In 2003, senior editor of Harper’s Magazine, Bill Wasik, wanted to make a point about conformity. He arranged for over 100 people to descend upon a Macy’s store in Manhattan to feign purchasing a “love rug” as a group. This senseless activity gave rise to a new social phenomenon called a flash mob.
Read more about flash mobs at Wikipedia.
I got to thinking about this and it occurred to me that savvy social media marketers could stage their own flash mob to achieve a viral marketing event. Here are some tips to help you stage your own flash mob.
- Pick a place that will be central to the people you want to participate. Cut down on your participants’ drive time.
- Make sure the location of the event is kept secret for as long as possible (unless you own the venue). Store owners and managers may not be hip to your scheme and could take measures to sabotage it.
- Make sure the activity you have planned is nonviolent and does not damage private property. Such would be a sure way to destroy your reputation as you are trying to build it.
- Take a cue from Bill Wasik and stage a private meeting at a separate location from where your event is planned and pass out the details for that event there.
- Promote your staged flash mob through social media circles like Facebook and Twitter. Target people who would be interested in what you have to say.
- As much as possible, try to tie in your event location and purpose to your business in some way. For instance, if you are an auto body shop and you want to stage a flash mob to demonstrate the importance of a beautiful car then stage a flash mob at a car show and have your participants bring their cameras and cell phones to take candid photos of the automobiles and upload them to YouTube. This would have the added benefit of promoting the car show so it could build some social points with the event’s organizers as well.
The key takeaways for staging a flash mob are to be creative in your approach and make sure that your mob is nonviolent and does not destroy private property. Create a positive impression, not a negative one.