Art + Social Media = Fabulosity (and Marketing Genius)

My good friend and videographer, Philip, sent me a clever social media campaign that I am just now getting around to sharing with all of you (yes, trying to get myself more organized in 2011).  Have you heard of the musical group Belle & Sebastian? They have a sort of a “folksy pop” vibe about them, and maintain a cult following throughout the world.

For the release of their album in August, they did a fun social media campaign that not only engaged their fans, but generated buzz and probably made their SEO rankings zoom off the charts by asking fans to create photo content. The best brand campaigns are the ones that ask your fans to do something (show their loyalty and commitment), promotes your business (what you ask them to do creates buzz for YOU) and creates beautiful content that can be repackaged with the tribe (that’s just my own personal vote.).

Their new album was called Belle and Sebastian Write About Love. When working on art for the album, they captured this image of a hip chick writing the record name in chalk in secluded spots in Glasgow:


Write About Love by belles glasgow Photo credit: Belle and Sebastian

So they launched a social media contest, via Flikr, to ask fans to do the same thing (write the album name in chalk in the towns where they live) and upload their photos. Winners would be used in their online TV show, and others would win trophies for “the most striking, scenic, artistic or funny contributions.” Here is the contest page and you can see some of the wildly different, yet artistic and fun entries they received. This insight into the “art” of their fans also probably gave them some valuable intel of their customers.

By doing this fun & spontaneous contest, Belle and Sebastian increased their tribe engagement and loyalty, creating an event that caused people to “check back in” and see how the entries were looking, offered incentives for really putting thought into the entry by offering prizes fans would cherish, and turned their tribe into a slew of field sales reps, promoting their album from here to kingdom come. For every one photograph, imagine the onlookers wondering what the heck each entrant was doing when they came upon them writing the band’s name in chalk and snapping pics?

The moral? Get creative with social media as it can have more arms and legs than you think. The other moral? Promotion does not have to be icky and sleazy. It can actually produce something artistic of which your fans can be proud and which can make them ever more loyal to your message.

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