Engaging millennials with the Sharebot
Thursday 18 February 2016
A new initiative is launching, using blockchain tech to offer organisations imaginative ways to engage with customers and supporters.
Millennials are a tough demographic to crack. These are the guys who grew up with the internet, who live on their smartphones and social media. They never really knew an unconnected world. They’re tech-savvy, brand aware and very, very cynical of advertising. They’re also fiercely loyal and even evangelistic when a brand does gain their trust, thanks to their extensive online presence. Gain that trust and they will reward you. Fail to gain it and you will lose them to a competitor in the click of an app.
So how do you engage with millennials, beyond having a solid social media presence (an entry-level requirement)? Ronny Boesing, CEO of Danish exchange CCEDK and co-founder of tipbot company Sharebits.io, has some insights.
‘Millennials are typically looking for something more than advertising, or even interactivity,’ the veteran of the music industry explains. ‘They want something meaningful, a human connection, but without giving up their security.’ Not surprisingly, this have-your-cake-and-eat-it approach isn’t always easy for companies to work with.
The Sharebot: kickstarting the sharing economy (actual Sharebots may differ in appearance and functionality from the above representations)
One strategy that has worked well is gamification, or the introduction of game-like elements such as point-scoring, competition and rewards into marketing activities. Games like Bubble Witch Saga, which uses tokens that provide benefits within the company’s product range and disperses these tokens for users to distribute to friends and family (thereby recruiting new people from their customer’s social circles), is the perfect example. Blockchain implementations in general, and Sharebot in particular, have much to offer for such an approach, says Ronny. After all, if you make something fun, it will market itself.
Meet the sharebot
Imagine liking or following a company on Facebook or Twitter and being rewarded by tokens - cryptographically secure and transferred in a matter of seconds - for your loyalty. You could redeem these for products and services from the brand in question, send them to your friends and family, or sell them at market rates at a supporting exchange. It’s that kind of utility and low entry barrier that Ronny and Sharebits.io co-founder, BeyondBitcoin.org’s Justin Fondriest, are aiming to provide. The Sharebot is built on the Bitshares protocol, and fiat/crypto exchange facilities are provided by OpenLedger, Bitshares’ de facto exchange, for which CCEDK is the Danish registrant. The bot currently supports Twitter, Reddit and URL links to deliver a company’s tokens to its supporters users, but with the release of an open source API developers will be able to use it for just about anything they want.
It’s a fun and meaningful way of engaging, but the implications go far beyond corporate marketing. After all, this is a way of transferring value around the world in seconds, using social media profiles as identifiers. ‘It would take three seconds for supporters of any of the world’s humanitarian organisations like WFP, CARE, OXFAM, IFRC, AAH, and so on, to transfer money across the world via Twitter or other social media, to needy parties after a mudslide or earthquake, with well over 90% of value reaching its intended destination,’ suggests Ronny. ‘This is something unheard of in with our present infrastructure. Combine this with a crypto debit card like the NanoCard and you enable easy access to fiat money or instant payments at point of sale terminals, worldwide. This is a major contender for the most important functionality of blockchain technology.’
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