From start-up brands to long-established businesses with a presence on Twitter, companies tweet to excite interest and engage with audiences on all manner of intriguing subjects that might earn a mention, favourite or retweet from followers. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes twitpic of an upcoming product or a Vine video of team-building activities at the head office, insider tweets are appealing because they offer a glimpse into an undiscovered world that consumers have never had access to until now. The intrigue of providing sneak peeks into this normally hidden world creates value for brands and goes hand in hand with encouraging engagement from audiences, so it was only a matter of time before tweets were recognised by companies as a form of ‘social currency’ – a way for consumers to purchase products through social engagement. So, how exactly does social currency work? Marc Jacobs became the latest brand to trial this idea, opening an unusual pop-up shop in New York City's stylish SoHo neighbourhood during New York Fashion Week in February.

Akin to that of a surprise and delight campaign, the innovative concept, known throughout its short lifespan as the Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop, aimed to increase awareness of one of the brand’s signature perfumes. Reported to have one of the most loyal and engaged followings on Facebook, the Daisy brand created the shop to merge offline and online interaction, rewarding visitors for their social media efforts with an array of gifts, along with the chance to win a range of special items including necklaces and bags. Lori Singer, a global marketing VP at Coty Prestige (the fragrance licensor for Marc Jacobs), told Mashable: “Marc Jacobs is really active on social media and Daisy is one of the fragrance brands that triggers the highest engagement among fans.” For this reason, it was hoped that such an incentive would draw these loyal fans, together with an army new ones, to the pop-up shop in search of gifts from their favourite fragrance. All that the store asked in return was that customers tweeted or posted an Instagram photo using the aptly chosen hashtag #MJDaisyChain. Whilst visiting the store, customers could also enjoy free manicures whilst admiring walls adorned with Langley Fox Hemingway’s artwork, and posing among the daisy-inspired backdrop for the chance to win Daisy Marc Jacobs treats.

This idea follows in the footsteps of a similar campaign in 2012 developed by Kellogg’s Special K in London to promote its new range of Cracker Crisps. Upon entering the pop-up shop, visitors were given bags of the company’s new snacks in exchange for tweeting with the hashtag #tweetshop and #spons (sponsored) so as to create buzz around the launch of this new product across the social media sphere. Sarah Case, brand manager for Special K, said in a statement: “The value of positive endorsements on social media sites is beyond compare, so we're excited to be the first company to literally use social currency instead of financial currency to launch this new product in our bespoke Special K shop.”

From a bag of crisps to a covetable bottle of perfume, it would seem that the perceived value of a single tweet or Instagram post – especially when incorporating a brand’s campaign hashtag – looks set to increase along with the growing popularity of experimental marketing from brands across the board. The concept of ‘tweet currency’ not only appeals to audiences as a hook for engagement, but also helps to form steadfast relationships between brands and consumers. By extending the experience offline and putting followers face-to-face with their favourite brands, a new layer of experimental marketing is added and helps to boost the unique appeal and value of social interaction.


By Ben Padley, Marketing Director at Phones4U

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