Give and you shall receive. This life truth is also how social media works. In fact, it's what motivates consumers to Like a brand on Facebook. If a brand gives consumers a promotion they value; that brand receives their support and sharing with others. Sounds like a fair exchange to me.
It used to be businesses had to buy or rent list to have this kind of value exchange with consumers. Now, apps and software from companies like Wildfire
and Buddy Media
make it easy to build it instead of buy it. Whether your business is a local pilate studio or Pillsbury, cost shouldn't be a barrier to entry. Social promotions can get started with low out of pocket costs.
What an example of a social promotion? Rutgers University is running a sweepstakes now to win tuition for one of the university's Mini-MBA programs and a new iPad ($5000 value). It's running from July 5th through August 27. What's it look like? Go to their brand's Facebook page
Here is how Rutgers is expecting to build business and ROI using social promotions and 10 steps to take.
- DEFINE BUSINESS GOALS: In this case, the goal is to create awareness of the Mini-MBA programs and generate tuition revenue that exceeds the cost of the promotion. Although promotions costs cannot be disclosed, a Mini-MBA costs from $3,300 to $5,000 to attend and it won't take too many new tuitions for Rutgers to be in the black.
- CREATE A MEANINGFUL OFFER: The offer is the centerpiece of any social media promotion. Dollar value helps but more important is there is brand affinity and involvement with the audience.
- ESTABLISH MEASUREMENTS: Since registration occurs on their website, Google Analytics are being used to measure: 1) How many new visitors 2) where they come from, 3) what pages they view and 4) do they go to the registration page. Facebook Insights is being used to measure: 1) Reach, 2) Likes, 3) sharing 4) engagement and 5) people who are talking about it. Booshaka is being used to measure advocates on Facebook.
- SUPPORT THE PROMOTION: A very small percentage of promotions go viral on their own. Virtually all require regular support. In this case, a PR release, email newsletters, frequent postings and Facebook ads, as needed, are being employed.
- BE TIMELY IN RESPONSE: You don't have to be perfect in execution but, to build trust, you have to offer timely response if someone has a question or a problem. You have to show you bent over backwards to address it.
- MONITOR THE BUZZ: There are many blogs that exists to let others know where the best sweepstakes, coupons and offers are on the internet. Find them through a Google Search and see if your brand is receiving mention. These serve as free advertising for your promotion. You can also how much traffic these websites get on Alexa or Compete and develop relationships through comments with the bloggers.
- BUILD A DATABASE: Everyone who enter is now in your database. They are a brand asset for future communications.
- CONDUCT CONSUMER RESEARCH: One of the ways the database can be used is for survey research at a fraction of the cost of traditional market research.
- TAKE RULES AND REGULATIONS SERIOUSLY: Available apps have the space for rules and regulation but you have to write them. There are important legality to any promotion. Fortunately, there are enough brands in many categories doing social media promotion to offer direction. For this promotion, rules and regulations had to be approved by legal counsel and two Deans.
- BE IN IT TO WIN IT FOR THE LONG TERM: Social media promotions are scalable and sustainable. Once you have the results and learning, they are meant to be repeated, revised or reworked. With each iteration, they continue to build business with measurable ROI.
Would you consider social media promotions for your business? Will you be entering Rutgers sweepstakes to Win Mini-MBI Tuition and a New iPad?