Step 1: You caved in and decided you are going to jump in head first on the Social Media bandwagon. You’ve read all the blogs, forums, and assassinated the latest copy of “Facebook for Dummies”.
Amidst the chaos of a new marketing campaign, don’t forget to write down your new username and password for your dealer’s:
- Facebook Fan Page
- Twitter Account
- WordPress Admin (Blog)
- Youtube Channel
Step 2: Move forward. Along with your dealership employees, a few random friends from your local baseball team, college alumni, and family members, you “like” the Facebook fan page. You are tweeting like a dog in heat, but you still only have 39 followers and they’re all of your vendors! The Youtube videos that took hours to upload and create only have 12 views and you’re pretty sure they were all from your mother. It’s at this is the point that your interest and momentum start to fade and you either: a) Give up b) Spend thousands of dollars to work with the latest and greatest social media guru.
The correct answer? c) “Contest Marketing”. It just makes sense.
Step 3: Contest Marketing—what is it?
Social Media surf bum Brendan Wenzel puts it this way:
“Contest marketing is crowd sourcing at its best. It gives your readers, customers or fans incentives to share you with their friends, write content for your site and possible anything else you’d like them to do.”
Contest Burner was developed by marketing guru, Bill Macintosh. The concept is to allow individuals and businesses an easy way to develop and manage their own online contests to increase site traffic and brand awareness. By awarding your contestants points for promoting your dealerships channels, you can potentially increase:
- Links to your site/blog
- Facebook Fan “Likes”
- Twitter Followers
- Youtube views and channel subscriptions
- Newsletter sign ups
Step 4: Run a contest with the WordPress plugin “Contest Burner”
The best part of the Contest Burner plugin is that it not only creates your online contest, it manages it too. Everything from the amount of points awarded to participants to the creation of a motivational “leader board”, the Contest Burner requires little input from you. And, for a small fee, you can become a premium user and take advantage of features like running multiple contests at the same time.
How do contestants gain points?
The plugin is designed to track and award points to users for performing certain actions. It goes something like this:
- Become a fan of ANY DEALER Facebook Fan Page: 50 points
- Follow ANY DEALER on Twitter: 50 points
- Comment on an ANY DEALER Youtube video: 100 points
- Subscribe to ANY DEALER YoutTube Channel: 100 points
- Anyone that clicks on your personal url (drawing new traffic to the contest): 150 points
- Writing a blog post about the contest and using “Toronto Toyota Dealer” as the anchor text : 500 points
- Create a YouTube Video and use http://www.anydealer.com as the first part of the description: 750 points
You can make the contest as simple or complex as you want. I suggest getting your feet wet by running a small campaign that focuses only on gaining Twitter Followers. This will allow you to get a feel for the program and plan for the big barn burner after you have gained a solid amount of followers who are actively engaged in your social media offerings.
Step 5: Deciding on the right contest prize:
Your contest does not have to award a brand new car (but imagine the buzz!), but the prize should add value to your target audience. General prizes like Ipads, Ipods, and cash are sure to get things moving in the right direction, but by offering multiple prizes, you increase the chances of your participants putting in some serious devotion. And, adding prizes that are specific to your local dealership market will garner attention and participation from future clients in your area.
Step 6: Maintain client interest
Just because the contest is over doesn’t mean that work is! Announce the winner—include pictures if you can—and keep followers guessing by hosting regular contests with meaningful rewards. This will gain customer loyalty while attracting new followers with their eyes on the prize.
Brendan Wenzal’s Social Media Marketing Machine Contest:
This post was inspired by reading a Tweet from one of Brendan’s followers which drove me to the You Tube Video he had done for this contest. By posting this video, this participant is going to gain some serious points but also anyone who clicks his specialized url in the video description is counted as…you guessed it more points! Check out the contest here for full details. Here you can see what the contest leader board will look like. This is managed by the WordPress Plug-in:
Disclaimer: I have not personally used Contest Burner and have no affiliation with the product. I would advise to check your state laws on contests. The concept appears to have all of the right stuff to get the viral love that the gurus are preaching in their seminars.
By Ryan Thompson:
Ryan is the Canadian Account Manager for CarChat 24, and also the founder of The Dealer Geek a site to provide the basics for “America North” aka Canada. Follow his 2 twitter handles : @ryan_carchat and @thedealergeek