Social Media for Pop-up Shops & Restaurants

Stefan Gustafsson speaks to Stewart Dawes about ways to use social media to promote pop-up shops or restaurants …
1. How can social media be used to promote a short-term project, like a pop-up shop?
As you can see from the example here (click to enlarge), Andrea & Joen POP UP! SHOP! Facebook’s event invitation feature can be used to promote a pop-up shop exactly as you would a party:
It provides organisers with a real-time ongoing gauge of who is attending, who is declining and who is responding most positively by adding likes and comments to the page to flesh it out and inspire others to attend.
It’s very easy to add a map so the location is easy to see, it has an exclusive feel – as though invitees have been invited exclusively, and it enables attendees to get a feel for the types of people who are attending, e.g. in the attached case, “yep people attending are trendy shoe-loving fashionistas just like me”.
Twitter is also effective for promoting a short-term event – but not as twitter may usually be thought of as being used. Instead of building followers/community over time, a pop-up shop should instead use twitter to maximise the newsworthiness of the concept. In other words, twitter should be run like an online PR campaign, contacting and liaising with journalists, media identities and people on twitter who have ultra-high followings.
When the event ends, the key thing with twitter is to keep the account and then re-name it when you put on your next pop-up event. You can take the followers with you!
2. What are the potential benefits of using social media in marketing?
In many cases it’s simply that social media is where people are. Fish where the fish are.
3. Are there any issues with using social media in the marketing of these projects?
The wrong thing to do is to think that you can suddenly just market in social media and nowhere else. Of course traditional marketing places such as newspapers, magazines, tv and radio – plus billboards etc – still need to be considered. Social media is definitely not the silver bullet. In some instances social media is too slow – e.g. one friend had a project to help people in Christchurch after their earthquake. He wanted me to help him establish a Facebook and twitter account so see if he could drum up interest. In this case I said to him that his project was much more important than that and he should go straight to mainstream media in New Zealand with it. He took my advice and ended up being covered on TV and in newspapers for days on end. So sometimes you really need to figure out horses for courses.
4. What are the Do’s and Don’ts when using social media as a marketing tool?
The big don’t is: don’t leave it to the last minute. You in fact need the longest possible lead-up time. I have one client!/bondichai who are launching their chai product in Woolworths in about four months. So their twitter campaign has in fact started now. Followers come onboard slowly, so by starting now they hope to have 2 or 3,000 followers who they can announce their product being in Woolworths to. If they left it to the last minute they might have only 50 followers, which would be a bit of a joke.
5. How can you help your campaign to go “viral”?
Going viral is the dream of every marketer on social media! Of course it’s very difficult to achieve. My motto would be to always have your smartphone video camera set to ready. Like the real estate guy who last year was at the cricket. Ex-PM Bob Hawke walked up and he handed Bob a beer and got him to skol it in front of the video camera. Within 24 hours he had 300,000 views. Or if you can’t have the luck of such a viral miracle, then you need to create such luck by producing a witty, brilliant video and putting it on Youtube. A lot of work, and needs to be well realised, but this is the best way to create that chance. Photos rarely go viral.
6. Do you have any good examples of how social media has been used to market short-term projects, like a pop-up shop?
The Facebook example I have here is my best one as it happened to arrive in my messages today! They are not easy promotions to keep on file as they disappear off the radar quickly once the event is over.
Also most of the time people come into social media with a short-term project with no realistic idea of what will or won’t happen. Films are a prime example. They think stacks of people are going to follow the film on twitter, it doesn’t happen because people know they’re going to get marketed to very heavily by the film, and then the film’s season ends and no-one tweets on the account again. I’ve seen this happen a number of times in the last few years.
There was a pop-up restaurant on twitter which I can’t give you the link to because of course it’s completely vanished, but it was a New-Zealand promotion here in Australia which used twitter to target food bloggers as well as food journalists. Bloggers were given a free dinner plus alcohol at a media launch night. It was a stylish event and there must have been about 150 people in attendance. Certainly they got a lot of blogs and a lot of ongoing tweets happening about it. How genuinely effective it was as far as ROI goes is something I wasn’t privy to, though I recall the event ran for two weeks and was booked out almost all nights.
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