Social media is positioned for the most part to make brands feel as though it’s a free way to communicate with people. And the fact remains that social media is still free to use; however, it’s starting to and has been, a pay-to-play environment if brands want to be noticed or to gain more followers and fans. In the last decade, brands were able to more easily get their names out through various social media channels without having to exhaust that much financial effort. However, in the last couple of years, that dynamic has changed.
Running contests to gain more followers and attention to you brand.
This may already seem obvious, but to run a contest or promotion to gain more followers and fans to a brand, the prize(s) is going to have to be something that will cost money. For the size of the brand, there is the possibility that the larger a brand is, the more money that will have to be allocated to the prize(s) to reward people for following that brand. Consider this, a tanning salon could gain more followers and get more attention to their brand by giving away an iPad on their Facebook page. If a company like Best Buy were to do a contest to gain more followers, giving away one iPad won’t cut it. Instead, Best Buy would have to look to give away several and possibly hundreds of iPads to make a splash where users of social media would want to take the time to enter to notice what Best Buy is doing.
Promoting the Contest: It will cost more $$$
Hopefully, by now it is becoming more evident that money needs to be invested to promote the contest. Granted, some contests can take off and be a hit a viral hit, but for the rest of them, they need to be promoted to see any success. There is the timeless question of a tree falling in the forest, and if it does fall in the forest and no body is around to hear it, does it make a sound? With social media, that tree can fall like a contest promotion, but if no one knows that you’re running a promotion, it won’t make a sound.
The best way to promote a contest or a giveaway for a brand will be to use paid advertisements such as, Facebook ads/boosts, and or promoted tweets on Twitter. Soon, Instagram will be in the ad business, as well. Advertising a promotion on social media will undoubtedly give the brand some success if the prize is relevant, and the contest/giveaway can also be successful if the content is memorable and the effective use of hashtags are taken into consideration. If all of that is executed successfully, then a brand has a good chance of raising more awareness to it.
Social Media Advertisements, not for giveaways, but for raising awareness for a brand.
We have all seen them on Facebook, they are those ads on the top right-hand side of your newsfeed that feature brands that are looking for one thing: your LIKE. They are called “sponsored stories.” Recently, Facebook has made available a new type of ad called a “Boosted Post,” where a brand can create a status update, share it, target and promote it, then it will show up in other users’ news-feeds even without that user being associated with that brand. With Twitter, it is the same thing, except for the tweet will show up right in your feed of other tweets. These ads are ran to not only spread the word about a brand looking to get more engagement on a contest, but more to drive awareness of that brand.
Now that you are aware…
In the grand scheme of overall marketing budgets as they pertain to money spent on advertisements and raising awareness, social media can still be the MOST cost-effective route to use when trying to reach more people online. Running Facebook ads to promote brand awareness is a lot more cost-effective than to produce a television or radio commercial, then spend even more money to purchase advertising space to broadcast that commercial. The point of this blog post is to make sure that you are aware that promoting a brand on social media still has its price—just not as much. If you’re using a social media strategy as part of a marketing mix to a brand that you are working for, make sure that you create budgets for contest prizing and for ads.
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