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Real-Time, Social Photo Contests & Eight Steps to Kick Awesome Promotions

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“Brian McNeil-Smith is a Facebook promotions expert based in Ontario, Canada. He’s also the Director of North America at EasyPromosApp, an affordable, scalable real-time Facebook promotions platform. He’s skied all over the East (US & Canada) and, while he enjoys Spring and Summer out west, he still hopes, one day, to ski Aspen and Jackson Hole.”

Facebook Promotions, on just about all Facebook pages these days, can deliver big rewards to those using them wisely. Promotions types include, Like Gate/Fan Only Reveal, Surveys/Market Research, Coupons and Promotional Codes, Sweepstakes, Photo/Video/Essay Contests, and Recruiter Contests. What these have in common is the ability for you to gain likes and build your CRM chalk full of prospects feeding ongoing marketing campaigns.

Here are some good points to know about your next promotion:

1) Facebook requires you to follow set guidelines.
You will not administer a promotion on Facebook except through an application on This includes collecting entries, judging, conducting a drawing, and notifying winners.

2) Consider a series vs a One-Off Promotion.
Social media is about lasting engagement so mix up your promotions, keep it interesting by starting off simple with sweepstakes and coupons and gradually incorporating voting contests that can go viral.

3) Planning and execution are vital.
If you are new to Facebook promotions start slow or hire a pro so you don’t disappoint. Promoting your promotion and understanding how and when to deploy key features of the app spell out your success.

4) Make it easy to enter.
The user flow of your app should be straight forward leaving no room for guess work. Don’t ask for DOB or City and Zip if you aren’t going to use it.

5) Reward participants appropriately.
Users will be happy to enter a sweepstakes offering the chance to win a T-shirt but don’t ask them to create a video for that same prize value.

6) Avoid being overly specific.
Also if you are doing a photo contest avoid being too specific such as ‘photo must be taken in our lobby on christmas day in a santa claus suit’ unless you want to drastically shrink participation.

7) Get involved, extend the buzz, make it a production.
Don’t just run the promotion from behind the computer screen, be visible, talk it up, engage staff, coordinate it with other cool events you have going on at the resort or major events like a world cup downhill weekend announcement tied into awareness of your promotion.

8) Consider real-time promotions
More recently Facebook promotions have shifted into realtime photo contests combining the strengths of social media giants, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The is our strength (our company has hosted more than 60,000 realtime social promotions) so let me dig a little deeper on this.

In this arena you need to ensure the app can handle the task at hand from the standpoint of ease of user flow but also from the angle of mobile compatibility. This new twist adds a degree of viral buzz other promotions can’t deliver because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are already natural hangouts for skiers while they’re at your resort.

Already Doing It
Sound crazy? Not really. With smart phones, skiers are updating their friends in the moment, commenting and replying to comments. It was only a matter of time for leaders in this space to see the natural marriage of the three technologies into one cool realtime promotion app.

While your clients are already entrenched in these behaviors you are simply offering a nice incentive (prize) so they will share on your contest platform. The result is a social multiplying effect directly attached to your brand. Feel good emotions become magnified creating an authentic buzz that can’t be faked.

A Quick Example
A large international brand in the music industry collaborated with a 2 day live music festival to run a photo contest. Using our app with Twitter and Instagram activated they were able to attract 121 photo entries and increase their fanbase by 90 new fans in addition to engaging tons of existing fans.

The duration of the event and the contest was very short, the promotion of the contest was very brief and limited to a few targeted tweets to their relevant audience.

Entrants could chose to upload directly via facebook or tweet or instagram their entries. The majority of users posted live photos via twitter and instagram hashtags to the Facebook contest and then attracting votes to their photos. The top 6 voted entries won 6 months subscriptions to this music software company’s products.

You Are Lucky
You have what every marketing team on earth dreams of –far reaching yet meaningful targeted visual advertising that compels viewers to become engaged with their brand. What’s even better, these contests can be run on a tiny marketing budget that doesn’t even scratch the surface of other lesser reaching strategies.

Who isn’t interested in seeing an incredible picture of a mountain with rugged terrain and a skier carving powder.… I could go on. I think most people seeing this on their page would feel compelled to look at it more closely and feel connected. Now combine this allure with friends connecting to friends, sharing, liking, commenting and you have one powerful marketing combination without the expense and that is much more sticky than just about anything else I can imagine.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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