A successful social media promotion can earn you hundreds or thousands of new fans, generate countless leads, and help you build your brand online. They’re also an excellent way to engage with your existing fan base, build an email list for future marketing efforts, and help you make the most of your social media profiles. However, anyone who aspires to run a successful social media promotional campaign should first take the time to learn the ins and outs. Creating a successful campaign is far from rocket science, but having a solid grasp of what works and why can help ensure that your efforts will be as effective as possible.
Building the Right Campaign
When you’re creating a social media campaign, you have a fairly broad range of options at your disposal, from voting contests and interactive quizzes to newsletter sign-ups and sweepstakes. Depending on the type of campaign you choose to run, the outcomes can change drastically. That’s why the first step to building the right campaign for your business is to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
For example, a sweepstakes will maximize the number of participants that you will get, and will require little effort to carry out, but those contests aren’t very good at leveraging viral outreach for your page. A photo contest will get your fans engaged with your brand, and drive traffic to your page as each participant shares their submission on their timeline, but the effort required to participate will discourage many people from entering, making it less suitable getting people to sign up for a newsletter or collecting emails.
As the most popular social network on the planet, Facebook has long been one of the most popular places to run a social media contest. Until recently, the most common way of running a campaign on Facebook was with the use of like-gating, which is the practice of keeping content or contest entries restricted to those who like your page. However, back in August, Facebook banned the use of gating content with likes, effectively destroying one of the most effective staples of content marketing on that platform.
But there’s no reason to despair. An up-and-coming alternative to like-gating has already emerged, and it’s called action-gating. The idea behind action-gating is asking your users to do something in order to receive a reward from your brand. For example, you could ask your users to vote in a poll, or to share their email with you, and then reward them with promotional material or access to a giveaway. Regardless of what kind of promotion you’re running, action-gating enables you to carefully the track the returns for your efforts. It also makes your promotions available to your entire audience, unlike like-gating, works on virtually any social network.
Spreading the Word
Three quarters of the success of any social media campaign can be attributed to its promotion, and there are dozens of ways to promote your campaign. Several of the best promotional tools are free or cost little because they’re resources that you can use on your site or social media profiles. One of the easiest ways to promote your campaign is to design it so sharing is built-in to incentivize participants to share your page, like when you allow participants and increased chance to win for sharing.
Of course, even if your campaign is primarily hosted on a site like Facebook, you still want users on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and the rest of the major social media sites to know all about it. When you make it easy for people to tell their friends about the promotion, and you incentivize sharing with the possibility of rewards, you can help to ensure the success of your campaign. You should also tell your website audience in case you have visitors there who don’t follow you on social networks, or who missed your post. Alerting those people is easily done with the use of a tool like Hello Bar, which can help you create header notifications for your site to alert people to your upcoming or ongoing promotion.
One of the most common mistakes companies make when getting started with their first social media promotion is to give away prizes that are expensive, like a new smartphone or tablet, but not necessarily prizes which are aligned with their brand. Even though a new iPad is sure to catch the attention of many, if you’re in the aquarium niche, it’s not a prize that is specifically targeted towards consumers that may become future leads.
In most cases, you’ll be better off offering a prize that allows you to showcase your own services or products. The value of the prize doesn’t have to be phenomenal, but it should warrant the amount of effort that it takes to participate in your contest. For example, if you’re giving away a 30% off coupon, the appropriate amount of effort is something like filling out a form or handing over an email address. On the other hand, if you’re giving away an all-expenses paid vacation to the Bahamas, you can raise the bar for entry and require your participants to send in photos, videos, and the like.
Reduce Your Required Form Fields
Form fields are the most basic way of collecting information from social media campaign participants because they have a very low barrier to entry. The majority of your audience is probably willing to share some of their personal information in order to get their hands on a coupon or entry to a contest. When you’re designing an entry form, you can ask your participants nearly anything, and will probably be tempted to try and get as much information as possible.
However, this can be a serious mistake because the more information you ask for, the less your participants will want to give you. For each form field that you require on your sign-up sheet, your opt-in rate will go down by about 10%. That means even though you can ask for a lot of information, you should only require the information that is the most valuable to your future marketing efforts, and leave the remaining fields optional.