Social media is a beast. Facebook population alone is bigger than China and most people just won’t last a day without going through their social networks. When someone is online, he is probably on social media. A Global Web Index study reveals that Internet users aged 16-64 spend a daily average of 6.09 hours online with 1.69 hours consumed on social networking sites alone.

social media promotions that work
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It is no wonder why marketers choose social media as their main platform in content marketing. It is where the audience is and consumers are expecting that it is also where they will find the brands they are looking for. A 2015 study by the Content Marketing Institute found that marketers are using seven social media platforms on the average, as compared to only six last year.

Among the most common and effective social media online campaigns is running a promotional content to further engage consumers. However, be careful not to saturate the market with too much promotion or you will risk losing them. Content marketing is not about hard-sell advertising but about making the customers a part of your brand story. Know how to create social media promotions that work by following these guidelines:

Know the rules… and follow them

Before crafting a social media content to promote your brand, make sure your online promo doesn’t get you in hot water. If you are thinking of running a promo on Facebook, read and understand the site’s new promotional guidelines first. Basically, it will post limits on posts and content that are “too promotional.” Ouch, huh? Not quite. Think of this challenge as an opportunity to step up your marketing efforts and create even more lasting connections with your audience.

For starters, what Facebook considers as “too promotional” are posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app, drive people to join a promo with no real context, and posts that reuse exact content as company advertisements. In short, do not copy and paste content directly from your ads. So try to be subtle, get crafty, and take this chance to post content that is actually interesting, not just promotional.

Facebook also requires for promotions to be handled through an app. You may develop a Facebook app or create your own. Again, this is a chance for you to push social media marketing to another level. Placing promotional guidelines is a social media trend as networks work to provide a better user experience.

No secrets, please

Disclosure of rules to a promo is important. Do not make it seem like it is too simple when it is not. If terms and conditions apply, let them be known.

Chances are the rules are more than 140 characters so when you tweet about them, include a short link about the contest. Direct traffic to a landing page and take that opportunity to engage your customers more.

Make promotions unique

When you are creating social media strategies, always try to be unique and have fun with it. Promos are especially tricky because other than being compliant with rules, you also don’t want to come off as desperate.

People hate the feeling of being sold to. You probably notice that even if people sign up to a company, they have to check a box whether they would allow the company to send them updates via Twitter or email. Remember this: make the promo a part of your content, not your content. For example, if you are a furniture company offering discounts, create content about renovation, space-saving ideas, and room makeovers. Just provide a link to your promo within the content or put call to action buttons like “subscribe to our newsletter” or “20% off today only” at the bottom of each content. Remember that social media online campaigns should be relational not transactional.

Make sharing easy

“Retweet to win” is a common way to promote an event or product. Much of the value of social media promotions is making it easy for users to share your promo in their social graph so make it simple and easy. Note, however, that when using Facebook, be careful not to directly give incentives for sharing. What you can do is to use Facebook to drive consumers to a website where you can drive them to your sales funnel or get them to enter a contest.

Look beyond the launch

When creating social media online campaigns, make sure that you plan beyond the launch of your promo. Promote your contest regularly by sharing key milestones like selection of finalists and contest round endings. It will also help if you post sample of early submissions or your own samples to encourage other users to submit their own. And here’s a quick tip when using Facebook — use the pinned post feature to make sure your post will be at the top of the timeline.

Integrate all networks

Utilize all your social networks so they work on a common goal. An article from Propelrr suggests that a social media strategy must include nonlinear and integrated messages and stories. All social networking sites work differently and the challenge is to be cohesive with either platform. Though the approaches may vary, make sure that they work towards a common direction. Remember to not annoy audiences with the same material or post across different networks. Again, don’t copy-paste.

Go for cross-promotion

Social media marketing is not about doing things alone. Tap into partner marketing by including sponsors and identifying influencers that can help you out. Provide sponsors with exposure in exchange for cross promotion and reach out to influencers like bloggers to share news about your promo.

Post non-promotional content

Even if your goal is promotion, remember to post non-promotional content regularly. This will drive engagement and build interest for your brand. This will make your brand, and subsequently your promo, more credible and appealing.

Promoting your brand, an event, or a contest on social media is tricky. Interrupting your consumer’s timeline or feed with promotional content when they are on the lookout for trending news and the latest from their friends is a risky thing to do. However, it is a risk worth taking. Just remember to not push it too hard or you will push your audience away. Make promotional content engaging, interesting, and even helpful. Every step of the way, make your social media promo as a means to reach out and build a lasting relationship with your customers.