In spite of loving free stuff, social media users are not willing to jump through hoops of fire just to get a small gift certificate. That’s why when Toyota began their Toyotathon Shareathon promotion on Twitter, people recognized their formula as social media magic. With simple to follow rules, a large enough gift card ($500), and enough copies of the gift that users feel hopeful about actually winning (250 copies per day), Toyota has done everything right to gain a big following on Twitter.
Tweet-to-enter contests have become a popular viral marketing tool. An average person is willing to follow clearly laid-out rules that simply involve sending a Tweet, or following a Twitter account. Many companies forget to post the names of winners, or to do any follow-up, but Tasti D-Lite is one account on Twitter that follows unspoken social media guidelines to create a successful viral campaign.
Even though people would rather win a tangible item, SouthwestAir has proven that a simple trivia question can inspire viral buzz, and lead to thousands of new followers. They carefully thank the first person with a correct answer, and like Toyota, when they do offer a prize, it is one worth winning!
In general, flash sales and other viral marketing tactics have drawn shoppers to the Internet, making shopping easier and more convenient. According to BizReport.com and Kelton Research, one in three consumers in America prefers to shop online.
TOTSY in the USA, and Vente Privee in France, are making flash sales so attractive, with up to 50% off of the brick-and-mortar stores’ prices, that people feel the urgent call to action online. Toyotathon Shareathon, too, has made their limited time offer available strictly online and strictly for Twitter users.
While flash sales, a la Woot, Gilt, and Groupon, have become extremely popular, many people will not use the Internet for shopping. In coming years, analysts expect that as many as two in three people will be shopping online, making flash sales and promotions like Toyotathon Shareathon even more successful.
One sure way to lose followers, and to run an unsuccessful campaign that could acquire more contempt than buzz, is to be misleading. Social media users have been burned, so they tend to be cynical, insightful, and ready to crucify companies for gaming the system, or even being slightly misleading. One such instance of this is the #Squarespace iPhone contest, which promised users a free iPhone each day, but instead gave them a much small gift certificate.
In social media, straightforward campaigns, like a click-to-enter on Twitter, are more trustworthy, and thus more successful. Toyotathon Shareathon is a shining example of doing everything right to gain authority, branding, and success on Twitter.