Interactive Campaign Marketing: Run a contest using social media, free

What’s one solution to building interactivity on a budget? Hosting a contest that gets your visitors involved with your comnpany and products. Video contests are ideal for this – they are free and easy to manage using YouTube.

Worried that an interactive contest campaign is too costly or time-consuming? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered – step by step. Altogether, it should take about a week to set up a campaign using free tools and a little promotion know-how. Your campaign will need a promotion until the contest ends – but the basics should be easy to cover and check on. And even once the contest has ended, you should see a good return in traffic based on the new prospects you’ve met during the promotion.

1. First things first – get your business on Myspace and YouTube. Plan to spend at least half an hour setting up your profile on each site. Sign up at and Don’t just sign up and leave – make sure you link to your website, upload photos of your products and services, and describe your business and products throughly. (Using your seo keywords.) If you’re not sure how to fill out your profile, do a search for other businesses on these sites… (Tip: there are tons of boutiques and bookstores on Myspace, and they’re easy to find using the Myspace search engine…) Myspace can assign you a unique URL (Look on the left side of your page under your profile pic.) Make sure you use your business name or keywords when you choose your URL. (Our company’s Myspace URL is : ) Youtube assigns you a “channel” – there’s a lot you can do with this as far as building a social network – but that will follow in another article. (Our company’s channel is at : to see an example of how a channel at Youtube will look.)

2. Plan a contest – not a drawing, but a competition. That’s right – this isn’t going to cost you money, but it may cost you a free gift certificate, book, or other piece of your business inventory. It doesn’t have to be expensive – but if you have enough inventory, giving away something free that’s of high value will generate more buzz for your company. Plan on at least having a grand prize, if not first, second, and third prizes. For an effective campaign, you’ll want to limit your contest to 30 to 45 days. (And when you see enough success, you can do another one, later!) Choose an item you’re really wanting to push – in many cases, your customers may buy it if they don’t win… Because during and after this campaign, you’re going to keep in touch with them.

3. Decide what the contest is going to be about – and what you want your customers to think about your company. You can make it simple – “Why do you deserve a free Ipod”? or use it to help build your brand – “Why I am a home-made-vegan soap addict and I deserve a year’s supply of soap.” Many bigger companies even ask users to submit their own commercials for a specific product. The key to this contest is to build excitement for your products and company – so ask a question to your prospects that helps them think about your brand and how it relates to them.

4. Create a Youtube Group for your contest. ( This is where you’ll be directing your entries. You get a free bulletin board in the group, so link to your contest guidelines and your business on Myspace. (On Myspace, you’ll get a lot of friends this way. Let everyone know contest updates will be announced on Myspace and via your mailing list.)

5. Create a Contest Page on your website. List the rules and the theme of your contest. Although the video contest will be on Youtube, you’ll want to collect their email addresses and the URL of their video either by form or email, depending on your preferences. Link to your Myspace profile and Youtube Group prominently. Let them know that you will update them via email or Myspace. Make sure you host a “Send this page to a friend” form. Not sure what the contest rules should entail? Do a Google search for “contest guidelines” and write up your own.

6. Announce your contest. Every place you announce your contest, you’ll want to promote the URL of your Youtube Group, Contest URL, and Myspace profile. (if you already have a Myspace profile, then announce the contest to everyone once a week, using a bulletin…) Who else can you announce it to? Your mailing list. Online media and local newspapers using a press release. Print up fliers and pass them out around town. Oh, yeah – and those free contest websites – there are thousands of them with avid contest entrants. (,, to name a few) Try to get your contest listed in at least five directories a week, or even a day, and your link popularity will cheap views on youtube

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