Profiting from social media audience development
Social media is the biggest media game-changer since Google's launch in the late 90's, but many publishers are still wondering, "How can I make money with this stuff?" These three examples should provide inspiration for b2b, consumer, newspaper and custom publishers alike.
While tablet and smartphone apps are being monetized via highly engaging and interactive ads, social media is still relegated to traffic building in many media organizations. Marketers clearly have the appetite to spend on social media, but media brands struggle to identify a means of getting a piece of that spend.
A few companies are beginning to figure it out, however, finding ways to leverage their audience acquisition efforts to create value for advertisers. They are double-dipping, increasing their reach by an order of magnitude while also generating revenue from a partner for the privledge of riding along. What's interesting is that most are focusing on Facebook, probably because that's where the dollars are flowing as well.
1. Meredith's BHG Live Better nets 23k fans with Walmart
Meredith's licensing partnership with Wal-Mart was recently extended because of the strong financial impact for the company. The marketing behind the partnership got a shot in the arm earlier this month from a sweepstakes promotion that gave away 5,000 scented cube samples and a chance to win a $100 Walmart gift certificate. The BHG Live Better page design is a great example of how others might execute a contest sponsorship. You can see a Walmart logo embedded in the profile picture, as well as the landing page. While not visible on this screenshot, this page has "liked" Walmart's page as well.
The form for entering the Sweepstakes also has Walmart branding on it:
The program's organizers created a sense of urgency by giving away the 5,000 wax cubes for free. You can see the immiediate pop in fans that this caused and the decrease in participation after they ran out of the wax cubes. Lesson learned: giving fans a source of instant gratification performs better than just a chance at winning something. The expense of this campaign would be too much for a publication to run as an audience development function, but the revenues from future product sales will ensure that this 54% increase in fans creates considerable return-on-investment. Having a sponsor cover the expenses and creating some profit could give your social media marketing the punch it needs to deliver exponential audience growth.
2. Fitness magazine creates super advocate with cover contest
I came across this example over at DM News. Fitness, another Meredith title, clearly understands the power of social media. This cover contest not only got them new fans, a cost-effective model for their cover, and some great photo content for their Fan Page, but it netted them a new Super Advocate. The brilliance of this campaign was that they really emphasized the social aspect of this medium:
- Each contestant received a specialized url to share with their friends in order to get votes
- The winner became the host of the Fan Page for a day (using the magazine content to drive users to Facebook on that day)
- Over 3,500 women entered the contest and 50,000 new fans were generated (an average of 14 fans generated per contestant)
While this particular example didn't drive revenue, it could be easily adaptable to include a sponsorship.
Fitness doesn't rely on contests to build its Facebook following. Right now, you can download the publication's "favorite ab workouts" if you become a fan. These could also be developed with sponsorship in mind.
The results of the workout download are impressive, with over 10,000 new fans generated in the past 30 days.
3. CLIO Awards use Facebook to promote submissions
"Everyone loves awards," Karl Vontz told us in a previous video interview. CLIO has used video for viral promotion of their awards program (see video at bottom of this page), and now they are incorporating Facebook into their marketing efforts.
While CLIO hasn't had the kind of exponential growth in the two examples above, it's a B2B example which means that the overall audience size isn't as large.
Need to know's
Be sure to run any contest through your corporate counsel as well as checking with Facebook's policies to make sure that you don't have to pull down a promotional effort because of a violation. You may also want to look into a few services that provide an infrastructure around these capabilities.