CASE STUDY: when a few people spread ideas

Amazing things happen when people, especially communicators and marketers, realise that in some instances it is not necessary to use a loudspeaker to get their message across. At some points, whispering your point to a few people does the trick just as effectively.

(You might be familiar with the concept being referred to as Influencer Marketing.)

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In one of my highlights, I worked with a restaurant entrepreneur who owns LeRooi’s Restaurant to market his event, #JEANSation2015. The social media strategy was a simple yet profound one — market the event like a rumour. This means subscribing to the Law of A Few: only telling a few special, powerful and influential people about the campaign to carry to the target market.

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For weeks leading up to the event, the team tagged only each other on Facebook — a group of only 6 people. It was a risky strategy because it risked the community and target market feeling alienated from the event. I sought to make the campaign reach a certain tipping point by making it feel exclusive by having conversations about it on Facebook among the LeRoois team and no one else!

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The reason was simple: have a few influencers in Orange Farm (south of Johannesburg, South Africa) partake in the conversation about #JEANSation2015 because influencers are salesmen whose stories have an important element — stickiness. Example: you can give the exact story to 2 people to disseminate. The results will differ vastly because one is more influential than the other; they have a deeper connection with the people and so their message sticks.

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LeRooi’s co-owner, Rooi Mthombeni, honestly admitted to me a week before the event that he was worried about whether people would show up because the strategy was not something he usually did. This is the norm: post a photo with the event poster on Facebook and tag 90 people all at once and think that creates a connection with the audience. We did the opposite: we based the entire event marketing among 6 special people.

The results? Our efforts became a resounding success! They surpassed Rooi’s expectations.

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We had close to 80 people attend; the restaurant ran out of food that evening; the alcohol in stock was finished up as well; people expressed great feedback about the event’s standard and atmosphere. And because we enlisted services of Black & White Productions co-founder, Tshepo Mkhwanazi, we were able to document the unforgettable event with class.