CrowdTwist Empowers Social Street Teams


gamer11.jpgADOTAS – You have to hand it to Bamboozle Fest for its musical variety. Headliners for the three-day music festival, being held at the New Meadowlands in New Jersey this spring, include hiphop superstar Lil’ Wayne, Jersey rockers Gaslight Anthem, emo veterans Taking Back Sunday and hair metal survivors Motley Crue (Yes, they are still alive).

To boost both marketing and audience engagement, festival organizers teamed up with social loyalty platform builder CrowdTwist to create BoozleTwist, a rewards program offering VIP passes, the chance to introduce performers on stage, autographed merchandise and other goodies simply for doing run of the mill social networking activities: like the Bamboozle page on Facebook, tweet something about the festival on Twitter, check in on Foursquare, etc.

The result was “astronomical engagement,” according to CrowdTwist CEO and cofounder Irving Fain, who previously was in charge of digital marketing and social platforms at Clear Channel Radio Digital. In the first 24 hours, BoozleTwist received 2.5 million social impressions across Facebook and Twitter. Within six days of its Feb. 1 launch, BoozleTwist boasted more than 7,300 members. Average time spent on Bamboozle Fest’s website jumped from 2 minutes and 15 seconds to more than 11 minutes, while average pageviews rocketed from 3 per unique to 26.

CrowdTwist’s white label loyalty platform enables a brand or marketer’s audience to earn points on its website or third-party website (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) that can be used to claim real-world commodities. In other words, it’s a scalable social street team — in the independent music world, in particular, street teams are dedicated fans that spread the word about upcoming events/concerts in exchange for free tickets, access to the artist or signed merchandise.

It’s not surprising that when launching a year ago, CrowdTwist was originally conceived and tested as a marketing tool for independent musicians. But founders Fain, COO Josh Bowen (another Clear Channel Radio Digital vet who was last seen at MTV Networks as the director of strategy and business development in the Digital Music Group) and CTO Michael Montero (formerly cofounder of niche social network publisher Community Connect) soon discovered the demand was quite broader: CrowdTwist is scalable for anyone with a multiplatform layout — website, social networking pages, etc.

Among the plethora of activities that users can perform to receive rewards through the platform are simple acts such as liking on Facebook, retweeting websites and listening to Internet radio station. Fans can also volunteer demographic information.

For brands and marketers, audience activities need to provide some sort of benefit to the client’s marketing efforts. Most point-earning social activities enhance brand awareness and assist in building a community, while the social analytics gained are quite revealing.

CrowdTwist is looped into the burgeoning but hazy marketing world of gamification, where rewards for gameplay are too often a top spot on a leaderboard or virtual goods with little actual value. Fain recently penned a thought piece for Social Times critical of Gabe Zichermann’s SAPS (Status, Access, Power and Stuff) gamification theory. While Zichermann argues that each aspect importance is arranged in that order, Fain believes Stuff (i.e., real-world rewards) leads to the other three.

“Virtual goods won’t sustain an audience,” he says. “Rewards in a loyalty program have to tie back into reality.”


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