Using Social Media Contests to Boost Direct Selling Momentum

In Direct Selling we know contests are a great way to keep the field engaged. The same applies in social media.

The rise of social media in direct selling gives us amazing new avenues for quickly rolling out new contests and challenges in exciting, fun and cost-effective ways.

Contests, user-generated video, photo & essay-based contests and coupon giveaways are just a few ideas that can quickly increase your company’s buzz and interaction online. Within just a few clicks, your distributors can invite their friends and generate activity feeds that promote your brand in their social networks.

The primary purpose of a social media contest is to get people involved in your social platforms and increase the likelihood that your status updates are going to be seen, leading to more awareness and growth of your message.

Success is not too hard to achieve — we’ve seen clients double or triple their likes overnight due to well implemented social media contests. And typically they’re not giving away huge prizes, so costs are relatively minor.

Contests are more valuable when they’re related to your product or service. This keeps the focus on what’s important to the company and contextualizes the fun to your brand.

Managing contests and giveaways can get sticky, especially with more complex rules or multiple prizes and points. There are some great tools to manage contests and sweepstakes inside Facebook. Our firm actually uses a Facebook application for our clients called Wildfire, which enables the integration of sweepstakes, contests and giveaways with the viral features of social media.

Of course, legal concerns often throw a wet blanket on the fun. The easy way to address them is to use contests of skill rather than luck or drawings. Contests might include things like “tell us in five words why you want to win this trip” or “win this gadget”, “be crowned our best Facebook fan” or something similar. If you have a contest where someone has to do something, as opposed to a sweepstakes, you can avoid many legal snags. If you’re giving away anything of value there are basic terms that you should work out with your attorney about how the sweepstakes will work, and alternative means of entry for people, etc.

Taxes are also an issue in some cases. There are limitations, depending on what you’re giving away, that can get complicated. Once you get above $2,000 or so, you’ll need to collect state data on the winners and report to the IRS. Generally speaking, I recommend people stay under the limit.

Contests and Direct Selling

Challenges and contests are becoming a key motivator and excitement builder for many companies lately. ViSalus, AdvoCare and Beachbody are a few who are successfully using contests and challenges as a primary momentum builder. Experts call this “gamification” – a concept Hakki Ozmorali beautifully described recently in his blog. Some start-ups are jumping in as a part of their launch, such as an iPad giveaway from All’Asta, a new party plan company.

It’s natural that contests would be leveraged online for our industry in a big way. Social media contests can be especially useful for direct sellers trying to increase their Facebook presence to get more likes, particularly for a new product, event or company launch.

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