February 17, 2018

What Are Your Friends Doing For You?

We are all trying to catch up with Facebook and find out what it really means as a marketing opportunity. Ok, so I have 1000 fans. What value does that really bring? And how can we continue to engage our fans beyond program announcements and information sharing?

Ad Week has an article about an effort undertaken by Red Robin restaurants designed to engage their fans as recommenders, not just passive commentators. (Thanks to Carolynn Muci at Mount Prospect Public Library for sending the article to me.)

Red Robin developed GoRecommend, an application that asks consumers if they’d like to post a recommendation on their Facebook page when they seem to have had a particularly pleasant experience. They used their receipts as way to push customers to Facebook and offered some incentives as well. 

A simple look at the numbers demonstrates the power this has: 

"Recommenders have an average of 150 friends, who all get positive impressions of the brand, at least in theory. Red Robin chief marketing officer Susan Lintonsmith estimates that her chain has gotten about 1,500 recommendations since Empathica launched the service in April. That would mean about 225,000 positive impressions during that time. The Red Robin fan page, meanwhile, has about 1,900 fans."

And I love this quotation from the company that developed the application:

"We don’t go the fan route, we go the recommendation route," Andrew Datars, VP-product management at Empathica said. "People can become your fans, but the challenge with that approach is it doesn’t leverage the social graph. Just because one of the people is a fan of your brand, it doesn’t get to their friends, or people who aren’t fans of your brand." 

Ultimately it comes down to what a commenter to the article expressed: "Recommendations are the ticket."

And a last thought for today. Don’t you love how kids keep you humble? I was sharing some observations with my teenager about social media. She asked me, "why do old people (meaning anyone over 20) think kids care about Twitter. Nobody does that." 

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.