Note: This is the first in a series of articles looking at how to better integrate social media into your awards or grants program. Follow our blog to get updates on new articles in this series.
Sometimes social media can feel like just another task on a long to-do list. But keep in mind that it’s a wonderful way to engage with your community, share your stories and provide recognition right alongside your awards or grant program.
Just how important is social media when it comes to marketing your recognition program? Very. Take these stats, for example:
There are 3.397 billion active social media users across the world.
On average, people have 5.54 social media accounts.
The average daily time spent on social is 116 minutes a day.
The takeaway? Half of the world’s population is spending more than 10% of their day, every day, using social media!
People feel an innate desire to share their achievements. And the easiest way to do that today is through social media. This can mean a shared post on Facebook. Or a photo on Instagram. Or a simple 240-character tweet that mentions the program.
When people share their experiences and stories from your program, that’s “social currency” for you – one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools out there. Social currency “measures the ability of brands to fit into how consumers manage their social lives in today’s digital and mobile age,” according to a study by Valvaldi Partners. “It is about creating meaningful experiences around the brand.”
Your awards or grant program is providing a meaningful experience for your participants, and potentially a life- and career-altering experience. And there’s no easier place to share that experience than through social media.
Here are 5 ways to grow your awards program through social media
1. Market your program through social media.
Before your entries ever open, you can let people know about your program. Drum up support early on. Create a hashtag (#myawardsprogram19) and share it with your community through email and social posts. Encourage user-generated content as people start getting excited about the program and their aspirations.
Go to where your followers are, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tik Tok, and share the news about your program. Provide updates, timelines, inspiration, and more.
Instagram is perfect for our visual content, said Clare McNamara, of Jackson’s Art Supplies and their Jackson’s Open Painting Prize (who uses Award Force as their abstract submission software).
“We created an Instagram gallery space because we want to celebrate the artists we come across in our competitions and the Instagram wall format is great for being able to see the variety of artworks all at once,” said McNamara, who runs their Instagram accounts.
Here are more post ideas: previous winners and entries (don’t forget to tag them), sponsor profiles, judge bios and features, and important program dates and deadlines.
2. Share stories of recognition.
We are all inspired by greatness. Share current entries or entries from years past to inspire current participants. Tell their stories – what did it take to win? How did that person’s history and experience propel them to this moment of achievement?
Both Facebook and Instagram can be wonderful channels for storytelling and visual content that can inspire potential applicants to take that next step.
3. Communicate often with your program participants.
Your social media channels can be an ideal place to post regular program updates without inundating your participant’s email box. It’s the perfect spot to remind people to enter, of upcoming deadlines, of extended deadlines, and any other information you want to share during the awards program lifecycle.
4. Use Twitter as a fast and effective support tool.
According to statistics released by Twitter, 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to, making it the perfect way to provide fast support during the program entry period. It’s very common for entrants to wait until the very last minute to enter a program, leaving no room for error and a great potential for support demand.
5. Announce and recognise winners across social.
Awards programs often come with an awards ceremony or event, but posting on social is also a great way to pile on the recognition, providing a real-time announcement that can be shared across your social media accounts.
It provides winners and finalists with an easy and fast way to share the good news of their achievement and, at the same time, provide continued awareness for your program and brand.
Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for your awards or submission program. It’s also perfect for staff recognition programs (looking at you, LinkedIn posts!). And it doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Using a social media planner like Buffer or Later can make it a lot faster and easier to implement.
By creating social currency around your brand and program, you’ll be able to grow your entries and program reach, attract industry leaders to be top-level judges and create a lasting impression on your industry and community.
It can also be a good reminder of why your program exists in the first place–– to recognise amazing achievements and share those with the world so we might all be so inspired.
Learn how Award Force’s submission management system can help you manage + market your program. Get a demo today.