Don’t Be a Ghost ~2

In our previous post, we provided an introduction to utilizing special promotions, which is an alternative method to boosting your online presence and quickly building a social media audience. Special promotions, which can include special sales, contests, giveaways and events, are especially effective online and through social media, mainly due to the ecommerce tools and admin services available that can make what would otherwise be a minor or modest promotion into one that is highly targeted, efficient and affordable.

While the fundamentals of special promotions are timeless, not every entrepreneur is familiar with the intricacies of launching a successful promotion through social media, which can include very specific and strict rules that must be followed to keep both the promotion and your social media accounts in good standing. In addition, there are federal and state laws that govern many promotions, such as giveaways and contests, and best practices that will ensure your business isn’t civilly liable as well.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

In the past, we’ve discussed at length one of the primary “traps” of social media services and other Internet services, which is that the extreme usability and ease of use of the services lull users into hastily and clumsily posting content that is either inappropriate or incomplete, creating a social media mishap that can be difficult to reverse and resolve. Utilizing social media networks to promote special promotions can exacerbate this problem, as it is easy to post a promotion that violates rules or guidelines established by the network in question, putting both your content and even your accounts in danger of being suspended or deleted. Before you post anything to your accounts, either study the rules and guidelines for each service or consult a marketing expert to ensure that your special promotion and its associated content marketing are in compliance.

Once you have established that your special promotion is in compliance, the next step should include organizing your marketing material, including content marketing, hashtags and images, into a format that is easily consumed and shareable with your customers. Format your content specifically for each social media network, and make an effort to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of each network. While directly rewarding your followers for sharing your content may be prohibited or discouraged, it’s important to ensure that the investment you’ve made in your promotion isn’t hindered by inefficient formatting.

No Purchase Necessary

“No purchase necessary.” You’ve probably noticed that term many times throughout your life if you regularly participate in sweepstakes hosted by companies or organizations. If you are considering hosting a sweepstakes, either online or off, you must understand the difference between a sweepstakes and a lottery: a sweepstakes is open to the public and does not require the entrant to purchase a product, service or ticket, while a lottery – specifically a private lottery – requires a purchase and may be illegal under state and federal law. In order to avoid criminal and civil liability, always include disclaimers and other legal language such as “no purchase necessary” and have a mechanism in place to allow non-customers to participate in your sweepstakes. Even on Twitter, where your character limit is severely restricted, it’s important to include a URL that includes this language and the rules of your promotion. While it’s unlikely that you’ll have to consult with a licensed attorney to ensure that your promotion is in compliance, it pays to ensure that your disclaimers cover every aspect of your promotion.