By Kate Goldberg, guest blogger for Resourceful Business
“Pull over and let me out,” I beg. We are navigating some pretty tricky roads through the Berkshires in a driving rainstorm, but for me, this is the perfect moment – and backdrop – to capture and post my yoga pose-of-the-day.
Semi-dramatic scenes like this were part of my daily routine in July when I participated in a month-long social media campaign run by Powerflow Yoga, a New Jersey yoga outpost with 10 locations. Contestants like myself eagerly awaited the studio’s daily morning post on Instagram with a specific pose to recreate. Students had until midnight every day for the entire month to upload their own interpretation of the pose to Instagram while using the hashtag #SummerofPower, as well as a basic tag to @powerflowyoganj. The reward was a free month of unlimited classes to all who completed the challenge.
In today’s digital environment, many businesses use social media contests as a marketing tool. This approach allows companies to interact with consumers in a more casual, and entertaining way. The content may be unconventional, but if run effectively, social media campaigns like #SummerofPower can be even more successful than traditional marketing strategies at a fraction of the cost.
Social media campaigns like #SummerofPower can be even more successful than traditional marketing strategies at a fraction of the cost.
Here are four digital marketing insights I gained through Powerflow’s challenge that demonstrate the value of an effective social media contest:
1. Social media marketing builds brand loyalty
Throughout the month, I often logged on for the pose-of-the-day before I had even poured my morning coffee! I became extremely passionate and dedicated to the challenge, and I was always looking for unique scenery where someone could take my photo. I did a backbend on a cliff, a crow pose while crossing a footbridge, and a forearm stand overlooking the ocean. It made me feel great about my practice, and motivated me to get back into the studio whenever possible. The buzz surrounding the contest was palpable in classes, and I quickly learned that most people had an experience very similar to my own. This social media challenge was successful at creating a positive vibe, both in-studio and on Instagram, which in turn made everyone feel good about the Powerflow brand.
2. Social media brings exposure to untapped audiences
In a Pew Research Center Social Networking Fact Sheet, researchers found that 74% of online adults use social networking websites. Powerflow capitalized on that trend with their contest. By requiring students to use Instagram in order to participate in the challenge, current customers who were not already following Powerflow now had to do so. In addition, through the several hundred contestants sharing a total of 8,440 photos and tagging the studio each day, they were able to gain exposure to a previously untapped audience. As a result, Powerflow added 700 new followers, and according to VP of Operations, Alison McCue, it was the studio’s “largest and fastest digital growth” since they’ve been online.
“#SummerofPower was also used to promote all of our free outdoor classes…and the response was overwhelming,” said McCue.
3. Social media contests can lever the marketing of other events
There is no doubt that the Summer of Power yoga challenge gave Powerflow a captive audience that used Instagram to track the studio daily. Powerflow Yoga maximized this opportunity with a contest hashtag and leveraging the marketing of other studio events taking place during July. “#SummerofPower was also used to promote all of our free outdoor classes…and the response was overwhelming,” said McCue. Evidently, the social media campaign built some serious in-house momentum, along with the potential for a new client base.
4. Contest prizes incentivize social media sharing
Powerflow did a great job designating a reward that would keep people sharing photos and tagging the studio day after day. A free month of yoga is worth a lot of money to anyone who practices, and the promise of that at the end of the month was certainly enough to keep me going! A business needs to know their patron, and understand what will entice them to follow through with any type of social media contest. Whether it is a free tee shirt, a complimentary membership, or simple bragging rights, different incentives work for different consumers.
Social Media can grow a company’s brand and audience reach
Social media contests are an innovative, cost-effective way of reinforcing a company’s brand and have the potential for exponential reach. Many of the Summer of Power participants purchased packages after completing their free month. Another boon to the Studio, of the 223 people who completed the Powerflow Yoga challenge, 22 gifted their free month and 7 of those gifted purchased some type of package offered at Powerflow Yoga.
A recent marketing Infographic projects that social marketing budgets will double over the next five years. In order to stay ahead of the curve, businesses will need to follow the Powerflow Yoga lead and build and maintain a social media presence using everything from Instagram and Facebook, to Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. The Summer of Power is a great example of a creative and savvy social media strategy that resonated with an audience and inspired them to come back for more.
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