Social Media and online marketing are HUGE these days and many companies and organizations like to hold contests to increase their number of “Fans”, hoping to turn these people into paying customers and/or unofficial online evangelists for their brand, service or product.  Companies are looking for that extra edge and can use social media in addition to traditional advertising, and, that other core online marketing tool, search engine optimization (SEO). Locally, the Puget Sound region is well known as a center for the growing online marketing industry. There are a plethora of SEO companies in Bellevue not to mention the major tech players that dominate the Eastside job markets. Not to be left out, social media is also taking over the Eastside as companies look to promotions to increase their business. And it’s working.   Many online contests have proven to be a very effective way to keep in touch with customers and helping to attract new ones.  On the other hand, if not done properly, these contests can have less than desired results.Unfortunately it seems that there are those online marketers who for one reason or another do not actually award the prizes they offered in their contest.  Many times they get away with “forgetting” or simply being too busy to make sure the winner of the promised prize actually receives it.  Another hint:  it’s actually a good idea to use the prizes to try to solicit testimonials, positive blog posts, online reviews and ratings, photo ops, etc.

I don’t enter contests very often, but in the course of trying to help and promote a local Seattle-based LBS or location based service, I competed for and “won” a nerf gun, an iTunes gift card and a free dinner at a local restaurant.  Unfortunately I never saw any of them …

If in the same situation, how would you feel?  Would you continue to support and sing the praises of this company and their products/services?  What would you say if/when this company came up in conversation?  Would you blog about it?  Would you tell your friends?

I personally don’t use location based services anymore (well, rarely) and this is one of the reasons ..

The other day I was checking out my wall on Facebook and noticed that a local restaurant had posted a question as a contest and promised an unspecified prize.  I did some quick research and happened to be the first person to answer the question.  They did promptly congratulate me for my “win” and asked me to send my contact information to a certain email address.  I did, but four days later, still have not heard back from them.

I happen to like the restaurant a lot – and they used to be one of my best advertisers before they became corporate owned.

I still have hope that they will indeed give me a prize.

UPDATE:  It’s a week later and I waited to post this in hopes that they would actually come through, but no go.

After some more thought on this subject, it definitely isn’t the prize that is important in any of these cases – what is important is that companies and brands that I do business with and support do what they say they are going to do – especially when promoting and attempting to build their brand.  I have a feeling this is pretty important with a lot of other people too.  What are YOUR thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Bellevue Social Media Marketers: Do You Hold Contests Online? Make Sure to Give Out Promised Prizes”
  1. What were the businesses that offered the other prizes you won but never received? Have you called them?

    In the case of Ruth’s Chris in Bellevue, doing a giveaway on a business page’s wall is against Facebook TOS. It’s one of those “social media 101” mistakes that a lot of businesses make because they’ve chosen to “save money” by having employees handle social media marketing in-house.

  2. I’m not naming names Veronica, but hope that they’ll see the errors of their ways.

    There have been a lot of changes at FB and I didn’t even realize that giveaways were against the TOS. There are probably thousands of companies not in compliance at any given time …

    We may have differing opinions on who should be doing social media for businesses and I have another story to tell about that in my next blog post. Hint: I believe Social Media needs to be transparent and honest.

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