.
Additional elements of the campaign included highly targeted Facebook advertising to young professionals, selective Google pay-per-click advertising, and tons of Craigslist ads with multiple variations. "We drove over 20,000 website visits," says Nancy Shenker, founder and president of The OnSwitch.
Less than six months after the marketing program started, virtually all the units have been rented.
Any other examples of interesting integrated campaigns? Leave word in the comments.