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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As the economy forces small businesses to manage on limited resources and use out-of-the-box marketing, social media has emerged as a powerful low-cost marketing tool. Last week I had the honor of speaking with Mike Rheaume, co-founder of SnapKnot – one of today’s fastest growing photography websites. Mike shared his insight into successful social media marketing and gave me a new appreciation for leveraging the power of social to grow your business.

SnapKnot is an online platform that matches engaged couples with wedding photographers in their local area and price range. The site, featured on TechCrunch earlier this year, has seen explosive growth thanks to the proper use of social media.

It’s a Contest
In addition to meeting a specific market need, SnapKnot has done an amazing job of leveraging social media to achieve significant growth. And it all began thanks to a Boston-area startup named SocialContests that designed a Facebook contest designed to exponentially increase followers. SnapKnot encouraged participation among photographers by offering a $3,000 camera to one lucky winner and promoting the contest via their website, online media partners, and email list.

The Facebook contest, which took place over a 3 month period, had a direct and dramatic impact on follower count. Snapknot saw a more than 700% jump, now boasting more than 79,000 fans. More importantly, these followers have translated into increased revenue through new membership subscriptions and prospective leads on the wedding photography website.

More than a Contest
One of the most impressive aspects of this case study does not come from the utilization of social media itself, but the well-executed marketing program behind the contest itself. There are a few things that SnapKnot did extremely well with contest partner SocialContests to ensure a positive return on their contest:

1. Incentives for a specific audience. SnapKnot knows their customers extremely well. As such, they didn't just offer any type of camera for the contest but one that was highly valued among professional photographers. By understanding the audience and providing a product that was sought after, SnapKnot showed their knowledge and expertise while creating a true incentive for their audience.

2. Capturing information from users. Not only did the contest encourage users to become fans of the wedding photography site, it also required name and email address as well as a qualifying question to be answered for participation. Building a house list is one of the most powerful tools in any marketing arsenal, especially when integrated with a drip marketing program that moves individuals through a purchase decision process leading to interest, desire, and purchase.

3. Leverage the power of social. Offering a great incentive for little cost (name and email) SnapKnot realized that much of their success would come from tapping social networks of photographers who they normally could not reach. Through a contest sharing feature, many photographers learned about the contest through social shares and emails from their friends.

By applying a number of effective marketing strategies, SnapKnot was able to gain momentum for their contest and their brand. If you never thought social could give you the boost you needed to kick-start a campaign or grow your pipeline, think again. Given the cash-strapped state of small businesses and start-ups, I think SnapKnot’s use of a Facebook contest to elevate their brand and drive ROI was nothing short of genius. A well-executed contest or social strategy can be the different between profit and failure.

If you haven’t considered contests as part of your marketing strategy, I encourage you to learn more about Facebook related contests and determine how you can leverage them for your own business.

If you’re interested in learning more about SnapKnot, or would like to learn more about their social engagement, visit SnapKnot Facebook Page.


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