Start Thinking About Summer Themed Promotions

We know, we know…  Summer is still a few months away but the weather is changing and the anticipation is rising.  Now is a perfect time to begin thinking about summer themed promotions and to introduce your fans to products geared for the summer season.  Tailor your product or service to the summer season and create a fun promotion that encourages them to use your brand.  Take advantage of what is top of mind for your fans and incorporate these ideas into your prizes. This could be a free beach getaway, fun and practical ways to stay cool, summer concerts and barbeques, and summer clothing.

It is a great idea to use the many summer holidays as a theme for your campaign.  There are many different audiences you can target when focusing on specific holidays or events.  One event that has a large target audience is graduation and the end of the school year.  Students anticipate the summer holiday all year and it is a perfect opportunity to capture their attention with a fun contest or sweepstakes.  Father’s Day is another holiday that provides a great opportunity for a promotion.  These promotions can incorporate photo or video contests that capture a father-son or father-daughter moment and can include great gifts and products for Dad to enjoy. The 4th of July is also another holiday that has a huge audience. The 4th of July is a holiday that incorporates events such as fireworks, barbeques, and parades.  These events are great opportunities to focus your promotion on.

Get your audience involved with summer themed photo or video contests that encourage them to document how they are enjoying the sun.  For more information on fun ways to engage fans contact us today!


5 Steps: Make Your Promotion A Social Campaign

If you’ve experienced success with social promotions-Facebook promotions, YouTube video contests, a photo-driven Twitter giveaway- its time to graduate to the next level of social marketing. Stop running promotions and start running social campaigns!

What’s the difference?

Promotions are a marketing event. Vehicles for generating brand buzz, making an announcement, introducing a product, extending an offer. They are the single best tool for converting social followers to customers, getting them to take action. Countless research efforts have shown that about two-thirds of your audience follows brands on social channels mostly to receive some kind of an offer. So promotions are the fundamental building block of your social strategy

And a promotion is part of a campaign. A campaign includes the components that ensure more people see your promotion, share it, come back to it, and more likely become customers.  A campaign leaves you with a metrics-driven understanding of the promotion’s success, and definitive next steps to continue engaging and monetizing your audience.

We are laser focused on adding the features that help you turn your promotion into a complete campaign. Earlier this week, we released expanded Campaign Analytics into our Standard Apps editions. This is the latest capability we’ve adapted from Votigo’s complete Social Marketing Suite, enabling our DIY users to build a campaign around their promotion.

With that, here are 5 Steps for Turning Your Promotion Into A Social Campaign- plus which Votigo features you should count on at each step.

1) Pre-Cultivate Your Audience

It’s not ideal to START with a promotion. If you’re just getting into social marketing, or a new social channel (Pinterest for example), begin by inviting people to follow you there. Your email list, your in-store customers, your website visitors.  Then, engage them for a while. Offer great content, free ideas, photos and more.  Post, ask questions and respond. There’s no substitute for this fundamental, authentic work.

>Social Conversation Manageravailable in Votigo’s suite- makes it easy for you to schedule, moderate and respond to posts and messages with your audience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

2) Build a Great Promotion.

Think of the promotion as the core of your campaign.  Come up with a compelling theme, a great prize, awesome design and crystal-clear calls to action. We continue to introduce innovative, viral features to make our promotions apps more effective (check out our Twitter Sweepstakes).

>Votigo Standard Promotions Apps include viral contests and sweepstakes for Facebook, Twitter, mobile and the web.  Additionally, our Premium Apps integrate YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and virtually any digital destination where your audience congregates.

3) Seed The Message

Too often, we see social brands set-it-and-forget-it.  They build a great promotion, publish it to Facebook and leave it at that.  You want to get the message out in any forum you can. Facebook posts, tweets, emails, your homepage, word-of-mouth, in-store and more.  Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid of letting current customers see it- if anything, they deserve a reward for being in your customer base already.

>Promotions Messenger is a dead-simple tool for scheduling mobile-optimized posts, with messaging and visuals of your choice, to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Find it under “New Posts” on the Publish tab. Power users:  Ask our Premium Promotions team about integrating your ads services, from AdWords to Facebook Ads, into your promotion.

4) Follow Through

When your promotion is over, there’s still work to do. First, celebrate the winner. Announce them, interview them, get a testimonial. If the promotion included photos or videos, post those in a gallery, on a blog post, or on your webpage.  More importantly- send an email to all participants.  Offer them a reward just for engaging- a discount code, a sneak preview, a coupon, an invitation.

>Standard Promotions Apps already include several key features that help you follow through. Customize the confirmation page for sweeps and contest entrants- sharing a coupon code or sending them directly to a special landing page. Engagement Apps include several useful tools for follow-through. Post top submissions in a Photo or Video Gallery.  Or build an iFrame app to announce your winner, thank your participants, and share an offer for all entrants. Also, right from the Manage tab of your Votigo-powered promotion, you can download data and email addresses from all entrants and plug them into your email software  (ConstactContact, MailChimp, MadMimi), inbound marketing software (Marketo, Hubspot), and your CRM database (Salesforce, Nimble), too. Do it from day one of your campaign, and treat these new social contacts as the potential customers they are.

5) Measure & Repeat

Wrap up your campaign by studying the metrics of your promotion. How many people entered and voted?  Who engaged the most new participants by sharing their entry or your sweeps?  What are the basic demos and geos of your participating audience? Knowing more about your customers is as valuable as the direct benefits of the promotion.

>Campaign Analytics are our brand-new, expanded metrics offerings. They are included in every Votigo-powered promotion, including our Standard Apps. Power users: Premium Promotions offer the capability to integrate with virtual any third-party data source, from your social ads provider to Analytics to other leading data services to your CRM system.

Now you’ve run a successful Social Campaign, anchored by an audience-engaging, participant-rewarding, customer-generating promotion, but supported by a host of useful tools and features that give you a more comprehensive result. Better knowledge of your audience.  More clarity about what works best for your social brand. Please let us know how it’s working for you.


Holiday Social Media Marketing: 5 Trends For Retail Brands

Black Friday is in 4 days, kicking off the massive holiday season that makes the year for many retail brands.  Odds are, social marketing is a bigger part of your Q4 strategy this year than ever before.  Here are 5 big themes that will dominate holiday social media marketing campaigns for retailers in the remaining holiday weeks of 2012:

Social Launches:  New product introductions and sales events are a staple of Q4. They’re a great way to create buzz and generate customer interest through social marketing.  Watch for (and plan) product debuts or events on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.Brooks Running illustrates holiday social media marketing campaigns in 2012

Recognizing Great Customers: Even for brands with millions of customers- and definitely for boutiques and local businesses- there is a movement to recognize your best customers.  Loyalty programs,  membership clubs, even a Customer of the Day promotion. All are simple ways to earn repeat business. Social channels are a natural distribution channel for these programs.

Rewarding Social Engagement:  All evidence continues to show that consumers follow brands on social channels to earn an exclusive, an offer, a discount, a preview.  Retail brands are in prime position to capitalize.  Even for social followers who haven’t converted to customers yet, it is worth the effort to offer a unique opportunity through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and where ever you have followers.

In-Store Activation:  In retail, it’s all about the cash register.  Even as holiday spending shifts online, there is still no substitute to brick-and-mortar retailers for motivating the in-store experience.  A social promotion that results in a coupon, invitation or other store-driven event doesn’t need to be complex. But it will help convert social fans to visitors who can see your store environment, touch your products, experience your service and convert to new customers.

Mobile Enables Lasting Brand Engagement:  Most consumers will be using their smartphones gratuitously in the next 6 weeks. They’ll share wish lists, compare prices, pass along gift ideas and more, using photo, video, text and social updates.  Savvy brands will find unique ways to encourage and even facilitate those interactions. Even though the holiday season ends in a mere 6 weeks, try to find clever ways to weave impressions of happy customers into your ongoing brand storytelling.

For specific ideas and strategies to tackle each of these trends, click here.



How Promotions Influence Facebook Edgerank

Facebook is a powerful social network that is ideal for spreading your content to a large, active audience. The goal, as many of you know is to be seen on people’s News Feeds. If you are blindly sending out massive amounts of relevant content and no one sees it, then there isn’t much point. Luckily for brands Facebook has shared their algorithm, EdgeRank for ranking content on Facebook and filtering what appears in the news feed. The algorithm consists of three components:

1. Affinity – The number of times 2 people (or a person and a page) have interacted

2. Weight – The number of times users have interacted (commented, liked) with the content in question

3. Time Decay – The time since the content was posted. Note that Facebook moves and changes very quickly, and your news feed, for example, never has content more than 24 hours old.

Now that you have an understanding of how Facebook ranks and filters content, it is time to strategize ways to get your content seen on your fans Facebook newsfeeds!

Producing compelling content is the key is to increasing affinity and weight so that your content will be seen by a larger audience on Facebook. Unfortunately, creating compelling and original content is often one of the biggest challenges marketers are faced with. While most marketers generally acknowledge that content is crucial, many aren’t sure what kind of content their audience will respond to.

Today’s digital audience is not receptive to content that resembles “sales talk.” The main problem with the sales pitch method is that it leaves no room for customer interaction. If you take the more interactive route with marketing content and a less sales-like one, then it creates more engagement and dialogue between you and your audience. Sales talk is one of the many reasons brands may become “unfollowed” or “unliked” on Facebook. So instead, try using a promotion to engage your audience and get great user generated content! Let your audience help tell your brand story and you’ll be rewarded with increased engagement and more visibility.

Running a contest or sweepstakes ensures that you have timely and interesting content to share with your audience. An enticing prize or a fun promotion is likely to be shared by your audience, and the more people share your content, the higher your Edgerank. Getting people to engage with your promotion on Facebook will help your brand increase visibility because your brand will appear more frequently in the news feed of your audience and their friends. A contest that incorporates voting will have multiple opportunities for participation, making it much more likely for your promotion to spread to a larger, extended audience of entrants and voters. A promotion also gives you something to talk about regularly, helping you stay top of mind and at the top of the news feed.

So, there you have it! Utilizing promotions is a great way to not only keep your audience engaged and incentivized, but also to improve the Edgerank of your day-to-day communications with them!