Venus Trapped in Mars Sports and Lifestyle Blog Dallas

16 July 2014

14 Social Media Campaigns that Won't Cost Your Company A Dime in Advertising. Yes, Free.

14 of the Best Free Social Media Campaigns to Help you gain followers!

When Helene and I hosted last month's Total Social, I quickly learned how many of you manage all of the social media for your company. When I was Marketing Director for my former employer in Knoxville, a chain of salons across three states, I had an absolute ball coming up with the in-store and social media campaigns. That company franchised out to a large chain a few months ago, so today, I thought I would bring you some of those campaigns that were especially effective, so you can use them for your company! 


Hands down the biggest and fastest way I was able to increase our "likes" was when I had the idea to play BINGO. The first two weeks was simply distribution of the bingo cards. Our clients could pick up their bingo boards IN-STORE. The bingo boards were free, the catch being you had to like us on Facebook to play. 

Anything you can do to utilize the clients you already have is the best because it is effective and free. 

Then after boards were distributed, I would call out a few bingo terms each day over the Facebook airwaves. For example, I would make a FB status, and call out the squares: Mystic Spray Tan, Bronze and Fusion UT Campus. If you had one of those squares, you got to cross it off your board. 

The first person to fill up the whole board won 6 months of free tanning. But to be honest, it could have been a t-shirt and people would have still played. SO EFFECTIVE! (spoiler alert: people go bonkers for t-shirts) 

Click here to see more of that promotion on Facebook!

2. Guess the Number 

I ran a “guess the number of bottles of lotion on the shelf” contest. I posted a picture of the lotion shelves at one of our salons, and our fans guessed the correct number to win a gift card. This promotion didn’t gain new followers, but it was still effective. Remember, the more people begin to interact with your status, the more people who will actually get to SEE your status!

Click here to see that campaign in action!

3. All You Gotta Do is Ask

This one was really effective, and painfully easy. All I did was ask them to click like, in exchange I awarded one lucky person a gift card. Remember, the more interactions, the more visibility on your client's news feeds! 

Click here to see that campaign in action! 

4. Elf (or whatever inanimate object you so choose) On the Shelf

When I first ran this campaign, I was downright giddy thinking how good of an idea I had just come up with. But it was actually a gigantic bust. Surprisingly. I think the issue was that the elf was at a store in Kentucky, and most of our fans were in Tennessee. I still would try this one again. 

Click here to see that campaign in action! 

5. Pick A Team, Any Team! 

I think one important thing to remember is to have fun. Just because you sell tanning, for instance, doesn't mean every status has to blah blah snore snore tanning facts over and over again. Have some fun with your clients. I asked them to tell me which college, NFL, NBA, MLB, etc... team they were rooting for, then switched it up based on the time of year. Everyone wants to brag on their teams, this one was a piece of cake! 

Click here to see that campaign in action! 

6. Holiday Promotions for Facebook Fans Only

I would post Facebook only (as opposed to in-store) flash sales. For example, my status would offer 15% off any lotion or 50% off a spray tan. I would then have my sales associates remind their in-store clients to like us on Facebook, and we could honor the posted special for them! 

The person would get their smart phone out, and immediately go like us on Facebook to get the offer. You do the math, we had 18 locations, saw around 250 clients per day, per location. I'm sure you can see how quickly those likes rack up by doing this strategy! 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

7. What am I tanning with?

I would ask our clients to guess what lotion I used that day. I only did the spray tan, but that is neither here nor there. I still picked a random lotion, then waited for the correct guess to roll in. 

This would be a fun one to adapt for a restaurant. Example: The first person to guess what entree I had for lunch today off insert your restaurant's name here menu, wins a voucher for that entree, free! 

Plus, this one gets your clients searching your website, looking up your menu and researching your company to make an educated guess! 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

8. Trivia Tuesday

Each Tuesday I would ask a trivia question about the history of our company, a question that required just blind guessing or even a question that could be easily answered by searching our website. 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

9. Take em' elsewhere  

Announce a contest on Facebook, that you have to actually enter via Instagram.  

This works great to grow your Instagram account! Gaining a fan on one platform is good, gaining a fan on 5 platforms is better! 

Oh, and always use hashtags. They are powerful. 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

10. Aces Wild

Every salon had a deck of cards behind the counter. IF THE CLIENT LIKED US ON FACEBOOK, they then were allowed to pick a card. Each card in the deck had a specific prize value. 

For example, drawing a Jack from the deck got them 10% off lotion, a King got them a free upgrade, a 2 got a lotion sample… etc etc… then if they drew an ace, they could pick ANY of the prizes available.

Only catch is they had to like us on FB….. sneaky, sneaky, huh?

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

11. Pale legs contest

They had to upload a picture of either their pale legs or a friend's, and the person with the most likes on their photo, won. 

The intention was for them to tell their friends to vote for their picture on our wall. Their friends would then like our page and, voila! We got new followers! 

The photo topic could obviously be changed to fit any business! 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

12. Fusion olympics

This campaign took place during the Summer Olympics, but could be adapted for any major sports tournament!  

In-store, the client drew a nation out of a hat. They then had to... you guessed it... like us on Facebook. If the nation they picked won a medal that day, we announced the prize they won on FB, and gave them a redemption code.

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

13. Trends by city  

We all want the hottest new beauty product that all of our friends have. So do a little sales research. Find out what the hotest selling products are by location, and make a graphic with the info you find! You're pushing a product, but it won't feel like that to the client. Two birds, one stone! 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

14. Share Share Share  

When in doubt, have them share your status for prizes. Just one single share, from one single client, makes your fan page visible to hundreds more than you had access to before. Simple and very effective. 

Click here to see an example of that campaign in action! 

Feel free to leave a comment with even more effective social media campaign ideas to add to the list! 
Oh, and see you tomorrow for this month's #FavTotalSocial!!!

Venus Trapped in Mars

The theme for July, which will take place this Thursday, July 17th is favorites with the hashtag #FavTotalSocial.  So Helene and I will see you on Thursday, ready to play favorites! For more #TotalSocial details, go here!


  1. These are fantastic ideas! I wish I was still working with a marketing department, so I could be all like, "Yo, check it."

  2. You are amazing for this!!! I'll be figuring out how i can use some of these in my own business!

  3. THIS POST NEEDS TO BE PINNED ALL OVER THE LAND. sorry for shouting. i'm pinning it right now!

  4. I think this is probably the best post I've ever read. Seriously such great advice for anyone working with social media. Social media is seriously the best thing to happen to marketing because when it's done right it gives huge results while only costing the salary of the person you're paying to run your accounts

  5. My fiance is in charge of all of this at Dillard's in Lawton. I just emailed him the link "LOOK AT ALL THESE GREAT IDEAS YOU COULD USE! " lol

  6. This is SO helpful! Just what I needed today. Thanks so much!

  7. I was recently put on a project team to launch social media for our company, I can't wait to bring these ideas into the pilot - thanks for giving me the opportunity to look like a pro!

  8. These are so smart! You're the social media genius!

  9. These are such awesome ideas! I can use these with my own business to get my name out there. Thank you!

  10. Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas. We'd love to see the campaigns in action but the links/posts are restricted. Can you share them publicly? :) Thanks!

  11. Some of these ideas are now against Facebook's updated TOA. They are cracking down on blatant "like-baiting".

  12. Awesome tips for getting more likes, shares, and reposts! Once I launch my brand I'll definitely have to use some of these tips!

    -Lara @ Methodical Living

  13. This is as a result helpful!!! very soon what I needed today. Thanks so much for me !!! see and know more click here

  14. These are fantastic, and I'm already figuring out how to modify them to work on my blog! Shared the post on my FB page "The Take Action WAHM"

  15. These are great tips!! Going to put them to use :)

  16. Whoa! I thought I was a creative person but you put me to shame. These ideas are stellar and I'm already thinking of great ways to adapt them to my own blog business. You're the best! Thank you!

    Hannah | The Outfit Repeater


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