How giving a little, can gain you a lot!

I have been chatting to my husband about my blog and the different topics that I have been covering. He mentioned a case on a forum that he frequents which I thought was a really interesting way to target your “target audience”, talking to them directly – therefore not wasting money talking to everyone else as well – spend a little of your own money, but get a big reward for it! So I decided for my next blog I would investigate the use of the social media tool of forums for businesses!

The case of the motorcycle tyre

The general synopsis of this story is that the national distributor for a type of motorcycle tyre had a new model of tyre that had just come on the market and become available for distribution. But how to advertise and make the motorcycling community aware of this new model? They went direct to their target audiences forum and posted a competition. They asked the forum users to vote for one member from the North Island and one member from the South Island to each receive a free set of the new model of tyre for their bikes. The only provision was that the member had to place feedback/review the tyres on the forum for the other members to read about their experiences every 500-1000 kms. 

The initial competition had almost 4,000 views, and the resultant forums started by the winners had roughly 8,000-10,000 views between the two forums! The coverage that this competition created for the distributor was incredible! They were able to promote a new product direct to their target audience on the most prominent motorcycle forum in the country, it cost them two sets of tyres and just the time for someone to set up and monitor the competition. It doesn’t get much more cost effective than that!

The results? They ended up selling MANY sets of tyres. Why? Because they had introduced the product in a way that had consumers reviewing the product direct to their peers. Peer review adds a huge amount of weight to the buying power of the product, especially in the arena of forums. 

Forums are basically small communities where people with similar interests can discuss news, events, things that happen in their lives or just (as one of the topic headings in my husbands forum says) “rant or rave” about life in general. I say similar interests, because a person with interests in scrapbooking, who wants to discuss with other scrapbookers about scrapbooking, would not necessarily frequent a motorcycle forum for such conversations….  Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that you can’t like scrapbooking and motorcycles…. but you get what I mean…… 

So in this way, the use of their target markets forum to directly get in touch with their customers and ensure that they got to know about the new product (everyone loves to get something for free… so a great way to get attention) and had a fair review of the product directly to these customers from two of their own members meant that this was (in my opinion) a very smart way to advertise yourself. 

Just in case you were wondering how I knew that there were many sets of tyres sold as a result of this competition…. the review forums- after the first initial few reviews – ended up turning into a discussion forum with others that had bought the tyres themselves, these buyers added their own reviews to that of the winners of the competitions. Which only added to the exposure and popularity of the new model of tyre.

But how can I use this concept with my own little company? 

Win a free makeover/outfit?

As I already have a Facebook page for my fashion business I thought it might be best to look at a way that I could use the above concept to help grow our likes and get people interested in our products. 

I had already thought that I might run one of those “like us and share our picture before the end of June” competitions and “go into the draw to win free shipping” or “go in the draw for a $20 gift voucher”. But this idea of giving product away and asking for customer reviews seems like an awesome idea! 

So what can I give away to a lucky customer? Clothes! And what does every women want – a makeover! So here came my idea of asking customers to nominate a friend for a makeover/new outfit, and allowing our fans to vote for which lucky person receives the new outfit. As we stock clothes for sizes ranging from a NZ size 6-30 we can outfit a lucky lady what ever size she is. I would also request the winner post a picture of themselves in their new outfit on our facebook page just to cap it off!

I think the main concept when trying to promote your business or product is to go to the target audience, and I believe that my target audience frequents Facebook, and LOVES competitions where you can win free things. The other concept here is customer participation. Just having a competition where customers need to ‘like’ and ‘share’ on Facebook doesn’t draw in their interest, they remember you for the time it takes to like you and share your picture, and that’s it! However being able to nominate someone to win something, and then being able to vote on the finalists and possibly the winner maintains interest!

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