Algonquin Outfitters have been no strangers to using social media to promote their products. Just recently they ended their eleventh online photo contest as a way to increase traffic and memberships on their Facebook page and website through interactions between their business to clients, and interactions between clients to clients. One of their main goals of running these photo contests, which are ran three times a year, is to gather photos that can be used in their marketing strategies, and to also create a positive interaction with their clients.
The targeted audience for these photo contests are people with a joy of photography including visitors of the Algonquin Park area. Throughout the years of these contests the audience has responded greatly by submitting many photos and also viewing other photo entries. In order to get the information out about each of these contests they broadcast it out to all of their online followers while also promoting it through traditional advertising. Many of Algonquin Outfitters Facebook and Twitter followers rebroadcast the information to their friends and followers, allowing many more people to hear about it. There have also been other blogs and websites who have picked up on the contests and they share the information with even more followers. In the online news, The Globe and Mail wrote an article about these contests and their ability to attract new members while also increasing interaction with current their members.
How These Contests Have Impacted Their Business
- Traffic and interactions continuously grow
- Larger media stations are starting to take notice
- Clients are taking more ownership for the contest
- Self policing by members seem to be picking up
- More visitors to their website
- More in store customers are asking about the contest
- More people are booking trips with and them and making more purchases from their stores
As Algonquin Outfitters have been doing more and more with their social media marketing efforts and less with traditional advertising, they have been noticing major increases to their business. They make sure when promoting the contests they spread the word through all of their social media websites. They still continue to use some traditional advertising to make sure they reach out to all markets. They build a sense of ownership by allowing their members to comment on the photos that are entered in the contests. Also, the previous winners are brought back to judge the new contest, which has had a positive impact because it allows members to feel like they have complete ownership of the contest.
Social media has become one of the greatest ways to promote brand awareness when you are just starting out with an online business. City Escapes Nature Photography came to that conclusion after starting their business selling limited edition wildlife and landscape prints mainly at art shows. Currently they intend to transition their business to be done primarily online. Due to the little recognition they currently have, they are using social media as a way to increase their brand awareness and to reach out to customers who may not be able to attend the art shows that they host.
Their first campaign they did that focused around social media was a standard “Get the Word Out” Facebook contest. After having a low number of friends on Facebook a year after setting it up they set a goal of growing their seven friends to 100 in a month and a half in order to raise their visibility within the Facebook community and also potential customers who share an interest in nature prints. The deal they made with their fans was if they reached that goal of 100 Facebook friends they would then raffle off a limited edition photograph among those who liked their Facebook page.
To start promoting this contest, City Escapes Nature Photography reached out to their friends and family to like their page and to share it with their friends. This turned out to be successful as mostly all of their friends they asked to like the page did, but only few shared the information with their friends. Because this was their first social media effort they did not want to use Facebook ads so they could determine the effectiveness of their approach. Throughout the month and a half they ran the contest they would remind their personal and company friends about it once a week. They also highlighted the promotion in their newsletter and put it on the front page of their website.
The end of the campaign resulted in them tripling the number of likes they already had on Facebook, although they did not reach their quota of gaining 100 Facebook friends. Given the baseline response they received, they plan to run a similar contest next year possibly including Facebook ads. They said it is important to be realistic about the impact of any particular campaign so that you can appreciate each success as it happens.