Using contests and competitions as part of a business’s marketing mix is not a new concept, but with the rise of social media they have now become a uniquely powerful tool – and one that can be successfully harnessed to get customers to make the switch from online to offline.
  

Why New And Engaging Tactics Are Key To Get People From Online To Offline

It boils down to one thing: staying ahead of the game in an increasingly digital-centric climate.

To state the obvious, internet usage is soaring. According to Global Web Index statistics, the beginning of 2017 saw a 10% year-on-year increase in new internet users worldwide, a 21% increase in social media users, and a 30% increase in mobile users. At the same time, in-store footfall continued to fall sharply, with November and December 2016 collectively seeing a 15.7% year-on-year decline.

With more people online, but fewer visiting stores, businesses today need a certain level of inventiveness in their marketing to entice customers back to brick-and-mortar spaces. Online shopping and services are not going away – in fact, with further advances in technology (such as the proliferation of fast and flexible delivery options, and increasingly frictionless customer experiences online), it will soon become the default method for purchasing most things.

Customers will need stronger and stronger reasons to visit stores. New and engaging marketing tactics are key tools to help bolster those reasons.
        

How Brands Can Use Social Media Contests To Drive Customers To Stores

The word, again, is ‘inventiveness’, but contests as a marketing tactic should also involve two other things: tapping into existing customer habits, and properly incentivizing engagement.

An excellent example of this is fashion retailer French Connection’s ‘Selfie’ campaign in 2014, where customers were encouraged to visit stores to take photos of themselves wearing the brand’s latest collections and then entered into an online contest, the winner of which then got to have their selfie displayed on French Connection’s online platforms.  

Leveraging customer selfies as both competition entries and payment currency, the campaign was based on a simple yet strong piece of insight: people were already taking photos of themselves wearing French Connection outfits when trying them on in store dressing rooms, so why not encourage them to keep doing it, only this time for a much wider audience?      

It was a highly successful way to amplify their brand message. The six-week campaign saw French Connection’s ‘selfie booth’ go on a roadshow through five UK stores, attracting large numbers of people to the stores as well as generating over 4,000 selfies, 500,000 shares on social media, and 4 million organic social media impressions  – all with zero media spend.

More recently, luxury car brand Infiniti also made clever use of a social media competition that centred on user-generated content for their ‘New Heights’ campaign promoting their Q30 car model. Customers were asked to download a specially made augmented-reality app and use it to take photos of the car in the most creative situations they could think of before posting them on social media, with the winner receiving an all-inclusive trip to Budapest.  

The competition was an instant hit, as it gave users the opportunity to engage creatively with a brand they love. What this shows is that businesses should not be afraid to ask contest participants to do a little more work – whether it involves downloading an app or going into a store – as long as the rewards are worth it and they are engaged in the right way.

How Contests Can Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates

As well as helping your business build its audience, engaging them in new ways, and being a rich source of marketing data, a well-executed social media contest can also empower your customers to do your marketing for you.

If those taking part in it can come out with a positive experience (whether they won the competition or not), the chances are high that they will share it with their networks on their own social media channels, generating more goodwill towards your brand through word-of-mouth. They would probably also want to continue to engage with your brand and get involved in future contests and competitions.


How BRIDGE Can Help Your Organization

BRIDGE is a specialist SaaS (Software as a Service) provider, offering a full range of online-to-offline solutions to businesses looking to increase footfall in their stores. Learn more about how we can help you.


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