Today's blog article on using social media contest to boost customer referrals comes from Lindsey McConnahay. In her article she outlines how to utilize social media to get referrals from from your customers, through implementing a simple contest.

You’ve hung out your shingle, opened your doors and made it through those first six months relatively unscathed. You’ve prepared for years to run your small business, maybe you carefully selecting valuable internships while you earned your MBA or you spent time writing up your business plan while you held a corporate job. You made sure that you were sufficiently capitalized to allow for a little breathing room before opening the doors. Now, you’ve reached that point in your business plan where you’re ready to expand. This being the second decade in the 21st Century, a well thought out social media contest may yield those new customers upon which your company’s next move depends.

The concept behind using social media for a promotion ties-in with what made social media a household term. Your existing customer base represents the starting point for an exponential growth of leads and as long as your contest starts with this understanding, the potential for converting leads is increased. Remember, the primary reason for growth is to increase and maximize profits. Directing new customers to products or services with the highest margins of profit should be a focal point of whatever campaign you select. Social media is simply a means to an end, but it’s one that, when employed smartly, pays good dividends.


Match your social media focus to your target base

Just as each social media site has its own demographic signature, your customer base also has an identity. Matching your contest to the appropriate networking site is an initial consideration. This, of course, presupposes that you’ve sufficiently collected and researched the profile of your customer base. If your service tends to the needs of a younger, tech savvy population, Twitter or YouTube might be ambitious, but wise options. If your range of customers is widely distributed, Facebook is an obvious possibility and the ability to combine platforms should not be overlooked if your current base and desired influx of new customers match with such use of technology. The best way to find out what social network they use the most is to conduct a quick survey. Than with the results you can focus your efforts on the social media site that most of your customers use the most.


If you say it, they doubt it; if they say it, it’s true

There are hokey contests and then there are opportunities for customers to positively interact with your firm, encouraged by some incentive. You want your contest to be the latter. Build your campaign on having customers promote some strong suit of your firm. If you manufacture a product, construct a means of having consumers brag about what they like in your product. If you have a service, that special aspect of what you do better than your competitor should be highlighted. How these customers promote your business in hopes of bounty, fame or both is a matter of technology.

If your target population is likely to hold Twitter accounts, the use of a specific hash tag with your company’s name or even a slogan, (#Packetworks), could be the means by which a participant becomes eligible for some reward. Another idea is to have customer create homemade testimonials on YouTube, and share them on Facebook. While not an original concept, it can certainly work. For a clientele with rudimentary social media experiences, using Facebook alone may suffice. The most critical aspect of the promotion is to have customers share with their social network, their spheres of influence, the fact that you provide something they approve of enough to presell for you!


Keep it simple

The details of any contest are for you, the business owner, to concoct using the wise counsel of your associates (and legal advisors). Simplicity is key, both for you who plans the event and the intended contestants. Make it as easy as possible for these customers to do two things: take part in your campaign and involve their friends, either directly or indirectly. Ideas for the contest might be 1 entry into a draw for every social media post an individual customer does. To make this type of a contest work you will need to have a good prize or a sizable cash reward. Another option would be to offer some kind of discount or free trial in exchange for a social media post. The options are endless. The key is to come up with something simple that will entice your customers to talk about you positively on social media.

Finally, track the results of your event. Look for patterns of new activity. If your increase in sales trended for the bigger margin products or services, then you’ve found a winning combination. If sales increased across the board, build upon that success and retool your next event to focus even more on profit-producing activities. If, however, your results are not what you’d hoped, find out why and adjust. After all, recognizing market trends and adjusting accordingly has gotten you where you are so far, so applying these existing talents to a contest should be well within your capabilities.


Lindsey McConnahay is a writer and small business owner in the high tech realm of industry. She lives in the Midwest and is an advocate of MBA. A special thanks to Lindsey for writing this great article.



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My name is . I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers. Feel free to connect with me on Google+ or if you are just interested in getting new customers for your B2B small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Updates" button.


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I hope you have enjoyed this article on using social media contest to boost customer referrals. As always I love to feature guest posts on my blog. If you would like to write an article that is on a topic that is related to getting new customers, and have expertise to share, I would love to feature you. If you are interested just contact me and let me know what you would like to write on.