Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Social Marketing and You

I often get asked how I get so many free products and win things on Facebook all the time. It's not hard, but it is time consuming. Companies are focusing on social marketing so much more now. Information travels faster and farther than ever before. So when a company puts a new product in a consumer's hand - his or her impressions of the product can easily reach hundreds, or many more, potential customers in the short time it takes to tweet 140 characters, or make a simple Facebook post.

If you love trying new products before your friends, or find it important to try before you buy, then Social Marketing could be a perfect match for you. Most companies don't require any feedback, but they certainly do appreciate it! And they love when you tweet or post your experiences with their product to your followers. Some companies offer perks for those customers with large twitter or blog followers, or who will host parties for 10-15 friends showcasing their products. In those cases, you are required to post followups, and sometimes even photos, of your participation in the campaign.

Here are links to legit sites, who team up with leading manufacturers to promote their products.

BzzAgent - By taking surveys, and participating on their Facebook and Twitter pages, you can start to build your BzzScore. The higher your score, the more likely you will be invited for BzzCampaigns - with these, you could receive free (or deeply discounted) product to try and then "Bzz" (tell) people about. You are required to submit BzzReports explaining the who, what, where, when , and how you shared your experience with the product. You can tell friends, family, neighbors, or even complete strangers you see out and about, about the item you are Bzzing.

HouseParty - With HouseParty, you apply for parties you are interested in by filling out a short application. After the application period, they accept a limited number of applicants to be hosts.  If accepted, you are required to invite a certain number of friends immediately, so make sure you have friends and family members' emails handy!  Shortly after that, you'll receive your party pack in the mail - which could contain free products, coupons, hostess gifts, and sometimes small guest gifts. The contents of the party pack is listed under the party's FAQs usually.  You are also required to host your party within a certain time frame - usually they give you 5 or so dates to chose from, and usually include weekday and weekend choices. They have a great invitation program, which simply requires you to fill out your info, and enter the names and emails of the people you are inviting. You can also invite others, through Facebook events, or even other online party invite services if you want. During the party take note of activities you do with your guests, and take lots of photos! Afterwards you are required to upload photos, and take short survey, which you will also forward to party guests so they can give feedback on the party experience as well. They'll want to know how many time you tweeted or posted to Facebook an other online forums about the party as well.  There's tough competition, but so worth it when you do get a party - they are a lot of fun!

Influenster - I just recently signed up with them, so I don't have much info. You sign up, and then take surveys to earn "badges". They seem to have campaigns similar to BzzAgent, as well as offer "VoxBoxes" which are sample filled boxes that you are asked to try out the products and then submit feedback on, as well as recommend to others those brands and products you liked. I'm looking forward to my first VoxBox and hope I qualify for one soon.

Crowdtap - Crowdtap is a little different, in that you mostly just answer questions and share online pages with your Facebook or Twitter friends. Answering questions and getting friends to interact with those pages you share earn you points. The points can then be cashed in for gift cards, donations to charity, and other items. Certain actions also earn you donations to your chosen charity, from which they have many to choose.  Some companies do offer incentives, like Old Navy, who often hold Sample & Share events in which you and a friend get to go shopping at Old Navy. I've seen flipflops, tanktops, jeans, winter coats, and other items featured. When they offer one, you'll be required to take a short survey, and then be notified if you are accepted as a Sample & Share host. They then mail you out coupons so you and your friend can pick out one of the featured items for free!  I'm looking forward to see if more companies start offering the same incentives, but so far I've only been involved with the Old Navy programs.

Klout - Klout measures your social reach by giving you a Klout score based on your linked accounts. Accounts that can be linked include Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. Klout then lists topics you are influential about, the number of people you influence, your true reach, and the type of influencer you are. Klout then offers Perks, which can be anything from new products, books, concert and event tickets, or discounts for online shopping sites. Each Perk has a required minimum Klout Score and topics that you must be influential about at a certain level. Your friends can give you boosts in topics, which help move your topics up in levels. After you receive a Perk, you are not required to do anything - but it's nice to give shout-outs to the companies on Twitter and Facebook, thanking them or giving feedback.

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