Don’t Overlook The Power of a Self-Run Giveaway!

Social media is a vehicle to engage in conversations with customers and prospects. There are a number of different ways for brands to strike up a dialogue and some are more simple than others. One low input/high upside tactic is deploying giveaways.

The most common kinds are multi-brand giveaways with two or more brands pairing together to combine their audiences for optimal reach and awareness, as well as vanity metrics such as follows and likes on a post. While this giveaway tactic is a proven winner, it isn’t the only way to go about it. If you have a full strategy in place, including paid social, targeting and solid prizes, a self-run giveaway can be highly effective too.

One of our clients, @lovegracejuice, a line of gourmet and GMO-free juices, smoothies, and elixirs ran four different self-run giveaways throughout the month of January. The prize was a cleanse package, which comes with a significant price tag and therefore more of a CTA than most.  As you know, January is a time of healthy resolutions, many of which don’t always stick. To appeal to Love Grace’s target audience of health-conscious individuals, we ran a juice-cleanse giveaway each week to keep that motivation up throughout the month! This giveaway resonated extremely well with our target sets and earned an average of 300+ comments per post.

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The client also wanted to start harvesting more emails for ongoing marketing purposes. To that end, we made it that the cost of entry was to enter an email on a separate landing page. We earned over 1,000 link clicks to the Love Grace landing page and a ton of new emails. On top of that, it generated a retargeting audience of website visitors and a lookalike audience of that group too, that we can now market to in the future,

To ensure delivery of a promotion like this, you need to invest dollars into Facebook and Instagram Ads. The intent of these should be link clicks (drive traffic to the landing page) and not just awareness (impressions). An ancillary benefit of boosting this giveaway was an uptick in actual web sales for January.  Who doesn’t like revenue? ;)

You need to take action to produce action. A well thought out self-run giveaway is entirely in your control and the awareness is all about you and your brand, with no Costar. It only makes sense though, if you know what success looks like upfront and then put all of the pieces in place to maximize that result.

Once you find a winner, double down and run it back!

 

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Nowadays, Giveaways are a smart way to hack exposure!

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With Q1 2020 quickly approaching, it’s essential to take inventory of your social media strategy from 2019 and adjust where necessary. Here at Sircle Media, we’re always staying on top of social media trends and making awareness, consideration, and trial the top priorities for our clients.

In 2019, giveaways were a surefire way to help increase followers and awareness among niche audiences, especially when collaborating with multiple brands.  If you strictly want eyeballs on your packaging and/or some usage cases, then side by side collaborations with likeminded brands remain a smart, and low-cost play.  The rub though with some of these collaborations is that users will often only follow the brands involved in order to receive a prize, rather than turn into a true fan of the product. This leads to a drop in followers after the giveaway has closed.

I would argue that this is ok and a byproduct of the strategy, as long as you got views on your solid content showcasing your product. BONUS: you picked a winner that is likely someone from your core target demo and you got the product into their home. If the product is good, repeat trial is likely. Also, all of the losers give your social media manager some targets to strike up a dialogue with and see if he/she can convert them with community management and/or surprise and delight tactics, such as delivery of coupons/discount codes, etc.

In 2020, take your giveaway strategy a bit deeper, by running some self underwritten promotions with larger prizes AND even include a CTA to one of your primary sales channels. To that end, recently, one of our clients, Energice, a line of vitamin-infused frozen hydration pops, held a giveaway where the prompt was to follow the Energice account for a chance to win a “40 Energice variety pack” and a $50 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card.

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Energice is an attractive product for professional athletes and active individuals in general. Their pops have an isotonic formula of electrolytes, B vitamins, and potassium for peak performance. Energice is sold through their website, Amazon, and at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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The Dick’s Sporting Goods $50 gift card was the ideal add on prize for this giveaway, considering it is:

1. The retailer at which the product is sold, and we created awareness around the partnership.

2. A relationship we really want to protect and grow.

2. Where Energice’s core target audience loves to shop and gives them a prize they can cash in on, above and beyond our client’s product.

All of the above made the giveaway extremely attractive to the exact target audience they wanted to speak with.

Rather than boosting this giveaway through The Facebook Ads Manager which we traditionally use, we boosted it through the Instagram App which has the button “View Profile”, making it even easier for Instagram users to find the Energice page. It also helps pad vanity metrics a bit, in the feed which helps incentivize others to join in.

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The results of this giveaway were favorable for the brand. First off, Energice received 400 new followers (not my most important KPI, but one the brand cares about nonetheless), and we only targeted new eyeballs, which means these are new prospects for the brand.  While they clearly didn’t follow the full instructions (the first ask was to LIKE the post and only 95 people did) it still earned a nice amount of impressions and significant comments. It also was a great advertisement for our shelf space at Dick’s and is a solid show of partnership for their salespeople to share with the buyer.

In 2020 it is important to get a little more creative with these exposure hacks, especially as Facebook and Instagram Ads will start to increase in price as the Presidential election draws near. Id recommend everybody consider, multi-brand, dual-brand, self-run, influencer supported and some retailer focused collaborations in the first quarter. Get out there and make it happen!

 

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Influencers provide eyeballs and content, but do they produce revenue?

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Creating memorable content is so important when trying to convey to a user how your product might perform. When it comes to food, performance is best conveyed through taste and usage cases, such as recipes. Influencers are an excellent resource to rely on for compelling content, especially since they are the ultimate customer and can convey a more authentic narrative to other users and potential buyers of your product.

When it comes to influencers, we think some are great for influence (providing eyeballs) and some are great for content (food stylists and/or photographers) and the best ones provide both. The truly special partners are those who are judicious in their brand selection and therefore are deemed more reliable than others who seemingly date a different brand every day. These ingredients (pun intended) are what makes Ashley Cuoco (@ashcuoco) one of the best in the game. You cant overuse her because she is selective and ultra-authentic, but when you have a good pairing, as we do with our client Mutti, you have a truly special partnership.

Not only has she produced wonderful content and exposed their brand to other impassioned foodies on Instagram, but it has also opened up a number of great opportunities to have a conversation within the comments.  While community management is the least sexy component of social media, it is probably the most important. Remember, that this is an uncontrolled communications medium and you want to engage in a dialogue with consumers. This is what makes it “social” in the first place and differentiates the efforts from traditional, controlled media, such as PR and branding. Having a true fan of your brand as your influencer partner activates solid word of mouth activity and can directly lead to new business.

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Some brands sleep on the comments and are even completely unresponsive at times. They are happy (sometimes) with the awareness and/or the photo they received, but ironically it is the comments that will most likely lead to actual sales. All brands want to see increases in revenue and that’s why our team pays close attention to the comments section – it’s where the business happens.

We see this especially when a brand works with an influencer that people actually respect and are influenced by. When they post about your product it will often directly lead to questions such as “where can I find this?” or “what are the ingredients?” These are literal buying questions and give you the opportunity for a sale right then and there. Rather than telling and selling, you are responding and facilitating. This is a much better position to be in for a brand.

Below you can see an example of this in action. In May, Ashley posted about a Tomato Confit recipe using Mutti’s Canned Tomatoes. The asset was beautiful and it opened up a dialogue with various users.

Another micro-influencer, @gatherweekly, commented on Ashley’s post and the influencer and brand both responded quickly and provided ways to secure the product through various distribution channels. This is excellent ammunition for the client’s salespeople, especially in retail, to showcase demand.

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The lesson here is that you should be working with authentic influencers that can provide you with both content and influence. If you do, it is then mission-critical to be in the weeds on the comments on both their profile and your own. Marketers are obsessed with scale and volume metrics (like impressions and reach) as well as ROAS analytics (Spent X and made Y) but these types of small ball activities are perhaps the most valuable and underrated. We spend quite a bit of time here for our clients and although it is a lot of work, it is certainly worth it.

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Boost Brand Awareness with Facebook’s CBO!

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Over time, we’ve seen organic reach become non-existent on social. These days it really is a paid social ecosystem and if you know what you are doing and you are committed to testing and experimenting it can bear a lot of fruit. Not only do you want your product in front of new eyes, but you want your product in front of the right eyes.

Creating your own, solid branded content is important and while it doesn’t need to be your entire diet (we actually believe it should be about 50-60% of your content mix) it should be a significant portion of it. Once made, if you want that content to be seen you need to pay to make that happen. Then, when you boost content, you need to target the right audience for better results.

That’s why we’ve been utilizing Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) within the Facebook Ad Platform. CBO takes your top audiences and puts dollars behind posts that perform the best organically. CBO creates higher reach, engagement, and even follows.

In order to utilize CBO to its fullest, boosted posts should be high quality and have engaging captions so your target audience is as responsive as possible. This is one of the many reasons we believe in investing in quality content as well as experimentation. You want to make sure the asset is powerful so that if it does get seen, it is memorable and then you also need to try out different tactics to see what resonates. It is very important to not just sit back and play it safe.

One of our clients, Driftwood Jeans, is a unique denim line with chic embroideries that has been seeing incredible results from CBO. For the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with this tactic on many of their posts. First, we created four audiences to be assigned to Driftwood’s top-performing organic posts. Facebook then pushes funds to whichever audience AND post perform best. Then, at the beginning of each month, we swap out those audiences and continue experimenting with new ones.

We created a specific audience, one of many that we have created for this client, (that we cannot share here) that has really stood out. Then, CBO paired it with one of our PFC (Product Front and Center) video posts.

This was an engaging video and had an interactive caption. Because the post was also targeted to the perfect audience, we saw 568 likes, 32 comments, and most importantly, 24,956 video views. For a nominal investment, this asset packed quite a punch!

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Organic reach is nearly zero and less relevant than ever before. It is so important to have someone on your side that is well versed in paid social and not just acquisition experts looking for the best possible ROAS. If you are in the social media game, then you need to be creating content at scale, experimenting with different types, styles, cadence, and captions and then putting funds behind guaranteed delivery of that content to a variety of audiences.  If you stay the course and use tools such as CBO, then sometimes things catch fire.

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Snapbac + Santia Deck = Influencer Gold.

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As we’ve stated many times before, at Sircle Media, we love to forge partnerships with thoughtful, authentic influencers. Recently one of our clients, Snapbac, (a line of compression-based sportswear that helps you warm up, work out and recover, all in one garment with revolutionary heat and ice therapy pods) partnered up with the incredible Santia Deck, an Olympic USA rugby hopeful and USA flag football athlete. Not only does Santia have a following of 328,000+, but many of them are real athletes who love to engage with her posts. Meaning she has width and depth.

The partnership consisted of some Instagram feed posts and Instagram Stories each month over many months. On Santia’s feed, she went above and beyond the terms of the contract, because she really found value in the product. This is such an important, though often overlooked ingredient to true collaboration with people of influence. Many get paid to promote products they don’t even use, to be honest, and that is just not the real deal. Santia sported their gear organically during her sprinting exercises and rugby workouts because they help her perform at her best, which is the intent of the product in the first place. These posts resonated well with her audience and she was the “featured actress” and Snapbac was just the supporting cast.

She also did a Story takeover and she discussed the benefits of the heat and ice therapy pods as well as why she loves the compression on both the top and bottom part of the body. Before the takeover, she announced that she would be doing so on her own Instagram Story. During the takeover, Santia did not post on her own feed, so it felt like she was genuinely taking over the Snapbac account for the day.

Her takeover offered real content from a fitness maven, explaining exactly how to use our product (=content Gold) and it also provided 2-3X the amount of impression consumption on each Story (in comparison to 200-300 which is the norm). We also had a spike of 100 followers that day along with DMs about our product and pricing (=buying questions!).

Santia Deck has been such an incredible influencer to work with. She is awesome, a real inspiration in fitness and a great partner. Not only did she wear Snapbac’s apparel in posts directed towards the brand, but she also wore the apparel in posts where she was advertising for other brands (=added value).

Working together with influencers that resonate with your brand and understand how to represent the product is what makes the right partnerships so successful. This is why Sircle believes in the power of a fully integrated partnership with real influencers who wield actual influence AND know how to play the game and really collaborate with their brand partners. Just another reason, why @trackbaby001 is a star!

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Influencer Spotlight: @Headstandsandheels

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At Sircle Media, a big part of what we do for brands is managing relationships and strategic partnerships with influencers. These days, a lot of people are faking it in the influencer space, so it is really important to analyze and understand what makes one great.

We recently partnered with an amazing young woman, who goes by @headstandsandheels on Instagram. First off, I like the handle selection, as it doesnt pigeonhole her as much as others because she can toe the like between health and fashion. She is not a macro influencer with 100K+ followers, but she provides so much more depth than many of those profiles. To me, it is about strategically finding underpriced attention, rather than reaching for overpriced partners that often lack the punch their numbers imply.

We prefer to look for brand ambassador type engagements over one and done relationships that are all too common these days on social. We contacted Melanie and together came up with a multi-dimensional partnership to be run over the next few months for our client, Terra Origin. It involves many posts, online content, offline events and a really comprehensive collaboration that allows her to really get to know and experience the brand and products and provide her take on how they make her feel or perform in general. In order to really wield influence and opine on their value, she had to immerse herself in them. This way she can provide honest and truthful information (the whole point of “influence”) and our client (who of course, believes deeply in their products) gets to show off their wares to someone who is a bullseye target.

Plenty of influencers strike these types of partnerships every day, so this alone is not a differentiator.  What makes her special is that she is a wonderful soul and a pleasure to work with. So many influencers lack business acumen and are hard to deal with. Others don’t actually have influence and are selling follower count over everything else and not willing to put in the work. Melanie acted like a business person and really sat down and negotiated with us to help get us to terms (financial/logistical/creative) that work for both parties.

I also want to point out how she engages with her community. Many influencers post content that is beautiful (and even accomplishes the reach desired from the relationship) but I find that so many don’t engage in their comments on those photos. They treat the relationship like PR (one-way presentation) and don’t get into the weeds and conversation with their followers. To me, an influencer who does not do that religiously is leaving opportunity on the table and extremely vulnerable to losing their influence as platforms evolve. She is in there, having a conversation and providing depth in addition to her width. This makes her a great partner.

Bonus: In the image here, she is wearing Sweaty Betty which is a brand Terra Origin would love to be associated with. I know some marketing folks who would be annoyed that they were underwriting the relationship and another brand was stealing some of the thunder.  I personally love the association upside it brings with it. I look at it as her being authentic and living her life and she is bringing value to that other brand too in the process. To me, it means she either worked with them before and as a truthful influencer, continues to bring value to a brand she had a relationship with because she genuinely likes the product. OR it is a brand she just loves (and has such a solid brand profile, that you could argue it actually raises her street cred) and that brand should pay attention and come work with her. Regardless of the spirit, I love and applaud the hustle and tactic.

Big fan Melanie, big fan!

 

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On Instagram collaborations and giveaways…

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At Sircle, we run all kinds of Instagram collaborations and giveaways for clients every day it seems. We do so, because they are surefire ways to hack new exposure for a brand and typically come with very little cost, other than some hard work and logistics management. They carry a lot of upside with little downside in our opinion, as you try to harvest and grow an Instagram community.

Working in this way is a “religion over tactics” (@Garyvee) type thing, as it takes commitment and consistency to see the results. You need to remain dedicated to the initiative and must not just put your toe in the water and be half sold on the mission. You also cant jump in and out and/or sweat the details of any one engagement, if you want to see real success.

The floor in this equation, is that these gain you new eyeballs and an endorsement from the brand or influencer you collaborate with in front of their earned audience. As a ceiling, if the ask is compelling and your content is attractive, then you gain new followers and engagement on your own account. Either way, you are displaying your product front and center with a group of people, who have likely never even heard of your brand before. Isn’t that the whole point of marketing?

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Earlier this month we ran this giveaway/collaboration for our client Wala Swim.  We partnered up with another brand, @mydevcurl, that brought with them 257K followers and exposure to a new and more diverse audience (another KPI for the client). We also lassoed in an influencer, @mzbiancarenee, who has a solid and engaged following, for accelerated reach and exposure.

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The table above is from Iconosquare and displays follower growth over a week in early August. When we posted on August 2nd we saw a big pop in followers (+1753 net) and had another solid day on August 3rd (+509 net) too. Both were well north of their average organic (125) and contest driven (300) daily growth numbers. Most clients focus on net growth numbers as their proxy for success with these, and though we think they are important, I am even more happy with the impressions, likes and comments it earned. I also like the engagement opportunities is teed up for us to strike up a one-to-one conversation with those who engaged.

Either way, this one did particularly well given the creative, timing and partners that were selected. The truth is you never know which will really pop until you take it for a spin. If it is an evergreen component to your strategy, then you are at least putting yourself in a position to win.  If you aren’t in the game, there is zero chance for success like this – that I know for certain!

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Twitter: The party isn’t over…

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At Sircle Media, we are buyers of underpriced attention and we are not overly romantic about where that attention comes from (amen @garyvee). Social networks have made communication at scale so easy, that sometimes we lose site of how each can add value.  We always want more, and we get lost in the shiny newness of the next big thing. We encourage that you think about what you want to have happen and then reverse engineer from there.

While some brands are moving away from Twitter, we are finding some pockets of attention that are very attractive on the platform. Last month, we executed a Twitter party with the micro influencer @heyaprill for our client Paula’s Choice Skincare. The client decided to run a last minute promotion to push their 2% BHA liquid exfoliant and came to us looking for a quick program to help generate awareness, buzz and most importantly sales. Of course we looked at Facebook and Instagram organic and paid efforts first, but we also recommended they consider leveraging the captive audience which can come from a Twitter party.  They gave us the green light and we got to work.

18222259_10154348693051861_549624885018734284_nAll Aprill needed from us was a graphic (seen above) talking points (which we crafted and made about BHA specifically), hashtags to track the chat, and prizes provided by the client.  We arranged all of this on their behalf, within 24 hours. Prior to the party, she teased the giveaway on her website where people could RSVP for the chat and 1995 people did!

On the day of the chat we had her give away bottles of 2% BHA (every 10 mins), a $100 visa gift card (from @heyaprill), and a grand prize of a year supply of 2% BHA. These were incentives for people to want to join the chat and ultimately keep them participating for the full hour.

The actual chat was amazing and people were so engaged throughout. We monitored all chatter around it on Hootsuite and the notifications were literally non stop. Participants were active and passionate with their messaging and were using the hashtag #BHACHAT as requested. The conversation centered around real issues and the benefits and value of the product to help remedy those problems. This was excellent and highly targeted content consumption.

On top of all of that active and consumed content about the brand and the product, the client also netted 202 new followers in about 10 hours.  The party didn’t stop there though, because in the days that followed, we started to see tweets trickle in about people buying the product because of this chat which is a home run and stamp of real measurable ROI and success for the client. That is what really matters and was super sweet coming from a platform and tactic they were quick to dismiss up front.

While not as sexy as Instagram and Snapchat these days, Twitter is a valuable resource in your social media arsenal. #Respectthebird!

 

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Win of The Week: Brand collaboration gold…

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Social media is all about leveraging content, engagement and growth tactics effectively. Brand collaborations are an excellent way to attack all three and are very easy to execute. They offer you access to new eyeballs, easy ways to “stage your product” and new conversations with potential would be customers along the way. We are all in!

Here at Sircle Media, we are big buyers of underpriced attention for our clients. Brands are all trying to figure out how to maximize their own social media efforts and are usually very interested in collaborating this way. We regularly seek out partners who have a nice aesthetic, are clearly open to working with other brands and who have a highly engaged audience.  As an agency, companies are even more interested in working with us, as we can be an entree to working with multiple brands and not just a one off transaction. We use this to our client’s advantage of course, to help land more relationships and control the conversation along the way.

Some brands make the mistake of only looking to others who have larger audiences than their own. In every collaboration there is always one who will be bigger and one smaller, and we think they all have value. We care more about the image, the target and the experience. If a brand has a smaller, but highly engaged audience of core customers we want to be in front of, then we are buyers for sure!

These have proven to be a surefire way to grow an Instagram following, to land nice looking content to round out your own feed and to create direct communication opportunities with customers. With content, you get to use the imagery (including secondary shots of the products side by side) in your messaging, which alleviates some of your organic content creation pressure.

When it comes to engagement and growth, we recommend some gaming to help stir the pot. Above, we had an Instagram contest, that required both a follow AND the tagging of friends to enter.  We received 451 likes, 300 new followers and 142 comments, each of which included the tagging of 2 IG users. Afterwards, we engage with those accounts and strike up conversations on a one-to-one level, that can help our client Modern Oats establish a dialogue that would not have existed before.

In the end of the day, these collaborations provide a very powerful punch and should be a core component to any social media strategy.

 

 

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