Social promotions can be cheap and fun way to build and engage your community. Social promotions can also be a great way to attract lots of promotions hounds who will never buy your product or interact with your social accounts or content following the promotions period.
Building the right social promotion can give your social marketing efforts a real kick. Building the wrong ones can do a great deal of harm.
Build the right social promotion require the skillful manipulation of the following five components: the platform, the messaging, the means of entry, the prize and the follow up messaging. Skillfully crafting each of these five components can enable incredible success.
Below are my 10 rules of the road for social promotions:
- Start with a business strategy.
Getting to 10 million Facebook fans is not a business strategy. Generating awareness of a new product is a tactic in service of a strategy. If you find yourself pressed for scale and do not have the ability to reorient your management's perception of your core metrics, consider how your social promotions can serve a broader strategy over time.
Every brand should have a social voice and a brand personality. Don't sell your soul and flush millions of dollars in branding down the drain for a sleazy giveaway. Make the promotion speak to your brand personality and your consumer lifestyle.
- Target the right audience.
Build your promotion for your desired audience. Manipulate everything from your messaging and prizing through the means to entry to target this audience. Remember that many others outside of your target may participate. Consider how much spillover into other demographics you are willing to tolerate, and narrowing your promotional components appropriately.
- Build the right launch plan.
Despite the hype, most social promotions fall fairly flat for two reasons:
A) Contests that are less than remarkable aren't going to generate share-worthy conversations. Make your promotional content, user actions and/or prizes conversation-worthy.
B) The marketer fails to support the promotion through repeated messaging throughout the life of the promotion. Not everyone reads everything the brand broadcasts. Secondary messages should not be identical to the initial messages, and should add new information or value to those that have already read the additional message.
- Carefully craft your entry/participation action requirements.
Many brand managers dream of the great video entries fans will create for them on the chance of winning an iPad. However, creating, editing and uploading a video requires an incredible amount of effort. Many people don't have the tools, time or bandwidth. If you are a photo-video store targeting home video enthusiasts, a video contest may be appropriate. But if you a kitchen appliance brand targeting wealthy mothers in their 30s and 40s, requiring high production value video isn't going to work quite as well.
- Consider the role of sharing.
Sharing as a means of entry is a great way to generate awareness of your brand and promotions. However, many Twitter contests involve sharing generic, canned messaging as a means of entry. While this generates broad exposure, it will not create advocacy. Asking people to spam their friends in exchange for an entry does more harm than good.
- Carefully consider fullfillment.
Many contests invite people to Tweet with a hashtag or leave a comment on a blog of Facebook page. In order to award the prize, you will need to be able to communicate with the winner in private - I wouldn't recommend asking for someone's mailing address or phone number in public. Get your ducks in a row before you run into trouble.
- Remember that social is generally global.
Different states within the US have different legal regulations governing contests and promotions, as do many countries and territories across the world. Regional restrictions for contests are often neccesary. Including all of this legal information in a tweet can be difficult. While a link to additional information is a generally recommended best practice, be sure to work with your legal team to determine the legality of your promotional matierals. On a final note, remember that Facebook tabs are by default visible to all regions.
- Know the platform rules of the road.
Facebook Promotions in particular, can be very tricky for the uninitiated. Read their policy, carefully. Do not play games with Facebook.
As a general rule of thumb,
- Avoid utilizing Facebook's native functionality - Liking, sharing, commenting, tagging or uploading media using Facebook's native tools - as the final means of entry. This functionality can be used as part of the means of entry, but not the means of entry. For example, you could require that someone Like a page and then enter their email address into a form on a tab in order to enter. However, you cannot run a promotion that only requires a Like and a comment on a wall post as a means of entry.
- Build contests and promotions into tabs rather than hosting them on the wall. Be sure to disclose that Facebook is in no way associated with your contest or promotion on the front page of the promotions tab.
Facebook has measures in place for detecting and removing off-policy promotions. Do it right, or dont' do it all.
- Prepare your new fans for the transition to marketing.
People will continue to engage your page as long as your continue to provide value to them. Organize your value-generating experiences and messaging transition plan in advance of your final contest date.
- Build in metrics from the start, report regularly.
Numbers don't lie. But they can be deceiving. Your metrics solution must be a direct reflection of your business objectives. If your goal is to build a content library, fifty thousand new fans would be a failure whereas a few thousand video entries may be an incredible success.
Regular reporting will give you an early warning sign if things aren't going right. The first two weeks of a six week promotion should be a barometer that directs the following four weeks of activity.
Finally, Reporting and sharing your success is just as important to your team and your career as the actual business performance. If you do something great, talk about it. Get social!