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Blockheads leverages social, mobile for continued engagement

December 31, 2013

Blockhead's Instagram feed

New York-based restaurant Blockheads is making a strong push into mobile and social to drive consumer engagement and increase store traffic.

Blockheads is leveraging Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for various promotions and deals. The restaurant works with Bullfrog and Baum for all of its social media efforts.

“What we’re trying to do with Blockheads is explore as much as possible all the different outlets platforms online to see how we can gain a relationship with our customers,” said Marianna Castro, digital media manager at Bullfrog and Baum, New York. “Blockheads sees the beauty of social media so they give us the freedom to explore the different options.

“I think especially with Instagram, people have become pretty obsessed with taking photos of what they’re eating and where they’re at, where they’re enjoying time with their friends, it’s just become a very ‘look-at-me’ type of mentality with all this social media,” she said.

“We saw a lot of movement with Blockheads because it’s a place you go when you’re with your friends and having a good time surrounded by people. Blockheads is pretty fun because they have that whole easygoing atmosphere at the restaurant and it’s pretty casual and that’s how social media is.”

Snap deals
Placemats at Blockheads are divided up into a number of different promotions. One section encourages diners to add Blockheads as a Snapchat friend.

Once they do so, Blockheads will send them special deals. Consumers can then screenshot the snap and bring it in to any Blockheads location to redeem the offer.

Blockheads plans to send out its first snap-deal in January, but the restaurant wanted to gather followers before beginning the promotion side.

As Snapchat has become trendier and more popular, it has presented a prime opportunity for brands to create more personal relationships with consumers (see story).

Blockheads is not the only brand leveraging the new platform. Taco Bell, Acura and Karmaloop have all started building a presence on Snapchat as well.

The platform enables brands to get creative and form a one-to-one connection with consumers. If a consumer receives a snap from Blockheads with a special deal, he or she is more likely to get excited and redeem the deal than if the deal was publicized on Facebook for all to see.

The in-store signage

Another mobile social promotion that Blockheads has already rolled out is its #FanFriday program. The program asks consumers to take a photo at Blockheads and post it to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

If consumers tag @blockheadsNYC, they will be eligible to win a $10 gift card to Blockheads. One winner is announced every Friday.

This promotion yields many benefits for Blockheads.

First of all, its social media presence will balloon with all of the tags and photos. This in turn raises awareness and makes Blockheads more known among consumers, meaning more potential customers.

Additionally, the photo has to be taken inside of Blockheads, so this can drive in-store traffic as well.

Finally, the gift card prize is enough to drive consumers to Blockheads and will most likely turn out more profit for the restaurant, as most diners do not show up alone.

Asking consumers to share photos in a store or with a branded poster is becoming more popular for marketers. The selfie especially has become a popular trend on social media, with consumers posting and sharing images of themselves in creative and fun ways (see story).

Blockheads is wise for tapping into both the Snapchat trend and the selfie trend —campaigns that require fairly low costs and efforts but can return engagement and even ROI.

“Twitter, Vine, Instagram and now Snapchat are giving brands a more creative platform for social marketing than simply buying sponsored and promoted content,” said Gary Schwartz, Toronto-based author of “The Impulse Economy” and “Fast Shopper, Slow Store.”

Mr. Schwartz is not affiliated with Blockheads. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

“There is an intimacy to these channels, and early adopters such as the New Orleans Saints and Karmaloop have successfully used their Snapchat account for ‘behind the scenes’ news and deals,” he said.

“Using Instagram and Snapchat’s peekaboo messaging for margarita deals and user-generated content is a good first step. Long term being creative with Snapchat Stories that loop forward every 24 hours will allow for more brand narrative.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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