4 Marketing Lessons Learned from a Successful Social Marketing Campaign

By Patrick Boegel

Late in 2010, F.Y.E., the national retail chain of 500-plus stores offering a wide selection of entertainment products, launched a social marketing campaign around the theme of FYEGuy, a social marketing effort designed to give customers access, feedback, interactive entertainment and promotions.
While still in its infancy, the FYEGuy Facebook page quickly garnered 6,850 "Likers" and 7,550 followers on Twitter.
F.Y.E. experimented with a wide assortment of promotions, from simple "thumbs up/thumbs down" widgets that generated hundreds of likes and retweets, to experiments with Foursquare check-in discounts, all the way up to FYEGuy’s most successful promotion to date: a "make your own video" tie-in with the hit television series "Glee," which generated more than 13,500 votes over the course of the promotion. As a result, just 10 weeks after launching, the total reach of FYEGuy through social networks is already estimated to be greater than a quarter of a million people.
There are some lessons to be shared about the construction and execution of the successful social marketing program:
1. Brevity is the key to involvement. The fewer hoops created for individuals to participate, the greater the possible impact the program will have. When launching FYEGuy.com, having a variety of promotions that tapped into different social media platforms was critical for success. A lesson in hindsight is that when launching a property, simplicity provides clarity and results in action from participants. During the onset of the holiday shopping season, FYEGuy launched a social promotion tied to their in-store theme "Every Who, What and When." Each day leading up to Black Friday, FYEGuy offered a new daily prize to promote in-store products for the holiday season. Participants were offered a chance to win via an e-mail entry as well as additional chances by sharing each day's offer on Twitter and/or Facebook.
2. One big fish can energize a less "brand powered" contest. Two of the most successful promotions to date on FYEGuy.com have been "Get Your Glee On," a promotion encouraging fans to submit their personal videos of "Glee" songs to the FYEGuy.com page, and "Build Your Own Box Set," a simpler promotion encouraging customers to submit three movies they liked with a short description of why they should be bundled together. While "Glee" drove the highest total quantity of message sharing, voting and site visits, overall participation was limited to a couple of dozen entries, whereas "Box Set" had more than four times as many entries. Moreover, strong direct traffic flow from "Get Your Glee On" to the "Box Set," showed how one big idea can seed an audience for an idea with an undefined audience.
3. Scout your audience. Contests need to maximize the ability to generate effective and efficient outreach to drive awareness. Even when a media property has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of eyeballs on it per week, seeking out third-party venues to promote and cross-promote content could be the difference between a tree falling in the forest or lighting a fuse for excitement.
4. Keep the prizes believable. One of the most striking things F.Y.E. discovered quickly is that people will participate when the opportunity to win is believable and the win itself is believable. FYEGuy.com received more participants in a video-based promotion during the site launch with no marketing push at all than a major fast food chain received during a recent promotion, despite their more than 2 million Facebook "likes". Why? First, users were encouraged by the opportunity to get their friends and family in the networks to vote for their entries rather than waiting to be a random selection down the road. In other words, participants controlled their own destiny. Second, the prize was far more believable, heightening the "I can win" mentality. Giving away a gift card and some DVDs seems more realistically attainable than randomly winning a 60-second video contest being judged on a number of criteria.
Patrick Boegel is the director of media integration for Media Logic, the social marketing agency responsible for F.Y.E.'s FYEGuy program.

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