Street Smart: How Brands Can Use Social Media in the Real World

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Honest Tea recently learned about consumer honesty – and the value of blending virtual and real-world experiences – when the company used the honor system to sell bottles of tea in unmanned kiosks in 30 U.S. cities.

Forbes took a look at a few other ways that brands (and non-profits) can have fun with their customers.

In the case of Honest Tea, the honor system gave people the freedom to either run off with a free bottle of tea or to pay a buck and collect warm fuzzies.

It wasn’t the most scientific of experiments, but the data the company was able to collect from the kiosks led to a rash of media coverage on its Honesty Index, which ranked U.S. cities according to how many people actually gave a dollar before taking a bottle of tea. The index also provided other fun demographics, like comparing honesty levels by hair color.

This might not work as well with bacon – and forget big-ticket items like cars – but there are other ways for brands to reach people on the street.

In Forbes’ suggested toolbox is a cellular uplink backback from LiveU, which can transmit a TV broadcast-quality video to a satellite for less than $20,000. There’s also Vook, a publishing service that can put video, audio, and images into an eBook.

Groups can also use social media to organize live theater events. Check out Flash Mob and Improv Everywhere for inspiration.

Writes Forbes contributor Kare Anderson, “Your goal is to co-create an infectiously fun, highly interactive action event that involves as many positive emotional elements as you can concoct – and gives your participants – and those who watch them – a memorable, bonding experience. Consider evoking, drama, inspiration, humor, camaraderie and/or surprise.”

Image by Pan Xunbin via Shutterstock.

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