Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Desert Trends Bridal Show Contest with Michael Zysman

Last June, Michael Zysman of Desert Trends Photography held one such contest on Facebook in conjunction with a local Arizona-based bridal show. The contest helped him gain over 3000 Fan Page “likes” and has given their studios a boost in both sessions and in revenue.

Bridal shows and expos are an increasingly popular post-holiday season trend. With love in the air, and new rings on the fingers, January is becoming one of the most popular months for sponsors to host the shows. Whether you newspaper is garnering the sponsors to host the event, or you’re simply working with advertisers to create an expo worth remembering, the newspaper classified advertising department can aide in the development of unique marketing strategies that give vendors an edge above their competition.

One marketing strategy you can work with your advertisers to develop is an online — or mobile — social media campaign that emphasizes their strengths. In particular, using prevalent sites, like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, in conjunction with personal appearance and discussion at the expo can establish your advertiser’s credibility while accentuating their top-of-the-mind awareness to potential clientele. Developing a social media marketing campaign for your advertisers not only changes the personalization of how they conduct business daily, but it also boosts exposure and builds relationships with a demographic that may otherwise looked elsewhere.

Furthermore, using social media for your own marketing without the incorporation of other advertisers can prove beneficial to your bottom line. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but let me explain; the more people you can get to view your social site, the more valuable your product becomes. If you can host a contest utilizing a social site like Facebook and obtain between 2000 and 4000 page likes, you’re increasing your daily exposure by thousands. And, because the main objective of your advertisers’ marketing plans is to be seen, the value of your fan page, and of your classified section, rises, allowing you to charge a premium for said advertising. If you still need help setting up a Fan Page on Facebook, download our Facebook How-To Guide, created in house to show you the ins-and-outs of Facebook.

Last June, Michael Zysman of Desert Trends Photography held one such contest on Facebook in conjunction with a local Arizona-based bridal show. The contest helped him gain over 3000 Fan Page “likes” and has given their studios a boost in both sessions and in revenue. Here’s what he had to say about the benefits of using social media to host contests:

Above the Fold | What was the inspiration behind hosting a contest at the bridal show?

Desert Trends | I borrowed the idea from a friend of mine. Mike Fazio, of Snapbooth, has also had a good response to these contests on Facebook.

AtF | How many Fan-Page “likes” did the contest gather?

DT | A little more than 3000 likes. We only had about 850 before this contest.

AtF | What was the general response from participants? Did they like the contest? Did it help you meet new potentials?

DT | Overall, it was well received and the participants enjoyed it. At the end, the competition was quite intense and the leaders said it was a bit stressful. We did book weddings from several of the contestants that didn’t win, as well as a few portrait sessions from new fans. We hope having the additional fans will help keep us on the radar as couples get engaged.

AtF | How has social media changed or motivated the way you conduct business?

DT | Social media allows us to share our work with potential clients everyday instead of just at a few bridal shows a year. Today’s bride has embraced social media and it’s important for us to be where our potential clients can see us.

AtF | How would you say this Facebook contest was beneficial to your company?

DT | It has boosted the number of people who see our photography on a regular basis. A potential client has to be repeatedly exposed to a brand before they will recognize and remember it. We hope exposing them to our branded work on Facebook every week will be effective to keep us front of mind.

AtF | Would you have considered partnering with the local newspaper to host this contest if they were involved with organizing the bridal show?

DT | Yes, we are always interested in partnerships that will be mutually beneficial

AtF | How do contests held on Facebook affect your bottom line?

DT | The cost of the prize is primarily labor. Instead of paying for a print ad, I trade several days of my work in exchange for Facebook fans. The wedding photography business is largely referral based. Brides, even if they like your work, are unlikely to book without a referral from a friend or other trusted wedding professional. By giving away a wedding package, we hope to have another client who will rave about our work and refer their friends to us. This is something I don’t think can be bought in a print advertisement.

AtF | How do your contests help you in building relationships with potential clients?

DT | Getting a lot of LIKES on your Facebook page is only the first step. Retaining them, and keeping the interested in what you sell is critical. To achieve this, we try to post content relevant to our target audience and post regularly.

Many of our contest participant’s friends and family will LIKE our page during the contest. After we photograph their wedding or event, it puts us in a great position to share some of these photographs on our Facebook page. It translates to more comments and interactions with potential clients.

AtF | Will you be conducting another contest this year?

DT | Yes, most likely in January.

AtF | What advice do you have for others looking to host contests on Facebook or other social media outlets?

DT |

• Be sure to have clearly written contest rules and post them where everyone will read them.

• Promote your contest by asking other industry leaders to post about the contest on their page or blog. In our case, we asked wedding planners, DJ, florists, caterers, etc.

• Make the contest as simple to enter as possible to enter. People are not willing to jump through a lot of hoops to win.

• Consider a discount offer for everyone who enters.

AtF | Did the benefits of running the contest outweigh the expenditures it took to give away the grand prize?

DT | Yes, we have already booked several events as a result of the contest. I hope to see more long-term benefits as well, as our fan base comes to us for their photography needs.

AtF | What kind of commitment does it take to host a Facebook contest like the Bridal Show Photo Contest?

DT | As a small, owner-operated business it is fairly easy to run a contest. It requires some advanced planning to print related marketing materials and daily monitoring to answer questions and ensure everything runs smoothly.

AtF | How long have you been a professional photographer?

DT | I have been a professional photographer for four and a half years.