Social Media Promotions

John Hope-Johnstone

One of the most successful tools in social media marketing are “promotions”.

So what differentiates a “promotion” to just brand awareness? A promotion has a beginning, middle and end. It is of a relatively short duration and it has a set of very well-defined objectives along with an overarching goal that closely aligns to the overall marketing plan.

Although I had been involved with social media marketing since 2005, I really burst onto the scene in 2008.

During that December a series of bad storms over the Holiday party season threatened to close some of our top restaurants who rely on such parties to carry them through the doldrums of January.

We created a promotion that utilized some well established email lists, several popular business facebook pages and a massive number of Tweets.

All of this promotion had one very clear-cut aim, to drive people to a special landing page that would explain the new promotion called “Corvallis Culinary Week”.  If they entered their first name and email they would receive a link to download a coupon for two that would allow them to have a dinner at one of our top restaurants for only $10.

Food prep for Culinary Week @ 101

1,600 people downloaded the coupons within two days. Reservations were required and waiting lists were established by the fourth day before the first week of the promotion even began.

An added benefit was the establishment of a “foodies” email list that could be used by our restaurant community to communicate with folks who like good dining.

The promotion still continues in January each year and with about the same results. The local Gazette Times newspaper stated at the beginning of the 2011 Corvallis Culinary Week, ” Corvallis Culinary Week makes its valiant return Jan. 17-23 for the third annual celebration of local fine dining, an event so glorious it’s as though it were touched by the hand of God.” Fine praise indeed.

Here’s the tip. While social media marketing was the main marketing tool, we didn’t rely on solely on social media. Like all good marketing we integrated it within all the appropriate tools available to us. However, the insert in the local newspaper and a very small TV campaign all pushed towards the special landing page. Total campaign spend (small market) was about $2,500.

For this campaign my staff were honored by being presented with the Governor’s Tourism Award for a Social Media Campaign.

Governor's Award

HPR Social Media has also created special social media marketing promotions for other types of organizations. A recent one was for a large upscale health club in Corvallis named the Timberhill Athletic Club.

The goal was to use social media to promote a two-week complimentary membership for anyone clicking through to a landing page entering first name and email and then receiving a special downloadable membership pass for two weeks. They had to take a tour and exchange the downloaded pass for a smaller more official one from membership services.

Our objective was 80 downloads for the campaign over a twelve month period. Club management put a hold on the campaign after the club received 61 down- loads and 51 club visitations after only two months.

So what is the moral of the story? Promotions work well for social media, either Public Relation or sales promotions. Management love the because they are highly targeted and it is easy to define an ROI from the marketing expenditures. While costly in staff time it is not costly in marketing dollars compared to returns. Lastly, it proves that social media really works!

Thanks for the read, please leave me a comment on any promotions that you have enjoyed with social media.


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