Two years ago, social media influencer Jeff Bullas wrote a post called “The 10 Best Facebook Campaigns.” As of this writing, the post has generated 100 comments and 1026 “reactions.” Many of the critiques said — in one way or another — “Jeff, why didn’t you blah blah blah?”
I saw something else: a chance to peek into the essence of what works in the Facebook fan race. So here’s my take, two years later.. and guess what? The little “nuggets” of social media fandom haven’t changed. From these nuggets, any campaign can grow.
1. Kohl’s hosted a contest that gave schools everywhere a chance to win $500,000. Takeaway: Money isn’t the only — or necessarily the best — incentive to participation. In fact, a successful contest lets every entrant win. In this case, each school that entered grabbed a chance to show off to their local constituency, each had the opportunity to publicly demonstrate commitment to the cause (education), and each enjoyed a sure-fire way to garner local publicity. Truly, everybody won.
2. Target donated $1 million to charity, but let the store’s fans vote for who should get the gift. Takeaway: Let customers/ members/ donors/ supporters/ prospects be judges in a contest they really care about. They will come.
3. Ford enticed Facebook fans by promising to select one fan to receive a free Explorer when the fan total surpassed a certain number. Takeaway: Invest fans in the outcome and they will tell their friends to “go visit.”
4. Jack in the Box put a nickel in the prize box for every new Facebook fan acquired in one month. The resulting giveaway gave the company an explosive burst in new fans and cost the company only $11,500. Takeaway: Fan-get-a-fan can work even when the incentive doesn’t cost much. The same is true for member-get-a-member or donor-get-a-donor.
5. Bing gave FarmVille currency to fans who “liked” the new search engine. Bing is married to Facebook which is engaged to Zynga which gave birth to Farmville so this process worked. Takeaway: Look for a win-win partner(s) to hook-up to.
6. Papa John’s Pizza challenged fans to conjure up a new pizza. The winner got a piece of the profits. [Note: Frito-Lays’ current “Do Us A Flavor” contest invites fans to create the next potato chip and win $1 million or 1 percent of 2013 sales] Takeaway: What Publisher’s Clearinghouse learned endures — contests with big prizes get big participation and big publicity.
7. Southwest Airlines donated $1 to the Make A Wish Foundation every time somebody checked into a Southwest counter at the airport. 1 million fans rewarded Southwest for its generosity. Takeaway: People also care about and appreciate true charity.
8. Kellogs partnered with Feeding America to educate about nutrition. Takeaway: Social media offers a built-in platform for “cause marketing.”
9. Domino’s Pizza invited complaints (yes, griping). Fans loved Domino’s open ears and genuine responses. Takeaway: Even a tarnished image can shine in the light of transparency.
10. Corona set out to make its Light beer the “Most Liked in America,” rewarding Facebook fans by posting their pictures in Times Square. Takeaway: Yes, you can buy “likes”; you just need to be clever about it.