Ideas > Media Dollars: Using Facebook To Make the World Love Obermutten

ObermuttenChances are, you’ve never heard of the tiny Swiss mountain hamlet of Obermutten. We certainly hadn’t. But this article from Europe’s Digital Tourism Think Tank describes how a remote picturesque town with a mere 80 villagers created a viral sensation by taking a decidedly personal approach.

The offer was remarkably simple: if you liked Obermutten’s tourism page on Facebook, the town would print out your picture and pin it to a bulletin board in the town square.

That’s it. No t-shirt, no cash, no cars; just that most human of rewards–recognition. They also promised to answer any question posted on their page.

The response started slowly. Here’s an early video showing the town Mayor pinning up the first ten likes. In short order, they would need a bigger board and eventually, the postings would cover every major wall in the town.

Maybe it was the direct engagement. Maybe it was the palpable sense of participation. Maybe it was the simple reward of being part of something. Whatever the reason, this unassuming idea made Obermutten’s the most liked Facebook page in Switzerland. Before long, their quirky campaign was picked up by the international media and tourists began flocking to this town in droves. Within six months, Obermutten attracted over 60 million fans from 32 countries.

And the real kicker? The total investment totaled just over $11,000 US, for an ROI of $2,500,000 in tourism increases and media attention. That’s a multiple of 240.

There are lessons here for digital and social marketers;

  1. Keep things simple and whenever possible, make them personal.
  2. Create delight by engaging directly.
  3. If at all possible, build a community to belong to.

It’s like the old theme song from Cheers: “You want to go where everybody knows your name.” Or face.

Mike & Dennis

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