SOCIAL MEDIA can be a useful tool for sales promotions for your business. Enter-to-win sweepstakes and content submission contests are all fairly easy and inexpensive to execute via social media.

Before you launch a social media promotion, it’s important to identify what you’re hoping to accomplish. Are you looking to generate leads, encourage your existing customers to take action, increase “likes” or followers to build your reach for future messages, or reach a new audience?

Next, you should consider the level of engagement you expect from your followers. Does your promotion require a simple “like” or does it ask for a video submission? The more engagement you require, the fewer entries you will receive, but those who participate will be more invested in your brand.

The following social media promotions are listed in order of engagement required from low to high:

Enter-to-Win: This could be as simple as asking people to “like” your Facebook page or re-tweet a post on Twitter. You could also use a form that collects basic information including e-mail addresses or mailing addresses to build your potential patient database. This method is the easiest to execute and encourages the most participation based on the relative ease of entry.

Submit a Photo/Finish the Phrase: Fairly simple to do for most social media users and useful for building future testimonials, these promotions typically get more interaction from the friends and followers of the folks who enter. This is a great way to get more exposure for your brand virally. Also, it’s always fun to see how creative, funny, and real your customers can be.

Submit a Video: More in depth than a photo or text submission, asking your followers and fans to submit a video could be a great way to find your most loyal patients or prospects with the most potential to become patients. You may only receive a handful of videos, but the value to your brand could be huge.

Whichever you decide to execute, it’s important to remember that the number of entries is not a sole benchmark of your promotion’s success. Take a look at your patients and decide which promotion would be most well-received by them and get started. Keep it simple, and make sure it’s easy to enter and that the rules are easy to understand.

Jessica Clark is an eight-year marketing veteran in the optical industry. She has led successful social media campaigns in line with overall marketing strategy for VisionWeb.

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