Promoting Your Social Promotion

Last December, the Votigo blog featured a post that outlined helpful methods for promoting your social promotion across social networks. Now that Facebook is Timeline-optimized, we want to update our strategies for successfully promoting your Votigo-powered promotion and share best practices for customizing your promotional app to draw your audience in. We are often asked by our clients about how to promote Facebook contests and sweepstakes in an effective and methodical way. The answer is complex in that it includes a series of essential steps that you should follow in order to fully engage your audience.

Before You Publish a Promotion

There are essential questions that you should ask before you publish a promotion. Should you publish to multiple access points? Do your custom graphics have an engaging image that has a call-to-action? How do you customize the sharing messages – Facebook and Twitter – when building it?

Publishing to multiple entry points is optional, but wise if you have a mobile audience or want to embed an iframe version of your promotion into a website outside of Facebook (such as your homepage or blog). Utilizing the mobile capability is a must if your audience reviews your mobile site or reads your emails on their mobile devices. By providing multiple entry points for customers, you will remove barriers to entry.

Also, your promotional graphics must have clear calls-to-action to eliminate confusion for people entering your contest or sweeps, especially when it comes to adding a custom like-gate image. It isn’t enough to upload a beautiful graphic if there is no call-to-action to accompany it, such as, “Like our page to enter the promotion,” or “Enter the sweepstakes below.” Your graphics tell a visual story, as well as provide direction to your audience.

Customizing the sharing messages on Facebook and Twitter when you are building your promotion is a very important feature. This is the message that you will be providing your fans to share to their audiences. Make it unique, engaging and simple. They of course may edit it before sharing.

After You Publish a Promotion: Customize your App icon

Now, optimize your Facebook Timeline to draw attention to it.

These steps will allow your audience to easily locate your contest or sweeps on your Timeline – just below your cover photo – and draw them in visually with a unique and attractive image. This is a very important piece of the promotion puzzle that gets overlooked in many cases. But it’s critical in Timeline, where only four Apps show at a time, and all visitors to your Facebook page see your Timeline page first.

To customize the app icon graphic image and rename the app icon:

Go into the Admin Panel
Manage > Edit Page> Apps
Upload a custom icon (111×74px) that includes a visual call-to-action
Rename the App icon: something clear, like “Enter To Win Tickets!”

Position your App Icon

Then make sure your promotion is in the top 4 apps on your timeline. You can adjust this by manually by choosing the dropdown arrow next to the top 4 apps and selecting the pencil icon in the top right corner of the app icon. You can then choose to swap positions with one of the apps in the top 4.

Promote on your Timeline

Write a post about your promotion with a graphic (400×400) and pin it to the top of your Timeline 7 days! You can do so by clicking the “Pencil” icon (upper right) to “Pin” your posting on your Timeline.

Make sure you write a compelling message about the promotion – the theme, the prize, and other details to compel readers to enter.

Tell People About It Beyond Facebook

Now that you have customized your app icon and pinned a posting of it on your Timeline, you are ready to start promoting cross-channel. This is essential to kickstart the viral effect and to draw in the critical early adopters.

Fortunately there are plenty of tools to spread the word. Do these things to activate your social audience:

1) Post messages and updates about it on your Facebook page (and make sure your team “Likes” it too)
2) Tweet about it regularly – some brands do so daily
3) Post about it on your company’s LinkedIn profile page, and on the status updates of your individual employees
4) Write a blog post about it on your corporate blog
5) Send promotion announcement in your email marketing messages, newsletters and even day-to-day emails.

6) Create a video about it and post it on YouTube
7) Set up a display advertising campaign on Facebook
8 ) Tell influential bloggers and Tweeters about it
9) Tell your clients about it directly; word-of-mouth is powerful
10) Post about on Google+ (and make sure to “+1″ it from your own account)
11) Use in-store signage if you have retail locations
12) Broadcast a consistent message about it in your traditional media (radio, TV, print) advertising
13) Put out a press release about it
14) Point PPC ads from AdWords directly to the promotion app
15) Contact industry associations to message their members about it

Also, a few quick essential reminders for promoting any social contest, sweepstakes, competition or other promotion:

Include a link directly to the website, mobile landing page, YouTube channel, Twitter account or Facebook app where the contest or sweepstakes is live. Since Timeline can’t default your Facebook page to land on an app, providing the link anywhere you can is key.
Use simple, clear calls-to-action, such as “Tell your friends about our contest…”
Be responsive to users who reply, comment or re-post your messages

It’s a simple blend of old and new tactics for spreading the word, but you might be surprised by how many brands fail to lay the groundwork of their promotion from the beginning. And you can always contact us for help.

If you enlist the right combination of the tactics above for your audience, you can expect the viral effect to kick in and generate awareness and participation. You’ll increase your “Likes” and expand your social media audience, get permission to email a whole new list of potential customers, and inspire great content that you can use for future marketing efforts.

What strategies have been most effective in promoting your latest campaigns? Tweet us @Votigo or post about it on our Facebook wall.