Businesses run prized promotions every day, but what if you could run a promotion so great that it drove customers to dig through trash, climb on top of bus stops, and dig through dirt?
BUILDING EXPERIENCES – WHAT YOUR BUSINESS CAN LEARN FROM @HIDDENCASH
That’s exactly what former real estate tycoon, Jason Buzi, sought out to do when he started the @HiddenCash Twitter handle. It started innocuously enough. Jason would hide $20 and $100 bills in semi-public areas and tweet hints to direct followers to the loot. It started as a fun passion project. It was a way to bring people together, have fun, and give back to his community.
Soon this fun little project would balloon. Today, @HiddenCash has over 722,000 followers, has given away over $60,000, and just landed themselves on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
So what lessons are hiding in plain sight from @HiddenCash? Is there any way your business can possible replicate this kind of success during your next campaign? Here are three lessons every business can take from Jason’s project.
Artfully Build the Hype
We all know that the foundation of a great promotion is building the proper hype, but that’s a lot easier said than done. If your business is running a prized promotion, consumers know that you’re looking to get some sort of information or sale out of them. In Jason’s case, he was literally trying to give away free money and he still struggled to build a following early. The moral of the story? If you’re struggling to build an audience, fear not! These things take time!
As you build your audience however, it’s important to find your brand advocates and help them share your message. Early on, Jason didn’t have a strong enough following to have people searching for his cash in droves. In fact, it wasn’t until a local blogger picked up his story that he was able to build a massive following.
Keep an eye out for people within your community that have the potential to share the message of your promotions and make sure that you’ve given them the tools to share that message.
Finally, the most important (and most fun) part of building hype is being artful and creative in your messaging. If Jason tweeted out “I’m giving away $100 bills at the 10th Ave. Hot Dog Stand,” we wouldn’t be talking about it. Instead, Jason takes pride in using enigmatic clues to lead people to his prizes.
The superheroes can't see.
They are buried below
where the earth gets soft
between your toes.
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) August 3, 2014
Now, if you’re running a promotion for your business, you usually don’t want to keep your location secret, but you should take the same level of pride in your messaging that Jason takes in his. Don’t simply say “We’re giving away $10,000 in prizes. Come in!”
Instead, build a narrative. Use traditional media, social media, and blogging to craft a narrative about why your business is giving away prizes and why your promotion is going to help bring people together to have fun and give back to your community. This is the foundation of Jason’s success and it could be the foundation of your success as well.
Show The Winners
This sounds intuitive, but no one would care about @HiddenCash if no one was finding the money, and if no one was tweeting about finding the money, we would have no reason to believe that anyone actually found it. That’s why Jason makes sure to encourage everyone to tweet at him when they find the cash.
If your business is giving away cash or prizes during any kind of event and you’re not sharing the winners online, you’re missing out and so are your customers.
You have the opportunity to take an exciting moment for your business, your community, and one of your lucky customers and share it with the world! Next time, take a play from Jason’s playbook and make your winners the stars of your show!
Know Your Legal Limitations
After this initial success, Jason had a great idea. He wanted to buy random strangers’ groceries. Jason would pay for it upfront, he just needed a grocery store to partner with him on the promotion. He looked to Twitter to try to find a supermarket willing to partner with him to no avail.
We are seriously struggling right now to find a grocery store or supermarket in the Bronx willing to take our money!Just want to help people
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) August 4, 2014
One thing that Jason may not have realized is the fact that New York has extremely stringent sweepstakes laws, so this type of promotion can be really difficult to execute. As great as the gesture is, giving away money and prizes can be much more difficult if you’re in a state or country that places strict barriers around these types of presentations. Fortunately, Jason was able to get some help and give away groceries!
Thanks to some great people in the Bronx and our followers, we were able to make it happen with the groceries today. THANK YOU!
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) August 4, 2014
Word to the wise: If you’re ever unsure about whether you can give away cash or prizes, make sure you contact an expert who can make sure you’re in the clear legally.
For more information on how your business can run prized promotions as well as Jason can hide cash, make sure to download our E-Guide we made for the automotive industry! If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us!