Andy Pilkington's recent articles
Limited edition offers grow Facebook communities, but they must be accessible to target audience
Limited edition and exclusive offers to an online community can be an effective method for growth, but brands must ensure the offers are accessible to community members or risk a backlash.
Although having a large online community is by no means a guarantee of a brand’s social success, growing an online following remains a key challenge for marketers. Although most communities see some level of organic day-to-day growth, many brands have launched specific incentives for joining a community. Broadly speaking, these incentives come in one of three guises:
- Giveaways: a brand gives free samples or products to consumers who join the community
- Philanthropy: a brand pledges to donate a sum of money to a particular charity for each new community member
- Exclusive offers: a brand offers exclusive content or limited edition products and promotes them via the community
WaveMetrix examined the third approach, looking at brands that offer or promote limited edition and exclusive products to their followers. Analysis reveals that the method can drive a significant increase in the rate a community grows, with growth rates doubling for Nespresso during these periods. However, further comparison with other case studies shows that the strategy is not guaranteed to succeed if the offer appears inaccessible for community members. This suggests that while limited editions may well work to attract new fans, brands need to carefully consider how easily an offer is accessible to their audience before embarking on such a strategy.
During periods where Nespresso promote new limited edition flavours via their Facebook community, growth rates increase:
- By using the community to promote limited edition new flavours, Nespresso attract more fans: During periods of promotion, the growth rate for the community more than doubles, showing limited editions can be an effective way to attract new fans
However, whilst limited editions may attract new consumers, they are not guaranteed to succeed:
- Nike's "Back to the Future" limited edition range was received with negativity: Because the limited edition products were not available to all the community and were priced at thousands of dollars, the promotion left many fans feeling disenfranchised
- In contrast, the Heinz exclusive promotion of Balsamic Ketchup was received well by consumers: Despite technical glitches with the Facebook store, consumers responded well to the concept