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My Fake Coffee Shop -or- Local Audience Twitter Favoriting

Today I made the decision to shut down King's Cross Coffee, the potentially-popular coffee shop that existed only in the hearts and minds of coffee-drinking Ann Arborites. I decided to shut it down because people were actually going there. It didn't seem fair, and I'd proved my point.

I'd been experimenting with the concept of automatically favoriting tweets from a local audience as a way of driving traffic. I set up a product called LocalFavorite which takes a search term and location range and favorites 3 tweets each hour.

The Experiment

Can a brand with no real-world presence build a legitimate following by Twitter favorites alone?

To control my variables, I created the Twitter account @KingsCrossCafe, a realistic-looking coffee shop in Ann Arbor, MI. I gave it a few photos, a real address, a bit.ly link, and posted a few tweets. Then I began automatically favoriting anyone in the Ann Arbor area that mentions 'coffee' or being 'tired'.

Little by little followers started to trickle in. A few retweets, and replies. This was building some genuine excitement.

In the end, I managed to attract 46 followers. Not a huge number by Twitter standards, but most of them were real locals and potential customers.

Even the Bit.ly link showed some hits.

This tweet showed up today, so I decided to call it quits. I don't want to ruin someone's day.

Conclusion

This was a brand whose only presence in the real world was Twitter favoriting, and people actually showed up to the physical address ready to spend. The test demonstrates that- used appropriately- automatically favoriting can augment a social media strategy and attract local customers.

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