social media how toAre you planning to run a social media sweepstakes to make your business stand out this holiday season?

Do you need a guide to ensure that you don’t miss the crucial elements of a successful sweepstakes promotion?

Sweepstakes, contests and giveaways are increasingly popular among marketers who are vying for the attention of their social media audiences. Choosing a prize is the easy part.

Whether you run your promotion on Facebook or Pinterest, it’s easy to overlook something. Making sure you’ve got all your planning, technical and legal “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed is critical to your success.

In this article, you’ll learn the five steps of running a successful social media sweepstakes.

#1: Assess Sweepstakes Objectives

This is where most companies shortchange themselves. How? By focusing on superficial objectives that may not benefit their business.

For example, does it make sense to run a sweepstakes to increase your already-large fan base or do you want to jumpstart your social engagement process?

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social media how toIs Google+ part of your marketing strategy?

Are you looking for creative ways to run contests and giveaways on Google+?

Although there are restrictions on using Google+ for contests, there are ways for you to promote your contests successfully on Google+.

Interestingly, most brands and businesses on Google+ aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity, and they’re missing out.

In this article, you’ll discover how three brands leverage Google+ as a core component of their social contest strategy and the keys to their success.

Google+ Contest Rules

Running contests, giveaways, promotional offers, etc., has become a staple part of online strategy for business owners and marketers.

They’re used to stimulate engagement, build community, encourage user-generated content, create a unique experience and increase brand awareness.

First let’s look at the rules.

google policies and principles

Be sure to carefully read Google+ Policies & Principles.

Unfortunately, the Google+ platform has specific restrictions when it comes to hosting contests. In fact, Google+’s Contests and Promotions Policy clearly states:

“You may not run contests, sweepstakes, or other such promotions (“Promotion”) directly on Google+ or in a manner that requires use of G+ features or functionality.”

For many people, that’s a show-stopper right there.

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***UPDATE*** Congrats to our winners: Andie Shaw (blog post winner) and Melyum (Twitter winner).

Want to win a free ticket to the largest online social media marketing event of the year?

Social Media Examiner has worked hard to bring you our fifth-annual Social Media Success Summit. This is our biggest event ever!

And we’ve come up with a fun way to get you involved.

First, what is this event?

Social Media Success Summit 2013 is a large online conference dedicated to helping marketers and business owners master social media marketing.

More than 1900 businesses have already signed up! Hundreds of small businesses and well-known brands such as Wells Fargo, Motorola, AT&T, 3M, World Vision, United Way, US Chamber of Commerce, Dell, Dow Jones, Penn State, US Air Force and PBS will be attending this year’s summit.

Forty-five of the world’s most respected social media experts will share their strategies with you.

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social media how toAre you thinking of running a contest on Facebook?

Have you run a contest and had little success with retaining fans past the award date?

One goal of a successful Facebook contest should be to recruit fans who are genuinely interested in you, while avoiding the cheaters and faux fans who are only interested in material gain.

In this article you’ll discover five tips to help ensure that your contests attract genuine fans.

#1: Award Appropriate Prizes

Don’t offer attractive prizes that have nothing to do with your brand.

Everyone wants an iPad—not just your potential customers. A free vacation will not just attract fans who are interested in your beauty products, but pretty much anyone who sees the contest.

An appropriate award deflects the prize-hunters who hide your posts or unlike your Page as soon as the prizes have been awarded.

Offer a prize that interests your current or future customers. If your contest attracts entries from people who have no reason to become your customer, change it.

lord and taylor contest

Lord & Taylor, an online fashion retailer for women, is awarding fashion accessories from its website.

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social media how toDo you have social media plan?

Are you looking for an easy to follow guide to formulate a plan for your business?

Keep reading for seven tips to help your business develop a social plan…

Why Businesses Fail With Social Media

Businesses often fail in their social media efforts for the same reason New Year’s resolutions fail: It’s a good idea, but there’s no structure or commitment.

Then, when there are no immediate results, or the goal ends up being more difficult to attain than previously thought, it goes by the wayside.

Has this happened to your business’s social media presence? You aren’t alone. Very few people can simply choose to be active in social media and stick with it.

For the rest of us, we need something to keep us honest. That’s why I advocate you create a social media plan—a checklist, if you will—complete with daily maintenance, recurring tasks and milestone projects.

These seven tips will help you design a social media plan that will keep you on track, active and moving forward.

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social media how toHave you thought of using social media contests and sweepstakes to build and engage your audience?

Previously I wrote How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest outlining some important foundational steps: be clear on your marketing objectives, know your audience, understand different promotion types and plan ahead!

If you’re looking to gain even more traction with social promotions, here are eight additional tips to enhance your next social media campaign.

Ensure Your Promotion Doesn’t Get You In Hot Water

It’s difficult to run a successful campaign if your promotion is blocked, removed or challenged in a court of law. So before we get to the fun part of marketing, there are a few logistical tips to keep in mind.

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social media reviews

***UPDATE*** Congrats to Joy Dekkers and Taylor Howe, the winners of this free ticket contest. See Joy’s winning comment here.

Want to win a free ticket to the largest online social media marketing event of the year?

Social Media Examiner has worked hard to bring you our fourth-annual Social Media Success Summit. This is our best event ever! And we’ve come up with a fun way to get you involved.

First, what is this event?

Social Media Success Summit 2012  is a large online conference dedicated to helping marketers and business owners master social media marketing.

More than 1400 businesses have already signed up, including Wells Fargo, Motorola, Kraft Foods, Fox Broadcasting, Autodesk, Salesforce.com, Hubbell, American Heart Association, NASA, Marriott, Vanguard, HP, Verizon Wireless, McGraw-Hill, and hundreds of smaller businesses.

Twenty-seven of the world’s most respected social media experts will share their strategies with you.

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social media reviews**UPDATE: We have announced our two winners. The winner of the comment/blog portion of the contest, receiving two tickets to Small Biz Success Summit is Paulette Salvia, read her comment here.

The winner of the Twitter contest is Ali Goldfield. Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. We look forward to seeing you all at the Summit.**

Want to win a free ticket to the largest online social media marketing event for small businesses?

Social Media Examiner has secured some of the top names in the industry to bring you Small Biz Success Summit.

And we’ve come up with a fun way to get you involved.

First, what is this event?

Small Biz Success Summit 2012 is a large online conference dedicated to helping small businesses master social media marketing.

More than 800 small businesses have already signed up—people just like you.

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social media how toAre you considering using a sweepstakes or contest for an upcoming social media marketing campaign?

Ever wonder exactly how a social sweepstakes ties in with the idea of “viral” marketing?

In this article, I’ll analyze the concepts affecting a social media “viral sweepstakes” and how marketers can and (potentially) should take advantage.

What Exactly Is the Meaning of the Term Viral?

Marketers use the term viral to describe media proliferation in two different contexts.

On one hand, viral can describe “massive engagement;” i.e., when droves of people sign up for a particularly enticing offer. Alternatively, “views” can go viral, which occurs when people share a brand campaign with others many times over.

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