Bands have been using “street teams” for some time – unpaid fans that spread the word amongst their mates in return for something exclusive (priority tour bookings, the odd badge, that sort of thing). It’s a clever extension of the Fan Club, where the fans get to feel involved and the band get some marketing out if it too (although real fans would be spreading the word anyway perhaps).
The British Red Cross is trying something similar online; 15-25s can sign up to be a “Red Recruit” and spread the message of the charity across their social networks:
“the initiative will establish a community of online youth ambassadors who are endorsed as official Red Cross representatives. Each ‘Red Recruit’ will be entrusted with driving awareness of campaigns across their social networks and helping to plan the future direction of digital activity and youth initiatives.
The scheme is initially being rolled out across Facebook and Bebo, where a number of consultation mechanisms are already in place, including online polls and quizzes, recruitment for an advisory youth board and online discussions with the organisation’s international experts returning from mission.”
It sounds like a win-win situation, a clever move and one to watch with interest.