Planned and executed effectively, social media contests and promotions have significant potential to help companies expand their breadth and depth of engagement with customers, grow their fan base, and identify their most passionate advocates. Companies have a plethora of options and opportunities with respect to creating promotions that will truly resonate and drive business. The primary challenge, however, lies in gaining people’s time and attention to participate amidst an increasingly fragmented media landscape.
Recently, I had an opportunity to chat about contests and promotions with Joeline Hackman, Director of Marketing at Strutta. Strutta, a Vancouver-based company, provides tools and expertise to power online promotions for companies, and possesses a top tier client list that includes Microsoft, Edelman and Coca-Cola. Joeline shared insights on the evolving social media landscape for promotions, as well as best practices that can help companies achieve success.
Q: How have brand metrics with respect to online promotions and contests evolved?
A: I feel like we’ve gone from a stage where people are counting likes and followers to one in which measurement is focused on engagement through shares, retweets and mentions. It’s also about identifying who those people are that are engaging with your brand, being able to talk with them directly, and identifying top influencers. It sets up this ecosystem where you can identify the most valuable nodes and communicate with them.
Q: How has Facebook’s switch to Timeline impacted social and promotional apps?
A: For us it’s all about engagement. I understand that Timeline has really impacted the experience on Facebook. It’s been mandatory for people to switch over, it was done so that there is more real estate on Facebook where people can engage on a company’s page with photos and other posts, with highlighted relevant content bubbling to the top. Tabs are still at the top and companies can directly link to them on their walls, using an image or any other content. It’s been great because it’s made Facebook a more immersive experience, and more valuable. Rather than just being a constant newsfeed, people have been able to assign a quality score to posts and drive traffic to elements within Facebook that are most relevant. With our clients, they post interesting content from within the contests, which drives more engagement from their fans.
Q: What best practices should companies consider in order to achieve maximum value and ROI from promotions? Are there any common traits you notice in successful promotions?
A: Just be responsive and engage with your audiences. Social is social. I see a lot of companies publish things, and there’s not that interaction. For us, we encourage companies to take us much data as they can – and understand there are individuals behind the data. Someone’s talking to you, then respond, take information and demonstrate you’ve listened.
Also, the prize should be commensurate with the value of what you’re asking someone to do. If you’re just asking someone to enter a basic sweepstakes, then there are guidelines for the value of the prize based on the amount of people you expect to participate. If asking people to enter a video for the contest, the prize has to be a lot more indicative of the effort involved. We recommend prizes are unique to your brand, no one is going to be engaged over period of time to win free iPad. We encourage companies to create unique experiences.
What are your thoughts on online promotions and contests? Do you have any best practices you’d like to share, or perhaps examples of innovative and effective promotions that have truly led to positive business results?