As a business today, it’s not enough to simple have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – and it’s not even enough to update it regularly. There are tens of millions of business pages on Facebook, and every day we are confronted with countless advertisements. What would make us want to investigate the social media page of one company over another? In order to peak a user’s interest amidst the saturation of online advertising, companies must get creative.
One way in which companies generate consumer interest is through online hide-and-go-seek games. In a nutshell, companies “hide” an icon somewhere on one of their social media pages and challenge users to find it. Sometimes a company rewards the first user to find the icon with a gift card, while others enter each user who successfully finds it in a drawing for a t-shirt.
Last year, SmartBear (a software company) launched their own version of the online Easter egg hunt. Users were encouraged to navigate the company’s website to find developer Dain Nilsson. Once they clicked on him, a Twitter box would appear, prompting the user to tweet using @SmartBear and #Dain. Everyone who tweeted was entered to win a t-shirt. The Twitter campaign proved highly successful, doubling the mentions of @SmartBear.
Scavenger hunts (such as the one launched by SmartBear) are a win-win situation for both the company and the online user. The company gains popularity, and extends their online reach. Increased reach equates to more potential clients. Clients ultimately generate revenue for the company, and the big executive is happy.
On the other hand, the user receives a free prize. The quick, fun game which required relatively little effort on the part of the user, suddenly becomes a tangible item. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like free stuff? As I like to say, “If it’s free, it’s for me!”
(Photo Cred: http://fudgeandfitness.weebly.com/freebies.html)
This type of approach to advertising proves significantly more effective for two reasons. First and foremost, Facebook and Twitter monitor and remove posts they deem to be overly-promotional. If a post is removed, the company unnecessarily spent time on an advertisement that no one ever saw – and in the world of business, time is money.
Second, users respond more positively to an engaging and interactive activity compared to a pushy, shameless plug. I know I get annoyed every time I have to choose “Skip Ad” to advance to the site that I initially clicked on. I think we respond more favorably to the hide-and-go-seek efforts because it gives the company a personality. People like other people with whom they can form a connection. Individuals have a noticeably harder time connecting with big businesses.
As technology progresses, it will be interesting to see how businesses break the traditional mold of social media. Will businesses continue trying to engage the online user? What will that look like in 1 year? How about in 5? The possibilities are endless.