Scoopr

The wild frontier of social media may look forbidding to some, but for the savvy and intrepid marketer it could prove the greatest untapped resource since Jed Clampett struck pay dirt.

At least that’s what Boston entrepreneur Jeremy Smith is hoping for with Scoopr, a new brand-engagement product that offers an intriguing answer to the still mostly-unsolved problem of how to advertise on social media.

Scoopr is an app (currently an iOS exclusive but relaunching for all platforms in the coming months) that helps businesses run promotions that incentivize customers to generate and share their own branded photos.

Say you’re an upmarket fast food chain that specializes in burgers and fries, with a reputation for great-tasting food made from high-quality, all-natural ingredients. Now, say you want to break into the fiercely competitive breakfast market. How do you spread the word that the great taste your customers expect from your burgers and fries can also be found in egg sandwiches and hash browns?

Scoopr lets you create an “assignment” for customers (e.g. “Have breakfast here, take a selfie with your egg sandwich, post it to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram”), including a reference photo to give participants a sense of how to compose the shot, and some sort of incentive, which can be anything from free food to cash. Assignments are issued via your social media feeds, and sometimes also in-store (for instance, a store manager might tell your customers about the promotion while they wait in line.)

Once a critical mass of users have posted the photos you assigned, you choose your favorite, post to your own social media feeds, and deliver a prize to the user who took it. All of that can be done within Scoopr, which bills you based on the number of social media shares the assignment generated.

With one simple flow, Scoopr creates value in multiple dimensions: it crowdsources branded content; it cuts advertising costs; it drives authentic (i.e. user-generated) social media engagement; it provides social-media-traffic data analytics; it re-energizes customer loyalty with incentives; it lets people win prizes.

And most importantly, says Smith, it captures “that genuine moment … when a social fan becomes an ambassador.”

A business with a strong brand is selling not just a product but also a promise, he says. And in today’s volatile brand-loyalty economy, it is incumbent upon brands to actually deliver on that promise. Miller is selling not just beer but the promise of “Miller Time,” and “Miller Time” has to be something that actually happens to people. Consumers have to experience moments of realizing that “I just went to Miller Time,” otherwise their brand loyalty will diminish, and they will abandon Miller for a better-branded alternative.

Scoopr’s deepest driver is an impulse among consumers to capture and share those moments.

“[Users] feel like there’s a return on investment, intrinsically and emotionally,” says Smith. “It’s that moment when they realized the brand promise.” Scoopr gives them a rooftop to shout from – a platform on which to renew their loyalty to the brands that are meaningful to them by voicing their satisfaction to their followers.

“It gives consumers a genuine voice,” says Smith. “And they feel like they have even more of a genuine voice when they’re selected … It’s like a person who sings in American Idol: They like to sing, they think they’re pretty good. But when they realize that everyone knows they can sing, then they want to sing to the world.”

Nick Cox is a freelance writer who lives in Somerville. Find him on Twitter @hazzzardville or email him at xoc.kcin@gmail.com.

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