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The days of creating a static brand ad campaign to promote a product because it’ s the best, coolest, or some other feature have been replaced by engaging people using interactive promotions.
As consumers become more attune with social media, marketers need to engage a highly segmented and connected audience on their terms. Ford Mustang created a great campaign targeted to hip, young singles for the Valentine’s Day holiday. A presumably naive, new to the big city young woman meets a hip guy at a coffee shop for a blind date. They agree to take a ride in her manual transmission Mustang, and as the ride progresses the total dynamic shifts where everything about the guy’s hip image is shattered as is our impression of today’s Ford Mustang and empowered women. This campaign grew exponentially across many forms of social media and was also featured on morning and evening news and talk shows as a holiday feature that was instantly engaging and exhilarating.
Create An Active Audience
Interactive promotions create a dynamic and engaging “conversation” between social networks and a brand, product, service, campaign or public announcement. The idea is for the consumer to take some action and participate in the campaign.
The short interactive movie produced by Volkswagen is an example of engaging consumers in a conversation about safety by experiencing first-hand the consequences of taking your eye off what you are doing. This example also adds to the car manufacturer’s focus on the safety and the well-being of their customers.
Interactive Promotions Lead To Loyalty
Imagine using the same rules of engagement as the above auto manufacturers, with an element of immediate feedback or communication from the viewer. This is where sweepstakes and contests generate more participation, social sharing, engagement and repeat visits. The minimal action required to enter a promotion establishes an immediate brand connection that is more effective than an advertiser trying to just sell something. As consumers become more engaged with a brand, they begin to feel like they have a voice in the products and services that are of value to them. By encouraging consumers to take action as they engage with a brand, advertisers create a connection that ultimately leads to brand loyalty. Being the receiver of an emotionally charged video or message is a good way to attract attention. Engaging viewers through sweepstakes and contests promotes the triple effect of awareness, extended engagement and positive associations.
Buzz Building Across Platforms
Social media engagement is different from traditional media. Instead of trying to reach a broad-based audience with an image based ad campaign, social media’s objectives are to attract and engage smaller audiences with highly relevant information that creates an emotional connection to generate a high rate of return among the specific target.
The difference between spending a lot of money on a few media channels, and hope for a return on investment, and spending less money on many channels, is today’s media broad-reaching mixed strategy. Metrics and analytics lets you know what’s working right away. Contest or sweepstakes management across multiple platforms including Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook generates more participants and “buzz” that can be adapted to the likes of the growing audience. The best feature of social media sweepstakes and contests is that when one person enters the promotion others see it too. Introducing this secondary passive social aspect creates exponential awareness that impacts the cognitive, social and emotional state of a connected network.
Make Sure You Assign A Promotional Watch Dog
With all the opportunity available to design highly creative promotions and to use analytics to change the parameters, you will need some promotional insurance in the way of a highly knowledgable staff or sales promotion agency to keep you compliant with regulations. I have seen companies, eager to take advantage every holiday, inadvertently break the law by rewarding customers for voting in the Presidential election, a clear violation of federal election law. Once a sweepstakes’ official rules are created, and the campaign launched, technically the promotion can not be changed. There is often confusion when a small sweepstakes is developed, that did not reach the prize fulfillment limit of the states requiring registration, where the developer attempts to change the rules mid-stream based on real-time metrics. This is a big mistake, it not only opens one up to legal action, it is bad for the long-term brand relationship with an extended network of prospective customers.
A good rule-of-thump is to run smaller, highly targeted interactive sweepstakes and contests through social media, and use analytics to continually improve each progressive campaign. Actively engage your customers with more campaigns, that provide instant gratification through ongoing prize fulfillment services and offers, to create ongoing positive associations