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5 Ways to Use Promotional Products in Your Social Media Marketing

Like it or not, social media is here to stay.  Corporations of all sizes now have Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube videos and blogs in addition to their company website.  These social media forums have changed the way companies interact with consumers and the way they distribute promotional products to clients, prospects and fans.

If you’re a regular (like me) on social media websites, you know that creating a presence is not enough.  Successful social marketing happens when you drive people to your social pages to become “fans” or “friends”.  Here are some low-cost, yet effective ways to use promotional items to maximize your social media marketing:

act-social-media-button1.  Include Your Social Media Info on Promotional Items

Promotional products, particularly ones designed for the office like mouse pads, sticky notes, pens, mugs, stress balls and calendars, should not only list your web address, but also direct people to your Facebook and Twitter pages.  This will increase the likelihood that recipients will visit your social pages and follow your business.  You can even offer an additional incentive (think 15% off their first order) if they become a “fan” or “follower”.

2.  Say “Thanks” with a Promotional Product

Social media ‘thank you’ prizes are another great way to utilize promotional products.  When someone becomes your fan, follower, or friend, send them a ‘thank you’ message with an offer to send a small token of your appreciation via snail mail.  This strategy helps to build a relationship with your new fan while building your mailing list too!  And remember, not all promotional products have to be physical items. You could send your new social media “fans” ringtones, mp3 downloads, screensavers, or electronic greeting cards via email.

The initial excitement surrounding “getting free stuff” will never go away, but thatact-social-media-button1 excitement can now be extended throughout social networks to generate even greater marketing impact.  Social media provides your clients, prospects and fans with a ready-made outlet to express their appreciation for the items you give them and rave about your company’s products and services.  Since they’re already on social media, they are more likely to use these forums to brag to all of their friends about the cool “free stuff” you gave them.  This means everybody wins–your new “fan” is delighted and (s)he is generating “free” publicity for you and your brand.

3.  Turn Your Promotional Product into a Contest

When distributing promotional products at trade shows, expos, conferences and events, take your give-away one step further by adding a social media incentive.  For example, let’s imagine that you are giving away beach towels at a trade show.  Wrap a paper band around the towel that says:  “Be one of the first 10 people to post a photo of this beach towel in action on Twitter or Facebook, and you’ll win a beach cooler stocked with cool prizes for more summer fun!”  Don’t forget to include your social media contact info or designated #hashtag.  A contest of this sort encourages creativity and interaction between your company and its followers.  It generates interest and traffic on your social media site and gives you an opportunity to double your exposure for your beach towel give-away with another great give-away for a select subgroup of fans.

4.  Use High-End Promotional Products for a Membership Campaign

act-social-media-fbWhen executed correctly, social media campaigns (or contests) can generate a significant return on investment.  You can use social media contest software create a contest on your social media page.  There are two ways to approach these contests:  a grand prize for one big winner or a modest prize for a number of winners.  Whether you choose: “Like us on Facebook, and you’ll be automatically entered to win a trip for 2 to Las Vegas and 2 travel suitcases (with your corporate logo, of course)!” or “Like of on Facebook, and you could be one of 25 people to win a Coffee Lover’s Gift Basket valued at $200!”, your contest operates the same way.  The media contest software walks you through setting the parameters of the contest (i.e., prize will be awarded when we reach 5,000 followers or December 31st, whichever comes first); the software does the rest.  It captures fan information and even selects a winner at random.

Remember that the goal spreading the message virally.  Wherever you post contest details (webpage, blog, Facebook, etc.), visitors should have the ability to quickly and easily share with friends.  Provide them with toolbars, buttons, plug ins and other ways to spread the news at the click of button.  Then, imagine the powerful exposure for your brand as your current followers “share” and “retweet” a chance to win to all of their friends and followers.

5.  Get Your Fans, Followers and Friends Involved

Social networks are perfect for engaging your prospects and customers.  Use these forums to solicit their feedback and input.  Ask them questions:  “What’s the best promotional product you’ve ever received?”; “What is the must-have item this holiday season?”;  “If we send you a calendar, would you use it?”; “Where would you like to go on a dream vacation?”; “Would you rather give up coffee or chocolate?”.  Then, use that feedback to order your next promotional item or create a grand prize for your next social media contest.

Looking for more creative ways to pair promotional products with your social media communication?  Then give me a call!  Promotional items continue to have a lower cost per impression and a higher return on investment than other forms of marketing.  And, because they are tangible and longer-lasting, promotional items are a perfect complement to the fast-paced, virtual world of social media.

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