My trick to gaining reviews, followers, and social signals
This secret weapon allows us to gain over 200 reviews in an average month, along with hundreds of real followers.
One of the most challenging aspects of running an e-commerce business is getting reviews. Almost as challenging is getting social interactions as well. Both can help expand your reach and convert lookers into buyers. I have come up with an easy way to get both, which does not include running paid ads. The way I use it builds backlinks to your site, making it one of the most effective techniques we use. Typically with one campaign, we acquire over 200 reviews, 500 social shares, including comments, reposts, retweets, and about 30 backlinks.
What is this method?
It is super simple. We run contests. Specifically, we use an app called Gleam to run our contests and reward social interaction with entries to the contest. The Gleam app is paid; we use the $50 a month plan to get the most out of our contests. After the contest, we cancel the Gleam plan.
We pick a product with the broadest appeal for a prize because we want as many entries as possible. If you sell a niche product, it might be best to go with another product as the prize to get the most traction from your contest. Of the different products we have tried, here are the ones that work best:
Airpods / Samsung Buds
Apple / Samsung Watches
Apple / Samsung Phones
Some of these items can get pretty pricey, but the higher the item's price, the more interaction you should expect. I typically start with a pair of Airpods for most clients. With the prize and Gleam fee, we can keep the contest below $200. When we look at the whole point of the contest being to gain social signals and reviews, no advertising programs come close to generating these results. I typically run the competitions for 60 days but expect traffic to drop dramatically after the week.
When I set up the different entry methods, I try to be strategic with the ways to get the most return. Below are some of the most common ones I use:
Retweet a Tweet - This is pretty self-explanatory. You can make a tweet about a hot product and use targeted hashtags to gain more traction.
Follow on Twitter - This entry method helps gain followers that are real people, not fake bought accounts.
Blog Comment - If you use a comment service like Disqus, you can request people comment on your blog posts. When users comment on a Disqus post, you get several effects. It helps you get discovered on Disqus, Google sees the interaction, and your customers see a lively blog.
Refer Friends - Another simple way to expand the reach of your contest. This method allows the entrants to refer over their friends for entries.
Visit a Page
I rely on this entry method the most. It is the most versatile method to use in your giveaways and creates the most value. Some of the other ways, like Facebook, are crippled down to comply with Facebook's terms of service. Using the Visit a Page, you can get around that limitation.
Another way to use the Visit a Page method is to ask for reviews. You can either ask for product reviews or site reviews as a whole. We give the most entries to this entry method to encourage people to use it. One thing you have to be aware of is operating in line with the terms of service for where you are collecting reviews. I use titles like "If you have used or products, leave us a review." Honest, to the point, and not asking anyone to break a TOS agreement.
Asking people to like your Facebook page or post is another way to use this entry method as well Since the Facebook option in the app is crippled, we use the Visit a Page option to get those entries. How you can use the Visit a Page is nearly limitless.
Promoting Your Contest
Here comes the easiest part of running the contest, promoting it. When I promote a competition, I follow a strategy of promoting it to the list of customers first, then to the internet as a whole. If you do not have a list of customers, or your list is very small, do not worry. You can promote the contest to the internet as a whole and get great responses. Promoting it to your existing customers can help secure better and more honest reviews and more authentic social interactions. I heavily rely on Reddit for contest promotion simply because it works. Below is the list of places I promote new contests. As a note, follow the formatting and submission rules, as to not get your contest removed.
Most contest sites actively scrape Reddit for contests and repost the contests to their sites. I can see about 20-30 sites regularly do this from the past promotions we have run. That means there is no need to post your contest to their site actively. They will do it automatically and build a backlink back to your site.
Keeping the Contest Active
If you notice, I did not mention using a mailing list signup as a form of entry I use. That is because the social interactions already scrape their email addresses. To keep the contest active, I find an interval, say once a week and change out the contest entry methods. Then I will email the people who have already entered using our mailing list. This keeps them coming back and providing more social interactions, reviews, comments, or likes to your site. The best part about the whole system is that these are real humans who could be discovering your site or product for the first time. We typically get low conversion rates of users to buyers during the contests, but we still do get conversions.
If you have any questions about using contests to promote your site, you can ask in the comments below