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HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook and Twitter Promotions


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Alanna Francis is an SEO Strategist at Blue Fountain Media, the website design and marketing company. Her focus isecommerce websites, including the men’s skin care brandAnthony For Men. You can follow her on Twitter@alannafrancis.

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Once upon a time, you had to use a phone book to find a business’s contact details. Mercifully, those days are behind us. As social media has worked its way into every aspect of our lives, we as a culture have come to expect that our favorite brands — from “Big Gay Ice Cream” trucks to national airlines and fashion houses — are easily accessible on the most popular social networks.
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However, it’s no longer enough to simply interact. Consumers are increasingly hungry for promotions, exclusive discounts and giveaways. In fact, recent data suggests that most people who follow brands on Facebook and Twitter both expect and want to receive coupons from these brands.

According to an Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of 1,000 participants regarding digital consumption habits, 65% of consumers want the brands they follow to offer coupons. Compare this figure to the percentage of respondents who said they wanted enhanced customer service (42%) and you begin to get a clearer picture of the landscape.

Certainly the Ad Age numbers indicate that the demand for promotions exists, but how effective are Twitter andFacebook promotions in practice? Do they really increase engagement or sales? While no conclusive studies have been done on this exact topic, substantial anecdotal evidence suggests that they do.

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Examples to Learn From


A recent Facebook case study highlighting a campaign by Healthy Choice, shows positive results.

Targeting healthy eating-related keywords on Facebook’s ad platform, Healthy Choice created a promotion that exploited the viral nature of social sharing. The frozen food brand offered a coupon that increased in value as more people “Liked” its page and signed up to receive the deal.


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As a result of the promotional campaign, Healthy Choice saw their connections explode from 6,800 to approximately 60,000 at the time of the study. A quick check of their fan page shows that they have gained over 8,000 additional connections since that time. Healthy Choice witnessed 3 times more user engagement after the promotion than prior, and by offering a newsletter capture on the coupon signup form, they were able to register approximately 60% of connections for their mailing list. Pretty impressive for a product as mundane as frozen dinners.

What remains to be seen is the staying power of Healthy Choice’s newfound audience. It seems likely that engagement will taper at least slightly now that the campaign is over, as users who connected solely to receive coupons start to tune out. It will be up to Healthy Choice to continue interacting with their broadened fan base in new and creative ways.

Renowned designer Diane Von Furstenberg has also been famously successful in social media. With over 100,000 Facebook fans and 182,000 Twitter followers, the brand certainly has a solid audience to draw on. At this very moment, DVF is offering free shipping and an unspecified gift (a pony?!) to users who refer a friend to the brand’s page. What makes this campaign smart is that, similar to Healthy Choice, it offers rewards for spreading awareness of the brand to others.

In 2010, Diane Von Furstenberg reported a 13% gain in web traffic after having been active in social media.

All these numbers are exciting, but the key to seeing a positive return on your efforts is to execute your promotion in such a way as to encourage maximum engagement. Here’s how to dive in.


Define Your Goals


Defining goals” sounds almost too obvious to be worth mentioning, you’d be surprised at how often businesses fail to pinpoint goals for their social media efforts. The allure of Twitter and Facebook promotions is strong. It’s tempting to look around at the competitive landscape and imitate the actions of others without fully understanding what’s at stake. By defining exactly what you hope to gain from your promotion, you can better design the promotion itself to achieve these goals.

Do you want to gain followers or “Likes?” Design your promotion to provide incentives for doing so. Reward your 1,000th follower with a lavish gift bag, free consultation, or complimentary meal. Encourage retweets and shares to further spread the word.

Do you want to drive sales on your ecommerce site? Offer small, one-time discounts or free shipping offers to anyone who follows or “Likes” your brand and shares your campaign.

Do you want to garner more newsletter subscribers? Give users the chance to sign up to your mailing list when you give them their coupon or promo code.


Exploit the Medium


Facebook and Twitter both have enormous potential to spread promotions at viral rates. It’s up to you to craft your campaign to take full advantage of this fact. Learn from the strategies of Healthy Choice and DVF, who incentivized sharing with rewards, thus expanding their campaigns’ reach exponentially.


Set Metrics


Once you’ve defined your goals, you must also set metrics for measuring your achievements. Make sure you have a solid grasp on all your “before” figures before the campaign launches and be sure you know how to isolate social media traffic from your data.


Evaluate and Adjust


Finally, as our grade school teachers always told us, learn from your mistakes. If your first attempt was more of a belly flop than an olympic dive, don’t develop a fear of the water. Just be sure to assess the strengths and weakness of your first campaign before suiting up again.

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In the end, unless you are cranking out extremely high quality content at a breakneck pace or are a naturally dazzling public face of the brand (and let’s face it, we can’t all be Tony Hsieh), your brand might not be able to engage people the way you really want to. Social media promotions are a great way to obtain a larger audience base on which to build your brand and maybe pocket some extra cash while you’re at it.
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Book Will Write the History of Egypt’s Revolution in Tweets


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Twitter’s role in the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is disputed. But nobody disputes that the micro-blogging platform helped tell the story of the revolution as it unfolded.

Now, OR Books plans to use tweets posted during the protests to create a 160-page history of the event. Tweets from Tahrir, which is set to hit bookshelves April 21, will compile tweets and photos linked to in tweets to walk through every day of the revolution in 140-character snippets.

Raw emotion bursts from their messages, whether frantic alarm at attacks from pro-government thugs or delirious happiness at the fall of the dictator,” reads a description of the book. “To read these tweets is to embark a rollercoaster ride, from the surprise and excitement of the first demonstration, to the horror of the violence that claimed hundreds of lives, to the final ecstasy of victory.”

This is quite a departure from existing tweet anthologies, which tend to cover topics like Sh*t My Dad Says. AsThe New York Times points out, the editors might run into some interesting legal questions with the new approach, in particular the question of who owns the rights for others’ tweets. (OR Books is in the process of contacting authors to get their permission.)

Whether the format will indeed capture the raw emotion, frantic alarm, and timeline of the demonstrations is an another matter. An excerpt of the book is posted below; let us know what you think the comments.

 

Tweets Write History

Tweets reveal Egyptian Revolution

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Twitter

 

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Top Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Facebook and LinkedIn


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News flash, the online networks are increasing daily through social media outlets such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Well this is not exactly breaking news in fact these social media gorillas have member increases by the minute. Each day the number of users worldwide that login to Facebook and LinkedIn are increasing. It was estimated not long ago that Facebook had over 350 million users, probably closer to 400 million by now and LinkedIn with over 50+ million users to date. If your business is global you can sure bank on increasing foreign numbers as well considering roughly 70% of Facebook users come from outside the US.

There are many reasons to set up a Facebook Fan Page or a LinkedIn profile to act as a bridge to contacts, consumers and friends all over the world. Setting up a business fan page on Facebook and creating a LinkedIn profile allows at the very least for people to find you or your website through back linking. When you’re able to create an online presence and marketing buzz you create momentum and drive traffic to your website. This is a goal that can be reached when you use these social media tools. Depending on your target market or your business you can determine which one works best but you should certainly set up both accounts. Here are some reasons you should consider.

 

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Facebook, LinkedIn

 

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