ShortStack Create web Campaigns, Facebook apps, Facebook contests and custom forms 2016-08-23T23:49:38Z http://www.shortstack.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[#STACKTALK Episode 9: Ideas for Back-to-School Promotions]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23681 2016-08-23T15:48:43Z 2016-08-23T15:48:43Z Welcome to episode 9 of #STACKTALK, ShortStack’s official podcast about how to create Campaigns and contests to connect, collect leads and market. In this episode, Adam and Ashley discuss back-to-school promotions. Resources discussed in this episode: – How to Rock Your Back-to-School Sales and Marketing [Infographic] – 3 Last Minute Giveaway Ideas to Boost Back-to-School Sales...]]>

Welcome to episode 9 of #STACKTALK, ShortStack’s official podcast about how to create Campaigns and contests to connect, collect leads and market. In this episode, Adam and Ashley discuss back-to-school promotions.

Resources discussed in this episode:

How to Rock Your Back-to-School Sales and Marketing [Infographic]

3 Last Minute Giveaway Ideas to Boost Back-to-School Sales

***

Notable statistics (wallet-exploding facts!):

• The average household with kids in k-12 spends $606 on BTS shopping

• The average household with kids in college spends $1086 on BTS shopping

• In the U.S., $828 billion is spent on BTS shopping each year

• 17.2% of the year’s retail sales happen during this time of year

• 50% of BTS shoppers buy apparel

• 37% of BTS shoppers buy supplies

• 41% of BTS shoppers buy backpacks and computer supplies

• 17% of BTS shoppers buy computers

***

Listen to the show here, or download it on your favorite podcasting app. And please, if you like what you hear, leave us a review on iTunes or whatever app you use.

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[NEW FACEBOOK TEMPLATE: 2016 Updates]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23628 2016-08-19T21:29:10Z 2016-08-18T13:40:23Z Searching for the latest Facebook dimensions for Facebook? In case you missed it, Facebook updated the Pages layout again, and changed the recommended dimensions for cover photos and images. The cover photo size is now 828 x 315 px. We’ve created a new template for you, to make it easier to update necessary images. Just click...]]>

Searching for the latest Facebook dimensions for Facebook? In case you missed it, Facebook updated the Pages layout again, and changed the recommended dimensions for cover photos and images.

The cover photo size is now 828 x 315 px.

We’ve created a new template for you, to make it easier to update necessary images. Just click the button to download the files (PSD and PNG) or scroll down to see the dimensions in list form.

For each category, the recommended image upload size is listed, followed by the size in which it will appear on desktop and mobile.

New Facebook dimensions template

New Facebook Page Dimensions

Desktop

Cover photo: 828×315

Profile image: 160×160

Mobile layout

Cover photo: 640×360

New Facebook Advertising Specs

App Engagement/Install

Image upload: 1200×628 (images should contain minimal text)

Desktop: 470×246

Mobile: 560×293

Right column: 254×133

Note: Mobile app images may not contain more than 20% text (90 characters)

Brand Awareness Photo

Image upload: 1200×628 (image may not contain more than 20% text)

Desktop: 470×246

Mobile: 560×293

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 25 characters

Link description: 30 characters

Brand Awareness Video

Thumbnail image upload, should match video aspect ratio: 1280×720

Text: 90 characters

Video: mp4 | 30fps | no larger than 4gb

Brand Awareness Carousel

Image upload: 600×600 (may not contain more than 20% text)

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 40 characters

Link description: 20 characters

Clicks to Website/Website Conversions

Image upload: 1200×628

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 25 characters

Link description: 30 characters

Clicks to Website Carousel

Image upload: 600×600

Desktop: 300×300

Mobile: 460×460

Right column: 125×125

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 40 characters

Link description: 20 characters

Event Responses

Image upload: 1920×1080

Desktop: 470×174

Mobile: 560×208

Right column: 254×94

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 25 characters

Lead Generation

Image upload: 1200×628

Desktop: 470×246

Mobile: 560×292

Headline: 25 characters

Text: 90 characters

Description: 30 characters

Local Awareness

Image upload: 1200×628

Headline: 25 characters

Text: 90 characters

Description: 30 characters

Offer Claim

Image upload: 1200×628 (image should contain minimal text)

Text: 90 characters

Offer title: 25 characters

Terms and Conditions (optional): 900 characters

Page Likes

Image upload: 1200×444

Text: 90 characters

Headline: 25 characters

Page Post Engagement Photo

Image upload: 1200×900

Text: 90 characters

Page Post Engagement Video/Video Views

Thumbnail image upload: 1280×720 (image should match video aspect ratio)

Text: 90 characters

Video: Click here for video file formats recommended by Facebook | 30fps | no larger than 4gb

Facebook Post Tips

  1. Share a tip. Start the post with “TIP” so it stands out in followers’ feeds.
  2. Post the most interesting fact related to your content and link to the rest.
  3. Engage. Respond to comments and answer questions; don’t ignore or remove negative feedback.
  4. Stay positive. Positive, helpful updates inspire more engagement than negative ones.
  5. Host a Timeline contest or promotion. Pages can host contests and promotions on their Timelines by asking fans to Like or comment on their post. Use a Comment/Like importer feature to pick a winner and to aggregate and export data.
  6. Include images/videos since they’re more likely to be shared.

New Facebook dimensions template

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[The Elements of a Perfect Facebook Contest [Infographic]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23563 2016-08-15T19:42:28Z 2016-08-16T13:17:03Z We created this guide a few years ago, but think it’s worth sharing again. While Facebook “apps” per se are out of fashion — in favor of embedding campaigns on your website, blog, or publishing as landing pages (and then promoting them everywhere, including Facebook), this list still includes everything you need for your next contest. Here...]]>

We created this guide a few years ago, but think it’s worth sharing again.

While Facebook “apps” per se are out of fashion — in favor of embedding campaigns on your website, blog, or publishing as landing pages (and then promoting them everywhere, including Facebook), this list still includes everything you need for your next contest.

Here are the most important elements for any contest or giveaway:

  1. An exciting and descriptive headline.
  2. An image or video that explains the contest or features the contest prize you’re offering.
  3. An easy-to-read list of contest rules; check out our template for how to’s. 
  4. A description of the prize (here’s our new guide with tips on how to choose one your users will love!).
  5. Beginning and ending dates.
  6. A “Login with Facebook” button.
  7. Contact information entry boxes.
  8. A check box that confirms users have read and agree to the rules of the contest.
  9. A “We will not spam you” disclaimer.
  10. A Facebook disclaimer (note, if you embed your contest on your website or blog, or host it on a landing page, you don’t have to include this).
  11. A “Share with friends” button.
  12. Social share buttons to encourage entrants to share your contest.

Once the contest is live, it’s time to promote it:

  1. Make an announcement and promote the link to your contest on Facebook and your other social networks.
  2. For the duration of your contest, remind users about it.
  3. If you’ve published to Facebook, make sure to rearrange your apps so it’s near the top.
  4. Write a blog post about the contest.
  5. Promote the contest in your company newsletters and email.
  6. Invest in Facebook advertising.

the_perfect_facebook_contest_app

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[How to Rock Your Back to School Sales and Marketing [Infographic]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23547 2016-08-12T19:17:38Z 2016-08-12T19:17:38Z It’s that time of year again! Back to school season is here for some of us, and just around the corner for all the rest. Did you know that BTS is the second biggest retail “holiday” of the year? Here are some wallet-exploding facts: • The average household with kids in k-12 spends $606 on BTS...]]>

It’s that time of year again! Back to school season is here for some of us, and just around the corner for all the rest.

Did you know that BTS is the second biggest retail “holiday” of the year?

Here are some wallet-exploding facts:

• The average household with kids in k-12 spends $606 on BTS shopping

• The average household with kids in college spends $1086 on BTS shopping

• In the U.S., $828 billion is spent on BTS shopping each year

• 17.2% of the year’s retail sales happen during this time of year

• 50% of BTS shoppers buy apparel

• 37% of BTS shoppers buy supplies

• 41% of BTS shoppers buy backpacks and computer supplies

• 17% of BTS shoppers buy computers

 

(If you’re looking for promotion and giveaway ideas to boost sales, offering deal on clothing, supplies and electronics is a great place to start!)

 

• 46% of BTS shoppers say price is one of their main deciding factors when it comes to making purchases

• 9.9% of shoppers say their purchases are 100% influenced by deals

• 37% more money is spent when dads are in charge of BTS shopping

• 27% of dads look for coupons when BTS shopping

• 59% of searches containing the word “coupon” are made on a mobile device

• 7.9% of BTS sales are made online

• 50% of BTS shoppers browse online and then make purchases in store

• 27% of BTS shoppers organize their shopping lists on Pinterest

• 36 cents of every dollar is influenced by “digital interactions” with a brand

You’ll find many more eye-opening stats and other ideas for your back-to-school promotions in this infographic from The Shelf. 

back-to-school-infographic-2016-the-shelf-influencer-marketing-tips

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[3 Last Minute Giveaway Ideas to Boost Back-to-School Sales]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23359 2016-08-08T20:10:05Z 2016-08-09T12:56:45Z Is it just us or does summer seem to get shorter and shorter? Here we are, it’s the first week of August and we’re already seeing “back to school” posts. Of course in lots of places school doesn’t resume until the end of the month, or even after Labor Day Weekend, which means there is still...]]>

Is it just us or does summer seem to get shorter and shorter? Here we are, it’s the first week of August and we’re already seeing “back to school” posts.

Of course in lots of places school doesn’t resume until the end of the month, or even after Labor Day Weekend, which means there is still plenty of time to get some contests and other campaigns up to boost this quarter’s sales.

These three examples are all made using ShortStack’s free public templates and each one took less than 6 minutes to put together. To access them, sign up for a free ShortStack account.

  1. Simple Sweepstakes 

We used the Simple Sweepstakes template and just replaced the image with one we got on Shutterstock. If you don’t have a Shutterstock account, there are plenty of other places you can get images to use for your campaigns. Check out our roundup up of resources where you can find free images.  You can also use Canva to create your own image (do it right inside ShortStack!).

2. Simple Photo Vote Contest

For this Campaign, we used our Simple Photo Vote Contest template and added a “two column” container to the campaign so we could highlight two example images (also from Shutterstock). This is one of our most popular templates. If you’ve never run a photo vote contest before, this quick-start guide gives you the step-by-step. 

3. Simple Coupon

For this final example, we grabbed our Simple Coupon template, swapped out the photo and voila! Coupons are so easy to create and share. We’re biased, but we think you should offer coupons at least every quarter.

If you have questions about these Campaign ideas, just email theteam@shortstacklab.com and we’ll be happy to help.

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Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[#STACKTALK Episode 8: Picking the Perfect Giveaway Prize]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23405 2016-08-08T20:19:18Z 2016-08-08T20:19:18Z Welcome to episode 8 of #STACKTALK, ShortStack’s official podcast about how to create Campaigns and contests to connect, collect leads and market. In this episode, Adam and Ashley discuss the new ShortStack guide, The Elements of a Prize: How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions. Resources discussed in this episode: The Elements of a Prize: How...]]>

Welcome to episode 8 of #STACKTALK, ShortStack’s official podcast about how to create Campaigns and contests to connect, collect leads and market. In this episode, Adam and Ashley discuss the new ShortStack guide, The Elements of a Prize: How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Best practices for picking a giveaway prize:

1. Pick a prize relevant to your brand

2. Diversify your prizes

3. Think seasonally

4. Reward user-generated content

5. Consider your ROI

6. Create a great user experience

Listen to the show here, or download it on your favorite podcasting app. And please, if you like what you hear, leave us a review on iTunes or whatever app you use.

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Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[#STACKTALK Episode 7: ShortStack Feature Updates]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23232 2016-08-02T20:07:57Z 2016-08-03T16:07:28Z Welcome to episode 7 of #STACKTALK, ShortStack’s official podcast about how to create Campaigns and contests to connect, collect leads and market. In this episode, Ashley and Adam are joined by Customer Success expert Jessica to discuss ShortStack feature updates. Resources mentioned in this episode: ShortStack Feature Updates – Mobile Entry Fields, Streamlined Instagram Campaigns, and More! Feature...]]>

Welcome to episode 7 of #STACKTALK, ShortStack’s official podcast about how to create Campaigns and contests to connect, collect leads and market. In this episode, Ashley and Adam are joined by Customer Success expert Jessica to discuss ShortStack feature updates.

Resources mentioned in this episode: ShortStack Feature Updates – Mobile Entry Fields, Streamlined Instagram Campaigns, and More!

Feature updates:

  • The Option to Cap Campaign Entries
  • A Mobile-Friendly Keyboard
  • Transfer Tags and Permissions Settings to Campaigns and Templates
  • Hosting an Instagram Campaign is Easier than Ever

Listen to the show here, or download it on your favorite podcasting app. And please, if you like what you hear, leave us a review on iTunes or whatever app you use.

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Dana Kilroy <![CDATA[NEWS: How to Set Up an Instagram Business Profile]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23296 2016-08-02T15:47:44Z 2016-08-02T15:47:08Z Have you used Instagram for your business? Have you wondered how you can gain more followers and increase engagement on Instagram? First things, first: Set up your Instagram business profile! This post will walk you through the steps you need to take in order to update your profile, giving you access to Instagram’s new insights and...]]>

Have you used Instagram for your business? Have you wondered how you can gain more followers and increase engagement on Instagram?

First things, first: Set up your Instagram business profile! This post will walk you through the steps you need to take in order to update your profile, giving you access to Instagram’s new insights and promotion options.

Ready?

1. Make Sure You Have Access to The Instagram Business Profile

Instagram seems to be rolling this new feature out slowly, so to see if you have access, make sure you’ve updated your app, and then tap the Settings Icon on your profile:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-5

If you have the option to use the new business profile, you’ll see “Switch to Business Profile” near the bottom of the screen. Click the button and you’ll be switched over:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-4

 

2. Add Contact Info and Other Details to Your Profile

You’ll see an “Instagram for Business” welcome message:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-6

Next, you’ll be given the option to Connect Your Facebook Page. If you manage more than one page, make sure you select the page you want to connect with your Instagram Business Profile:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-2

Now you’ll have the option to make some additions to your profile:

• Add email contact info

• Add a phone number

• Add a location.

You can also leave these sections blank if you choose.

slack_for_ios_upload_720

You’ll see another Welcome message, confirming that your business information is now on your profile:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-1

People who come to your Instagram profile can now see options to get directions to your company, or get email contact info. If you’re an ecommerce operation, or have a location you want your customers to be able to visit, this new option makes it really easy for people to get directions to your place of business:

img_2032_720

3. Get Familiar with Instagram’s new Insights panel

To access your new Instagram Insights panel, look at the top right-hand section of your profile. Just to the left of the settings wheel, you’ll see tiny graph icon. Tap it and you’ll be taken to your Insights panel:

slack_for_ios_upload_720

Once you’ve posted something on behalf of your business, you’ll be able to see how many impressions the post gets. If you click on the “See more” link you’ll also see other details about your post, including how many people clicked over to your website:

slack_for_ios_upload_720

You can also gain some insight about your followers by clicking on the “See more” link.

You’ll see gender, age, location, etc. as well as the days and times your followers tend to be online. This will help you fine-tune your posting schedule, and will be especially helpful if you’re using the link in your bio to update your content.  We can see from the Followers panel that ShortStack has slightly more female followers than it does men, and the majority of them are 25-44 years old.

We can see from the Followers panel that ShortStack has slightly more female followers than it does men, and the majority of them are 25-44 years old.

slack_for_ios_upload_720-1

 

4. Promote Your Posts on Instagram

The Instagram update makes it really easy to promote posts within the Instagram app. All you have to do to promote a post is tap the “Promote” button that appears just below the photo:

img_2037_720

After you tap Promote, you’ll be give the option to choose a call to action button. Your choices at this point will depend on some of the details about your business you included when you set the profile.

If you’ve include a telephone number or physical address, you will have the option to have people “Call or visit your business.” They will also be able to “Visit your website”:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-2

After you choose “Visit” or “Call,” you’ll be prompted to “Select Button Text,” which is your call to action. At this point you can choose from “Learn more,” “Watch more,” “Shop now,” “Book now,” “Sign up” and “Contact us.”

Odds are one of these options will align with your goals:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-3

Next, choose the website or landing page you want visitors to check out. In this case, we’re sending people straight to our home page:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-4

Next, choose your audience, budget and the duration. You can choose to let Instagram automate your audience, or you can define an audience based on locations, interests, age and gender.

In our example, we’re targeting people who are interested in Instagram, marketing, social media, etc.:

slack_for_ios_upload_720-5

Once the promotion is approved, it will start running and run for as long as your budget and other parameters allow.

To see how the post is performing, click on the “View Insights” link and you’ll see how many impressions, how many clicks, how much you’ve spent, cost per click and so on:

slack_for_ios_upload_720

By the way, you can’t edit an Instagram post once it’s been promoted, so make sure you proofread your text beforehand.

We’re still learning our way around the new Instagram options, so thanks for learning along with us!

If you missed our recent webinar about increasing Instagram engagement, you can check it out here. And while you’re here, please follow us on Instagram! 

 

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Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions [GUIDE]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23326 2016-08-19T21:29:15Z 2016-08-01T19:40:27Z Download our new guide, The Elements of a Prize: How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions, or read it below! If you’ve created a giveaway or contests for marketing purposes, you’re part of a long tradition of “prize marketing,” which uses the incentive of a prize to reward people who participate in a sweepstakes,...]]>

Download our new guide, The Elements of a Prize: How to Use Prizes and Rewards in Successful Promotions, or read it below!

If you’ve created a giveaway or contests for marketing purposes, you’re part of a long tradition of “prize marketing,” which uses the incentive of a prize to reward people who participate in a sweepstakes, giveaway or contest. And over time, strategies of what prizes work best have evolved. A prize is a vital component of a successful sweepstakes, but there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

In The History of Sweepstakes, authors Lawrence Curtin and Karen Bernardo explore the fascinating culture of sweepstakes, which dates back to ancient times. Originally, a sweepstakes or a raffle was intended to engage communities and rally people together for a common cause. All members of society participated in giveaways during holidays or times of celebration. Merchants in medieval Italy were the first to employ prize drawings as a sales promotion.

These days, the purpose of running a giveaway is threefold: to create awareness of your brand; to generate engagement among your target audience; and to gather leads that have a high chance of converting. The prize is the catalyst for this. Using a prize in a giveaway, contest or sweepstakes motivates people to participate. This drives many social media marketing efforts, including crowdfunding, in which those who contribute receive something in return besides the product to which they’ve contributed.

To determine which prizes work best, we’ve been conducting an ongoing study about what types of prizes motivate the most participation and engagement in ShortStack Campaigns. For the past four years, we’ve tracked notable Campaigns from small and large brands alike, and we’ve identified several best practices for integrating prizes into a marketing strategy.

About ShortStack

ShortStack is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that gives users the tools to develop marketing Campaigns. ShortStack was one of the first companies to see potential in Facebook as a place to host tabs, contests and landing pages.

We refer to anything made with ShortStack as a “Campaign”; this term is all-encompassing for contests, giveaways, promotions and landing pages created with ShortStack. More than 4 million Campaigns have been created with ShortStack, and many of those Campaigns were promotions that included a prize. We identified successful Campaigns by brands including Camp Chef, Tootsie Pops, Star Fine Foods, Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, and Great Lakes, and studied their Campaigns to see how their prizes fit into their strategy. Here’s what we learned.

Best Practice #1: Pick a prize relevant to your brand

It’s important to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to entries. The goal is to draw people to your brand who may actually buy your products or services, so you want to attract people who are interested in your services. Consider making your service the prize.

According to ShortStack CEO Jim Belosic, “The prize you choose has to fulfill two roles: It must attract your target audience and it must showcase your product or service. It’s an incentive and an advertisement.”

Selecting a big prize that sounds trendy or valuable, such as an iPad or cash, may mean that you’ll get a lot of entries and followers. Based on these initial numbers, it looks like the Campaign is a success. But as soon as your Campaign is over, many of the people who followed you and entered may unfollow or unsubscribe. Why? Because they just wanted that iPad, and may not have been interested in your services (unless you happen to sell iPads!).
Even of your service itself isn’t the most glamorous or enticing, you offer it for a reason. “You might have to get creative if you think your product or service is ‘boring,’” says Jim. “Sell mops? Don’t stress; do a promotion to win a mop and a year of housecleaning service.”

When users win a prize linked to your service, they’re also more likely to share their prize with their social networks, especially if there is an incentive to do so. It helps attract a targeted audience. Jim puts it like this: “If you are a CPA and giving away a free tax return service, your target audience is more likely to share the contest with other interested people, like other business owners.”

Organic sharing like this is invaluable, as it’s essentially a word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendation for your brand. And if the prize is something your company offers, or is directly linked to it, new people will be interested in participating in your next Campaign to learn more about your brand.

Case Study:

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa gave away a two-night getaway to help increase engagement during the late winter, early spring — which happen to be the hotel’s off-season. They published their Campaign as a landing page, and also to Facebook, where they receive a lot of organic engagement. Because their prize was also what they “sell” — lodging — they were able to collect user information that they can market promotions to throughout the year. This Campaign received a 78 percent increase in entrants and a 141 percent increase in Campaign views, compared with previous Campaigns that were published to Facebook only.

Best Practice #2: Diversify your prizes

Offering more than one prize might seem like an effective way to attract more entrants to a contest. However, giving away multiple prizes can actually have the opposite effect. According to a report in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, offering more than one of the same prize doesn’t cause participants to perceive their odds of winning as better. The researchers attributed this to consumers being unable to evaluate the value of prizes when there are more than one available. There is a subconscious assumption that offering more than one of the same prize diminishes the value of it, and there’s less of that nail-biting excitement to participate. However, there is a benefit to offering more than one prize if the prizes are all different. When you offer different prizes at different levels, users feel like they have a higher chance of winning something.

If you plan to give away more than one prize at a time, consider offering prizes in tiers — for instance, first, second and third place prizes. A fun approach for users is to give them the option to pick their prize, such as in ShortStack’s Pick Your Prize template. This allows the Campaign creator to display a couple of prize options at different levels of value — such as a coupon, a gift basket, and a gift card — and participants can pick one to enter. Collecting this data allows for easy email list segmentation, or you can combine the data from each prize form to build a new list.

Discount-style promotions are also effective because everyone wins. Traditional giveaways that promote having one grand prize can be viewed as discouraging to many users. The mentality often is since there is such a small chance of winning, why even enter? To avoid this problem, promoting a discount or coupon code through automation — such as an email sign up form that triggers a download button to appear — can be a great solution and alternative to a physical giveaway prize. There is less overhead for the host, too. Discounts and coupons give participants a reason to make a purchase. In other words: Give a little, get a little.

Case Study:

When Tootsie Roll Industries’ Tootsie Pops Facebook Page reached one million fans, they created a Pick Your Prize Campaign to thank their followers. They offered six prizes and let users pick the one they wanted most. The prizes were fun but small, such as a coffee mug, a Mr. Owl pin, candy bags, Tootsie-themed jewelry and phone cases. These tokens of appreciation resulted in high engagement and organic sharing, and ultimately participants were genuinely excited about their winnings.

Best Practice #3: Think seasonally

Seasonally timed prizes are a great way to tie in a promotional theme, as well as attract new users to your Facebook Page. For example, during the first two weeks of February giving away a piece of jewelry or a dinner-for-two giftcard are prize options that are appealing due to their seasonal relevance. Using holidays or well known festive events as a complement to your chosen prize allows for you to be more creative with how you choose to promote your giveaway.

Case Study:

Camp stove manufacturing company Camp Chef ran a successful December giveaway, which resulted in 107% more entries than their usual promotions. This came out to 13,780 entries in 12 days — an impressive feat! Camp Chef gave away 12 products over the course of 12 days, which gave participants many chances to win something. They also marketed the products as gifts, rather than prizes, so even though the participants were still winners, they were actually winning gifts that they could share with their friends and family. Although their busy sales season is summer, taking advantage of the winter holidays allowed Camp Chef to generate holiday business.

Best Practice #4: Reward user-generated content

Contests that require participation from people mean that you get something in return: data. Create a Campaign that takes advantage of user-generated content (UGC) and give a prize to the winner who generates the most engagement. According to Kissmetrics, “Through awards of cash, merchandise, free service and even recognition, you can encourage your readers to help you generate original content — content that will help you build your business and deliver value to your visitors.” UGC is often referred to as “Google Food,” since it makes your brand appear higher in search results.

A UGC contest also turns passive participants into active ones. A photo contest requires a user to take a photo, submit it, and share it to receive votes. This makes people work a bit for the prize. These types of promotions, which are usually focused on increasing engagement and brand awareness, can include different types of prizes. You may consider offering a combination of prizes, such as a free trial of your service or one of your popular products, and also feature the winning photo on your website. This provides the winner with a tangible prize and also incentivizes them to share their winning entry with their networks, once again taking advantage of powerful WOM marketing.

Case Study:

Mediterranean food producer Star Fine Foods ran a successful giveaway in which they had three levels of prizes: a grand prize of $5,000, a first prize of $1,000, and a second prize of a year’s supply of Star Olives. Participants could enter photos, take a quiz or browse recipes; the more activities they engaged in, the higher chance they had of winning. It also gave Star Fine Foods the opportunity to collect a ton of data. This type of contest resulted in an increase of website traffic by 288%.

Best Practice #5: Consider your ROI

A good prize doesn’t have to require a large investment. Remember the goals of the sweepstakes: engagement, awareness and conversion. Those goals should drive the prize you choose. You might be surprised: Giving away a $5 jar of jelly from your homemade canning business can generate just as much engagement as an iPad giveaway, because the participants genuinely care about your product. For your first couple of promotions, try starting with a smaller, less expensive prize. If the results of your giveaway have met or exceeded your expectations, you can feel good knowing you didn’t have to totally break the bank buying your giveaway prize.

Case Study:

Bijou Candles increased their email list by 50% by giving away a signed copy of celebrity stylist Lauren Conrad’s new book, Celebrate, along with a set of their luxury candles. The giveaway package cost the company less than $100, and Bijou received well over that value in return thanks to their increased email list which is now full of qualified leads that have a high chance of converting. The Campaign received nearly 4,000 views and more than 500 entries.

Best Practice #6: Create a great user experience

Should you want to give away a large prize — such as cash, a scholarship or an item with significant value (like a house or a car) — you should also invest time into making your giveaway as beautiful and user-friendly as possible. No matter how good your prize is, users won’t want to participate if the promotion is difficult to find or use. Test the Campaign thoroughly before launch, and make it “omnichannel,” meaning post it to more than one site to ensure maximum visibility.

It’s important to also do your research on the legality of your prize and what winning means for your brand and for the winner. It’s frustrating when a prize results in more stress for the winner, such as unexpected taxes or a delay in receiving it. According to Klein Moynihan Turco, a law firm that specializes in internet gaming law, “After you have decided on the basic structure of your promotional game, it is crucial that you determine all key aspects of the contest (duration, prize amounts, number of prizes, etc.) ahead of time when drafting the all-important contest rules, because once a promotion commences, and the rules are published, it is next to impossible to legally alter material terms. The key with respect to rules drafting is: do not overextend in terms of time or the number or value of prizes.” Spend time drafting rules for your promotion that set clear expectations for when the winner will receive it, and what they need to do on their end. We also recommend having a lawyer review your promotion before it goes live.

Case Study:

Loan provider Great Lakes gave away a $6,000 cash prize to put toward a student loan. Although this seems like a hefty chunk of money, Great Lakes is in the business of money, so the prize also gave them some authority in the realm of loans, and it made the company look very philanthropic. Their Campaign consisted of a quiz to test participants’ knowledge about student loans. Great Lakes also included clearly written rules about the prize, the ways people could enter, and how they could expect to be awarded the winning prize. This Campaign resulted in more than 206,000 entries.

Final Thoughts

A great prize is the nexus of successful giveaways and sweepstakes. It’s what gets people excited about participating in your promotions. To gather high-quality leads that will actually result in more business, choose prizes that are directly linked to your brand to take advantage of that interest in your product or service. Create a great participatory experience for your target audience by making your Campaign easy and fun to enter, and be clear with the rules and conditions. A good prize doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s all about creating the perceived value of the prize and of your brand so that users will want to partake in you have to offer.

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Ashley Hennefer <![CDATA[Increase Your Instagram Engagement by More Than 150% [Webinar Recording]]]> http://www.shortstack.com/?p=23295 2016-08-02T17:16:48Z 2016-07-29T16:00:02Z On July 27, we hosted a webinar about increasing your engagement by more than 150%. We’ve included a recording of this webinar, which you can watch below. This webinar was co-hosted by Brent and Ashley (who hosts the official ShortStack podcast, #STACKTALK). Here are some key Instagram stats we cover in the webinar: Instagram currently has 500...]]>

On July 27, we hosted a webinar about increasing your engagement by more than 150%. We’ve included a recording of this webinar, which you can watch below. This webinar was co-hosted by Brent and Ashley (who hosts the official ShortStack podcast, #STACKTALK).

Here are some key Instagram stats we cover in the webinar:

  • In Social Fresh’s The Future of Social Media report, they found that Instagram has surpassed all platforms, save for Facebook, in businesses’ social media budgets.

Using ShortStack with Instagram

Because Instagram only provides the opportunity to add a clickable link to select places — underneath a bio, and in an advertisement — we recommend using your bio link to the fullest. You can do this using our Instagram Promotion template, which allows marketers to track one URL that serves as a continuously updated feed of content.

Learn more about how to set this up through our webinar:

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