Our world is increasingly consumed by digital media. SmartPhones, tablets and other devices with WiFi and 4G have made it possible for the modern consumer to be consistently immersed in information. As a business, how do you leverage yourself in a way that stands out from the crowd? How can you capture the attention of your target audience when you are competing with so many other companies with the same goal?
If you can’t beat them, join them! Many businesses have had great success from leveraging the community building capabilities of social media. When it comes to popularity, social media sure does understand the definition. According to industry statistics, over half of the population of the United States is using social media. Of that percentage of people, over 1 billion of them are on Facebook. Are you utilizing social media to your advantage?
As a business owner, if you already are, this is great news. However, simply having a presence on Facebook is no longer enough. Social media is all about engagement, and engagement can be hard to come by when your target audience is already so overwhelmed with information overload. This leads to business owners looking for new and creative ways to reach their audience, engage them, and keep them coming back for more.
Like This, Not That
When it comes to the leading social media network, Facebook, one of the most essential things a brand wants to do is generate a following. Once an individual “likes” your page, any updates you add to that page are visible in their news feed. This is great! It’s just like having “free” promotion!
But what happens when everyone else seems to be getting the likes, and you’re spending all of your time posting relevant content, only to receive no engagement? You take a different route!
Working with clients who use social media to leverage their connection to customers — both current and prospective — I have seen many trends come and go. One innovation that I do not foresee going anywhere, however, is the concept of a Facebook contest.
Who doesn’t like to win a free prize? We’ve seen brands grow from zero to 700 followers simply by hosting a contest on social media. Not only do you draw buzz around your brand, but you have the opportunity to form new relationships with prospective clients, competitors, current clients and social media users all around the web.
According to Social Media Examiner, 40% of Facebook users will “like” a business page if they become interested in offers, contests of discounts provided by the company through their social media channels. This is great news for businesses. If social media is all about engagement, and engagement can be fostered through a creative contest, it’s surely a no brainer when you ask the question “Do I run a contest?”
The next question, however, may not seem so easy. How do I run a successful Facebook contest for my brand?
Easy as 1, 2, 3
The idea of running a successful Facebook contest or promotion should not be something that you fear! With some innovation, creativity and attention to detail, you too can increase your following and excite your fans, today!
First, think about the specific goal of your promotion. Do you want to generate more likes, or are you looking for increased engagement? There is a difference between the two, and you will want to determine this immediately. This will dictate the type of contest you run. Second, ask yourself what you are willing to spend for the contest. Obviously, everyone loves to win a prize. Will you be giving away gift cards? Will you spend additional budget money on promotion outside of Facebook, and of course, what outside app are you using to run the contest?
Ah of course, you might now be wondering about the outside app, right? Facebook has specific terms and conditions about running a contest. One of the most important rules is this: you must use a third-party app to comply with any contest and promotional guidelines.
Here are some third-party apps I have seen clients use successfully and with ease:
Keep in mind that although some of these apps require a fee, they make it virtually effortless to comply with the rules and guidelines and also to run a successful contest.
Finally, the third and final part of the contest: what will make it successful?
Don’t Go At It Alone
Use your leverage. The most successful campaigns are that way because they understand the value of partnering up. There are plenty of businesses out there in your target audience that have been successful. Use them to your advantage.
Consider partnering with a company or local charity for your contest. Often, other companies are willing to join in on your efforts and provide an incentive — they get free publicity and you get an awesome prize and the buzz of their followers.
Intrigue Your Audience
In order to generate a buzz, create engagement and get people excited about your contest you want to have a strategy.
- Make sure your prize is enticing
- Create a contest idea that is engaging ñ social media is about interaction, fun and entertainment. Photo contests are great. Who doesn’t love a cute baby or pet?
- Keep the rules simple
- Always have a plan
- Promote the contest extensively – you will want to do this before, during and even after! Utilize your resources. Have your employees promote the contest, use your other social networks, and, most importantly, let your customers know by word of mouth, too! This is really the most important piece of the puzzle in my opinion. It is just as important to promote the contest as it is to run it. It really won’t do you much good to give something away if no one is around to get excited about it!
Don’t believe it can be done? Creating a contest that has gained traction on social media and generated results is something I have seen in many brands.
- Partee Insurance: Every Wednesday, this California insurance agency runs a game of Hangman from their agency Facebook page. The staff promotes and shares the contest throughout the day and the best part? The winner gets a stuffed cow! Why a stuffed cow you ask? Cee Cee the Cow is the mascot of Partee Insurance. Not only has this business increased their following to well over 800 likes, but they engage their customers on a weekly basis! The consistency of the contest is imperative to its success, and with the prize being a brand related item, it only furthers the awareness they are generating!
- The Weimer Group: This Pennsylvania insurance agency takes the local partnership recommendation for success and runs with it! What are the rules? Like and share their business page to enter. Simple, isn’t it? Together with local businesses, the agency gives away prizes, weekly. By encouraging individuals to share the rules, images and contest promotion as an entry, they are creating a viral buzz- increasing their following, promoting to new individuals, and raising their brand awareness. With over 600 likes on their business page, it’s clear they are doing something right!
Looking for something a bit more global? Check out Dunkin Donuts.
This is a brand that has taken to social media contests and made them incredibly successful. Whether on their regional, local or national level, Dunkin Donuts uses images, hashtags and shares to generate a buzz. In their most recent campaign, the company is encouraging coffee lovers everywhere to post the ways their iced coffees put a spring in their step on Vine and tag the post with the hashtag #IceDD. Winners earn cash or free coffee.
Take a look at what they’re doing:
- Cross-promotion across multiple social networking platforms
- Offering a cash prize
- Offering a brand related prize
- Utilizing hashtags to promote brand recognition
- Encouraging users to create unique content that is shared all over the web — “free” brand promotion.
Get Started Today
So tell me, what are you waiting for? Get together with your team and think of a creative idea and run with it! What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll gain some followers, perhaps a few new local business partners and friends, and hey… perhaps some new customers, too!
John Boudreau, COO and Co-Founder of Astonish, has been in the insurance marketing and technology business for nearly 10 years. Clients of the Astonish digital marketing system often have outstanding results as described in this Astonish results review.