5 Ways to Spend a Summer Friday

It’s already mid-July, so at Something Social, we’re looking for hacks to make the most of our favorite season. Firm believers in the Summer Friday policy, we’re eager to share our favorite ways to start your summer weekends early.

Leave Town and Connect With Nature

Sometimes living in LA can feel like you’re a million miles away from nature, but we’re not! A few extra hours per weekend can make a local getaway that much more realistic. Snag some snacks and hit the road for one of our weekend trip locales.

Fave Spots Within Two Hours of LA:

Big Bear

Ojai

Newport Beach

Santa Barbara

Palm Springs

 

Explore a New Neighborhood

When you only have 48 hours of R&R, it can be difficult to muster the motivation to do more than your laundry and grabbing a coffee at your typical spot. Get off your desk, beat the traffic, and head to an area of town you haven’t explored yet. Need a few ideas to get started?

Our Fave Lesser-Explored Spots:

Highland Park

Frogtown

Pasadena

 

Go to A Dodgers Game

Don a ballcap and watch the boys in blue hit some home runs. If you’re an eastsider, making it out to the ballgame might be more realistic than getting all the way to the coast before sundown. Throw on your swag, grab a Doyer Dog, and get the shorts tan you’ve been waiting for all summer. Find the printable Dodgers schedule here.

 

Try Out a New Happy Hour

Working the 9-5 grind can make exploring LA’s extensive Happy Hour offerings difficult. Enter, your Friday half day. This will give you time to freshen up, find parking, and snag a barstool to check out discounted menus that you might not have tried otherwise.

Best spots to sip on the cheap:

Petite Taqueria’s Happy Hour and a Half

Gesso’s Weekday Wine Deals

Little Ruby’s Beer, Wine, and Spritzes deals

 

Take Advantage of Weekday Museum Events

Los Angeles is a hotbed of oft overlooked cultural exhibitions and artsy activities. A number of museums offer free admission and fun events to boost exposure for their programming. Check out one of the events below. You get to drink and brag about how cultured you are on the ‘gram.

The Natural History Museum’s First Fridays

LACMA’s Summer Friday Jazz Nights start at 6pm

Barnsdall Friday Fundraiser Wine Nights hosted by Silverlake Wines

Written by our Brand Communications Coordinator, Kaeleigh Morrison.

What’s your fave way to spend a Summer Friday? Tweet us  @somethingsocial or follow us on the ‘gram – @somethingsocial.

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6 Creative Social Media Giveaway Ideas To Use Now

The effectiveness of Instagram giveaways are undeniable. Giveaways on Instagram can quickly expand your sphere of influence by encouraging people to share/like your content/follow you for a chance at winning the prize. Leveraging people’s desire to get something for free is one of the most powerful techniques at your disposal. Depending on how enticing the prize is, growth from these giveaways can be marginal or exponential.

Choosing what giveaway idea is best for your brand depends on your business goals and audience demographics. Before doing an Instagram contest, decide on a goal that you want to get out of it. Is it to obtain email addresses for your email list? Grow followers? Expand brand name? Connect with other local businesses? Your goal will guide the contest.

As in all things social strategy, you want to make sure that your giveaway content and prize not only reflects your brand, but is relevant and valuable to your audience.

Partnered Promotion Giveaways

Partnered promotions are amazing. Period. They boost engagement, allow you to split prize costs, and, if run correctly, can result in massive returns for both of the brands involved. Entrants are expected to follow each person within the group in the hopes of winning a grand prize.

The obvious motivation behind running an Instagram collaboration giveaway is simple: to expose your brand to another brands audience & following. Collab giveaways are a group effort, but they have a higher opportunity for ROI due to extended audiences and shared costs.

Make sure you partner with a business or individuals whose target markets are similar to your own. This ensures any new followers you gain from the contest are engaged and have the potential to become your customers in the future.

Picking a prize that’s relevant to the audiences of all the collaborators is key. For instance, if the participants were involved in a lot of gaming/tech, they may decide to give away a gaming console while photography junkies might go for a high-quality camera. Users have to go through slightly more effort to follow multiple accounts than they might be used to, so it’s important that the main prize chosen is valuable enough to justify the extra effort.

PROS: Partnering reduces expenses of prize, increases giveaway’s organic reach
CONS: Requiring audience to follow too many accounts to enter can reduce interest in entering
TIPS: Partner with 1-3 other accounts to drive giveaway entries and prizes low in cost

Scheduled Contests

Scheduled giveaways are common for larger Instagrams with an engaged following. These giveaways work by giving away smaller prizes regularly, then showcasing those followers when they win. This is a great way to encourage people to stay loyal to your Instagram page, since every time they see someone win they’ll know there’s a chance, however slim, that the next one could be them.

For businesses that have a loyal customer base, building in a weekly or monthly contest is a great customer retention strategy. The barrier is usually low, asking users to use standard brand hashtags to automatically enter to win. And every week or month, you select a winner for a standard prize. Having a regularly occurring contest makes it easy for you to operate and continually generates new content for you to engage with.

For example, OpenTable hosts a weekly contest where you’re asked to hashtag your photo with #dishpics, tag @OpenTable and geotag the restaurant. The prize is always a $25 gift card. The contest benefits everyone involved: OpenTable is promoted, the restaurants sees photos posted and it’s feedback that the service is working.

APL hosts a weekly contest where you’re asked to hashtag your photo of their shoes with #apl and tag @apl. The prize is a pair of your favorite style sent straight to your door. The contest turns out an amazing amount of UGC for APL, has a HUGE value for APL’s loyal customers, and spreads the word through their audience’s organic reach.

PROS: Creates lots of user generated content, engages existing audiences, encourages followers to spread brand awareness through content-sharing with their audiences
CONS: Requires more time and effort to enter
TIPS: Prize should be slightly more valuable to encourage followers to enter and in some cases advertise your product/business for free to their audiences.

Photo Caption Contest

Caption contests are simple and often humorous, serving as a great way for your followers to interact with you. Running it is also simple- just post a photo, ask your followers to caption it by commenting  in return for a prize, and sit back and watch the flood of responses that come in.

To choose a winner, you could either pick a winner yourself, or ask your followers to like their favorite caption in the comments. While the second option can be a good way to engage your audience, the first option can help prevent people from artificially inflating their likes.

For example, The New Yorker, known for its satirical cartoons, runs a weekly caption contest asking their followers to caption a cartoon. This is a perfect contest for their educated audience focused on humor and current events.

PROS: Easy to run and enter, drives audience engagement
CONS: Without a physical prize, this contest is unlikely to drive following growth
TIPS:  Try running this type of contest to drive existing audience engagement and remind followers to turn on post notifications to increase average reach

User Generated Photo Contest

The UGC photo contest is easy to run with pretty high returns. Unlike the scheduled contest, UGC contests are also great for one-time contests. You ask people to submit photos using a relevant hashtag that you create. This format will be especially easy to pull off while also providing you with an abundance of user-generated content that you can feature on your Instagram account. This contest format is especially useful for a business because it helps show potential customers how a product can be used.

These hashtag-run contests are particularly good for driving brand awareness and creating lots of new user-generated content to use in the future. The reach doesn’t come from you but from your followers’ audiences (their friends and their friends’ friends).

Make sure it’s relevant to your brand. We’re going to repeat this over and over. The whole point of Social Media Marketing is creating a brand story, so if your content isn’t relevant, you might lose or disengage your audience. For your UGC giveaway to be effective, the prize needs to be desirable, since people don’t typically like to advertise for free.

Create a unique hashtag to make it easy for you to find the entries. Make sure to check this hashtag prior to launching the contest to make sure other accounts aren’t already using it! It’s important to make sure beforehand that the hashtag you use does not direct participants to irrelevant or negative content.

You’ll be unable to view the submissions from private accounts unless you’re following them, so make sure to remind followers that their accounts must be public to enter! After the event is over, you should have plenty of contest entries to continue sharing on your page!

PROS: Creates lots of user generated content, engages existing audiences, encourages followers to spread brand awareness through content-sharing with their audiences
CONS: Requires more time and effort to enter.
TIPS: Prize should be slightly more valuable to encourage followers to enter and in some cases advertise your product/business for free to their audiences.

Follow-To-Win Sweepstakes

All you’re doing is asking people to tag a friend in the comments section so that they can enter the contest, as well, and become eligible to win the prize. This contest format does a great job of improving your profile’s organic reach. That’s because once people are tagged by someone, they’ll likely receive a notification. These people will then check out your profile and potentially become a follower. They may also tag others.

This will create a viral feedback loop, bringing more people into the competition. To increase the impact of this feedback loop, you can also ask people to follow your account in addition to tagging someone. If you’re looking to generate a large Instagram following, this type of contest is probably the best way to do it. It spreads the word quick about your brand to a ton of (theoretically) interested people.

PROS: Super easy to enter, drives following growth organically through word-of-mouth
CONS: If popular, entries can be difficult to keep track of
TIPS: Don’t ask your audience to follow too many accounts! Stick to 2-4!

Like-To-Win Sweepstakes

With this Instagram contest, you can ask people to like your content if they want to enter the contest and have a chance of winning. Engaging with a specific post, however, is unlikely to achieve any business goals you have set out. Sure, you might see a spike in engagement for this post specifically, but it’s unlikely to carry-over long term.

Try utilizing this type of giveaway to draw attention to other digital streams by making entrants like your company page on Facebook, submit their email to your mailing list, or engage with you on another digital platform that you are looking to grow.

PROS: Great for cross-platform promotions
CONS: Unlikely to grow following, having audience leave social platform comes with risk of disengagement before entry
TIPS: Utilize to grow email subscribers or  following on other platform

The possibilities for the type of contest you might run are truly endless, so we know that the customization and creation process can be difficult. Should you need any advice on how to integrate these contests into your content calendar, reach out to us.

Written by our Brand Communications Coordinator, Kaeleigh Morrison.

We want to know about your next giveaway! Tweet us  @somethingsocial or follow us on the ‘gram – @somethingsocial.

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