One of the most memorable social media giveaways in recent months involved a football game, an insurance company, a likeable actor and $1.5 million. As Business Insider explained, Esurance aired the first Super Bowl ad after the game, and had “The Office” star John Krasinski explain that the money they saved by not running the commercial during the game totaled over one million dollars, which the online car insurance company chose to give away to one person who tweeted #EsuranceSave30. Not surprisingly, there was a flood of tweets by social media hopefuls, and for a short while, the Esurance hashtag spread like wildfire.
The promotional giveaway certainly grabbed people’s attention, with Business Insider suggesting that Esurance may have won out over other companies for Super Bowl social media supremacy. Some businesses may salivate at such an opportunity to promote their brands so grandly in one fell swoop, but the truth is that most companies don’t have $1.5 million in the bank, let alone that much to save and subsequently give away. Fortunately brands don’t need such extravagances. Rather, Esurance’s move should be taken as a cue to the potential value of social media giveaways for the development of brand identity, as well as an opportunity for businesses to learn how to adapt such strategies to their own situation.
Social Media, Supply and Demand
Social media is now a widely accepted form of marketing, and businesses would be remiss not taking advantage of it. Business 2 Community offered some eye-opening statistics indicating as much, including:
- 86% of marketers agree that social media is important for their business; (tweet this)
- 92% of consumers trust social media recommendations more than any other kinds; (tweet this)
- 74% of marketers noted an increase of traffic after a minimum of 6 hours per week tending to a social media presence. (tweet this)
The value of an online brand is clear. The subsequent issue for companies is how to develop that brand successfully. Unfortunately, many businesses assume that fruitful social media campaigns start and end with signing up to a number of social media sites and blanketing the Internet with content. The truth is that they require plenty of work and a firm understanding of consumers’ online expectations.
“Marketing managers need to accept that the public has the upper hand and then find a way to fit in rather than trying to control things,” Business 2 Community wrote of navigating the world of social media.
For marketers, that means starting with a solid product or service and learning how to promote it effectively in the chaotic, brand-filled world of the Internet.
While many successful brands seem to have wildly different approaches to their online presence, they often follow similar strategies. According to Inc. Magazine, a business’ authenticity, responsiveness, sensitivity to consumers’ desires and the ability to tell stories instead of just selling product all help to create a better brand identity. Another is free stuff. That includes webinars, white papers and other kinds of valuable content. The tactic may also apply to promotional giveaways.
By using social media as a platform where consumers can stand to gain something every time they visit a business’ page, companies set themselves up as a way station for valuable product within the industry, meaning potentially higher online traffic. These giveaways may be large, like Esurances’, or small, such as coupons or promo items. Regardless of what route a business takes, they should rely on more than just giveaways to build their brand recognition. While great giveaways can draw consumers to a site for a short while, there should be thoughtful, engaging content that makes them want to continually return. As such, giveaways can be helpful for developing a brand, but it shouldn’t be the only aspect to that identity.
About the author: David Parker is the Director of Ecommerce at Myron Corporation, a company specializing in promotional products and business gifts. He is a web marketing professional with many years of B2B experience in small businesses and large corporations.