Flock to Unlock

Twitter recently launched its Flock to Unlock feature and it’s already making waves.  Several brands – including Puma, Bonobos and the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week – are already using it successfully to increase followers and engagement.

Since we’ve been talking about the ways social media are now part of PR, one of the most interesting things I’ve seen lately is how brands are using online influencers – and this new use of them in Flock to Unlock campaigns is worth a mention.

These new Twitter campaigns incentivize followers in spreading a brand’s message by asking them to retweet in order to unlock exclusive unknown content (interesting note: Facebook just banned Like-Gating, so Twitter is taking the opposite approach). The one that seems to have gotten the most tweets last week was Puma, who was using the new feature to showcase their new upcoming TV ads.

Here’s how it works:

With Flock to Unlock, Puma – with the #ForeverFaster hashtag and associated tagline – challenged fans to retweet in order to “unlock” new ads.  Those who unlocked it would be the first to see the ad, 2 days before TV viewers. Although the exact number of tweets needed to unlock the content was not posted, followers saw a bar graph of how far they had come and how far they had to go, by percentage.

Here’s where it gets really interesting, from the PR spokesperson perspective: Puma involved their sponsored athletes.  Usain Bolt, Mario Balotelli, Lexi Thompson, Jamaal Charles, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jadeveon Clowney all tweeted the information about the reward.  This is a great example of Puma cleverly using their sponsored athletes as online influencers.  If this trend continues, hey – Katy Perry might get a shoe deal.

Here are some of the tweets from the campaign:

Flock to Unlock tweet


Flock to Unlock Mario Balotelli


 3 Tips for Creating a Great Flock to Unlock Campaign

  1. Create an incentive that is both appealing and extraordinary: Make the exclusive content a prize worth tweeting for!  Fans like anything exclusive or brand new.
  2. Tweet at the right time of day. You know your audience: target them at the times they’re more likely to be online and actively engaged!
  3. Content matters: Use rich media in your tweets, including photos or videos, celebrity images, and catchy language

It will be interesting to see how many more brands jump on the ‘Flock to Unlock’ feature, (or should we say fly to it?).  Also, the ways they use online influencers will be something to pay attention to. So, look for the hashtag #FlocktoUnlock – I’ll surely be keeping my eyes peeled for it. Overall, I would say that this new feature by Twitter is quite a coup.