Look, the holidays are creeping up on us fast. Is your marketing ready? Whether or not you have a promotion in the works you’ll want to make it social. In case you need a refresh on why, here are a few benefits of integrating social media to your promotion, giveaway or contest:
- Increases people reached through sharing by others.
- Data capture opportunities.
- Grow audience on social media channels.
- More fun than a simple entry form.
- Requires higher commitment from participants to create something, share or comment, increasing time spent with your brand and engagement metrics.
I bet you can think of more. Let’s face it, lack of a social element in a campaign today just shows lack of sophistication. There are many ways to do it. Here are just a few simple tactics to add to your bag.
Create An Editorial Calendar
This might sound oversimplified but content planning is an important part of well-rounded social media program. Don’t miss the mark on important holidays and events when your brand should be connecting with its audience.
Mark Your Calendar:
- Halloween, Thurs Oct. 31
- Thanksgiving, Thurs Nov. 28
- Black Friday, Nov. 29
- Cyber Monday, Dec. 2
- Hanukah, Nov. 28 – Dec. 5
- Christmas Eve, Tues Dec. 24
- Christmas Day, Wed Dec. 25
- New Year’s Eve, Tues Dec. 31
- Last Day to ship on time for Christmas delivery
Research obscure and wacky holidays that align with your branding. There’s something for everyone, believe me.
You might ask yourself, “are my customers still using social media on holidays like Christmas?” Sure they are. In fact, these are the busiest days of the year. Just remember that people are there to celebrate and send best wishes to friends and family, so keep it light. Save the hard sell for Cyber Monday.
Keep It Simple
The biggest mistake I see made in social media contests is over complicated execution. People expect to do most things in one click and more importantly understand the offer at a glance. If your contest requires two paragraphs of instructions you’re doing it wrong. This stuff takes time to do for participants, even filling out a simple form. No one will be willing to run out to take a photo of your product on the store shelf, with one hand raised showing your brand tattooed on their wrist, then return to your Facebook page to follow you on Twitter using four hash tags, and submit their photo via email, to enter to win. Keep it simple. Focus on one or two tasks max. Be able to explain it at a glance. The harder you make it to do in seconds right then and there, the less participation you’ll get. Conversion rates can drop from 10% to less than 2% with each step involving user-generated content.
Clever brands are not just planning ahead and allowing their promotions to run on autopilot. They are putting real people on the front lines of their social media channels to listen, respond, and capture opportunities to engage in realtime topics.
Last year Best Buy decided to give their Black Friday shoppers something to do in line. The #inlineatbestbuy Black Friday Tweet To Win Contest started at 8pm on Thursday and ended at 6am Friday. Customers tweeted using their smartphone while waiting in line to win concert tickets and up to $10,000 gift cards. Better to sooth the mob with Twitter fun than the typical angry door busting, huh?
Think Outside The Facebook
Now that so many of us are comfortable with Facebook it sometimes can feel like that’s all there is. There’s a world of social networks out there that your customers are using and just waiting for your brand to bring on the action on. And, ways you can incorporate a contest or social media feature to your blog or website with little effort.
Ten Types of Social Media Promotions/Contests:
- Hashtag contest on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest
- Visual content and photos contest on Instagram or Pinterest
- Sharing with friends contest on Twitter or Facebook
- Tweet to win or uncover a prize or download – check out this clever Hanukkah: What’s your #jewishstory contest on Twitter
- Pin to win items that users take or from your website or shopping cart to Pinterest boards they create
- Facebook comment contest
- Facebook gifting
- Win with friends, you enter plus your friend and you both win
- Blog contest, comment to win
- Create and share using an app like MakeMeZombie
Stick To Guidelines
If you do decide to use Facebook for a promotion be sure to stick to their guidelines. It’s easy using apps like OfferPop or Rafflecopter to host your contest entries. The key is not asking people to enter to win by posting to the Timeline.
Facebook guidelines can be difficult to decipher. I like this simple breakdown from Rafflecopter, Facebook Giveaway / Contest Rules & Regulations Explained.
This year Pinterest released their own guidelines for running promotions properly using pins and boards, and more. Read them here.
Twitter continues to be loose. Anything goes. As long as it’s in 140 characters…
Instagram has not released guidelines yet. You can be sure they will at some point since they are under the Facebook umbrella. Until then just be sure to use a unique contest hashtag and ask for original real photos.
Make It Shareable
Add sharing buttons to everything. For websites or blogs use Sharethis.com or Addthis.com to easily embed one click sharing actions to your page. They can also be added to a Facebook app if sharing is not already included. Sharing buttons are typically part of a Facebook contest app package unless you’re building an app tab from scratch or using a lame app that isn’t social. Good places to display sharing buttons are on the landing page and entry submission confirmation. If you think about it, once you create or post something, the next logical step is to share what you did with friends. Don’t limit sharing buttons. A Facebook contest can still be shared on Twitter.
These are just a few simple ways to incorporate social media to your holiday promotion or contest. You still have time to plan! Plan well because execution is everything when it comes to social. While technology and tools are important people are still a big part of the equation. Be sure to put an experienced community manager on the front lines to direct and respond to communications in realtime. With a user generated content format you will need moderation. But most importantly make it simple and fun!