Most every business these days have finally broken down and entered the social media arena in one way or another but just setting up an account is not enough to truly make the medium work for you. Sure, setting up the accounts alone can help you with SEO initially because every footprint you make in the name of your company can have a positive impact in that area but that is a short-lived benefit at best of you don’t commit. The only way to really engage clients and potential clients in this brave new world is through regular updates. These updates can take a great many forms from syndicated blog postings for outlets like Facebook or simple re-tweeting of relevant information on Twitter but one of the most effective ways of interacting is through the old school use of a simple promotion.
This Ain’t Your Mama’s Promotion
Historically promotions were done in the form of a drawing. Clients and potential clients would need to go to a physical location in order to put in their entry and this was a great way to not only bring in new potential clients and reconnect with existing clients but it offered the opportunity to actually speak with the people involved. Unfortunately as things evolved into direct mail and then to email, this interactive component was lost for the most part and participation waned. Enter Social Media. The use of social media in business is working to bring some of the interactivity of yore back to the silicone landscape of today’s hermit rich environment. True, you still may not physically see the client or potential client (at least initially) but it is allowing an actual conversation to begin rather than the unidirectional neediness that businesses were directing into the cyberspace ether.
Make it Work!
I can see some nodding heads. You are seeing the potential but you are not sure how to do the Tim Gunn and Make it Work. Well, that can be a little more tricky because what works for one type of business might not work for another but in general contests are pretty universal. Contests are the oldest marketing trick in the book because they work. You set up a scenario, ask people to enter and they can potentially win a prize. It is as simple as that. And they work because the only thing you want to get out of it is the interaction with the people who participate.
A Shamelessly Self-Serving Example
As an example of how I interact with my clients each year, I give you the 12 Days of Mas Chris. This is a contest that was born out of a friend of mine wanting me to post a picture of myself on Facebook wearing a Santa hat. Seems like a rather innocuous request but as with everything else in my life, I took it to the extreme and posted multiple. They were so well received by friends and clients that I began the 12 Days of Mas Chris in which I would post a new photo of myself in a different Santa/Holiday hat each day for twelve days (And from there it evolved to be me also being inserted into different TV or Movie scenes wearing a holiday hat).
After all 12 days have been posted, people are able to vote on their favorite photo once a day for 5-7 days. I do a first, second and third place drawing from the entries and award prizes to the lucky few. In this case I give first place $50 toward any upcoming work, second place $25 toward upcoming work and third place a $10 Starbucks gift card.
Along the way clients comment on the photos and it allows me the opportunity to interact even if I am not currently doing any work for them.
The contest is so successful that I have clients asking when it is going to start because they enjoy my ridiculous photos almost as much as driving around their local neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights and have incorporated the 12 Days of Mas Chris into their annual Christmas traditions.
I enjoy creating the photos almost as much as clients and friends seem to enjoy seeing them each year and I get the added benefit of the additional interaction so it is a Win/Win/Win.
The moral of the story is that no matter what you decide to do whether it is a simple concept or a very complex one, running promotions through your social media outlets can have a very positive impact on your customer relationships and you might just have a little fun along the way.