Scion’s Social Campaign Packs the House

Concert ticket giveaways are as old as radio, but Toyota’s Scion automobile brand had a new twist: making fans tweet for a ticket.

Jeri Yoshizu, sales promotion manager for Scion, explains that this allows the company to make the most out of the Open Mic concert series it created around the car brand.

Yoshizu talked with The Content Strategist about Scion’s latest Open Mic concert, headlined by the Grammy Award-winning Atlanta rapper Killer Mike. The March 20 show at Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Public Assembly was the first of Scion’s events that required the use of social media to get in the door.

In order to get a ticket, fans needed to tweet or post to Instagram, mention “@ScionAV,” and include their hashtag #ScionOpenMic. Scion collects the hits, to both build a guest list and track the building buzz. According to Yoshizu, by the end of March, the Killer Mike event accumulated a whopping 3.8 million impressions, which includes both social media and editorial placement.

Scion doesn’t use Facebook for events, she said, because it does not fit their scale.

“[Facebook] isn’t nearly as good for managing statistics, and running contests there is expensive, as you have to use their approved partners,” Yoshizu said. How expensive exactly? Sticker-shock caliber: “The cost of entry to organize a Facebook contest for an event like this is $20,000 alone,” she said.

Users receive a notification that @ScionAV “favorited” their post, confirming their entry has been received. Later, the winners are notified they had won a ticket, and asked to email in their full name and Twitter handle in for confirmation.

Since the organizer eventually builds an email list, the social media method is an upgrade over the email-to-RSVP method. And Yoshizu explained the unique upside: “You can tell a lot more about a perspective audience member from their social media account. You see their followers, you see their community.”

Another key to building a strong community is consistency: “A lot of brands flip-flop around, but you need to focus on specific genres to develop your platform.”

Atlanta rapper Trinidad James, 22, who headlined the brand’s February Open Mic event, had advance respect for Scion. Yoshizu said that James “remembered stories about great Scion events from when he was a teenager. Trust is important, since musicians are also building brands; they need to be seen working with brands with good reputations.”

Within a single genre, though, you have a variety of artists with distinct followings. “The Killer Mike RSVP list filled up, but it didn’t happen as fast as a more hyped or trendy rapper, like [previous Open Mic event headliner] A$AP Rocky,” she explained, adding that the audience was “more of an artist’s artist crowd, less VICE [Magazine] kids; and this difference adds a dimension of street cred to the show.”

The venue filled to capacity for the March show, with more than 200 fans, and they were treated to a show more akin to one of Mike’s concerts than the average promotional event. And as a bonus to the audience, Brooklyn rapper/producer El-P, who produced Killer Mike’s new album R.A.P. Music, stopped in to rock the stage.

And that stage doesn’t need anything more than the artists,Yoshivu advises. “Don’t spend any more money putting on the event than is necessary, there’s no return on money spent on stagecraft,” she said. “I’d always choose a small venue over a large one, and we’re staying in Brooklyn for now, not looking at Manhattan.”

Media coverage helps, but Yoshizu recommends brands focus on outlets tied to the content: “Complex will always cover our shows, so that’s a press entry worth giving out, but a generic entertainment publication, asking for two passes? It’s not going to happen. Those slots need to be going to energetic fans. The artist can tell who’s here for them.”

A lesson learned from the event, Yoshizu explained, is to understand an artist’s promo schedule before setting the event schedule. For intance, Killer Mike’s recent David Letterman appearance could have been a great way to raise awareness for the event, but the timing was wrong.

“The RSVP had been closed by this appearance — which would have boosted hype,” she explained. Already planning upcoming shows, she added, “Next time …”

The social media sweepstakes for tickets for Scion’s next Open Mic event on April 17 in Brooklyn, featuring Rockie Fresh, Worlds Fair, Julian Malone, DJ GetLive!, is already underway.

Image by Flickr

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