Back in the day when businesses first decided to tap into the explosive growth in social media sites for marketing purposes, most efforts failed miserably. One of the many problems was that staid old businesses failed to recognize one of the core concepts driving social media participation – it’s fun! Most businesses have a hard time thinking “fun”; preferring instead to think “money.”
In addition, businesses failed to understand another core concept – involvement and participation. Social media enthusiasts aren’t interested in being “told” things. They think they have something to say as well and want the chance to contribute and participate in a two-way conversation.
Businesses have begun to crack the social media code and companies like Dell and Starbucks report generating millions of dollars in revenue from their social media marketing campaigns. They and others like them have achieved success by recognizing that social media sites are communities and to benefit from the community you must first join it by contributing with something of value and inviting the participation of others.
If your business has reached the level of being a recognized and valued member of the community here are two relatively simple things you can do to excite and involve others – Contests and Discounts
There’s nothing more fun and exciting than a challenging contest that allows members of the community to get involved and compete with each other, having a good deal of fun along the way. You’ll need a little creativity to come up with something interesting, involving, and exciting, but here are a few thoughts about things to include.
First, keeping the contest on the site opens the possibility of going viral. For example, suppose contestants are asked to post their answer to a question like “Why I love (fill in one of your products); or “Ten ways I use (fill in one of your products)”. The winner is determined by the number of comments received. In concept this contest is simple and elegant and potentially very viral.
Although you’ll have to come up with an interesting prize, a contest that goes viral can be its own reward. People feel like winners because they have a good time joining in and following the contest. There are endless variations on the kinds of questions you can pose for the contest. For complex products you might want to use something like “5 Things I’d like to see added to (fill in one of your products).” With a contest like this you could involve some of your own employees as judges, with the contest winner being determined partly by the highest number of comments received from the community and party by judges’ scores.
Everyone likes to get a special break on things, especially when the discount or special offer they get is not open to everyone – only to those members of a select group. Discounts not only reward visitors for being a part of the community, they also drive sales!