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Engage your followers - that's a win win situation for them and you!

Engage your followers – that’s a win win situation for them and you!

If you’ve ever wondered how on earth you can make one of your Facebook or Twitter posts go viral then read on. For sure, there’s an awful lot of luck involved, but there are ways in which you can encourage more exposure and get more likes and/or followers. Those likes can sometimes be converted into sales – and when you’re a small business, every sale matters.

Here at Wholesale Clearance UK one of the most fun things we do is to run our Free Friday Quiz on Facebook here on a Friday afternoon. Posting competitions is a great way to get more subscribers and more interaction with those who follow your page. For rankings on Facebook, Google and Twitter it is important that you get the interaction, so as far as possible you do want to encourage your followers to engage with you. The more likes and comments you have the more likely you increase your levels of exposure, and of course the more exposure you have the greater the chance you’ll hit on a post that will go viral.

This stock keeps Karl looking rosy for a few weeks.

This stock keeps Karl looking rosy for a few weeks.

On the whole we have preferred a nice straight forward competition that everyone can have a go at. We often use one where participants guess how many somethings are hiding in a pile. For example on 22nd November we loaded up a plastic tub with little bottles of moisturiser and asked people to guess how many were in the tub. The advantage of this sort of quiz is that we can then easily show the evidence and choose a winner. We favour this as opposed to anything more subjective as we don’t want war to break out among our followers. You still get the odd smart alec who doubts the veracity of our decisions, but Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook without them, eh?

Another favourite is for people to guess the length of something – steady folks! (we’re talking a roll of bubblewrap, as on 4th October 2013) and we can then subsequently upload a video or a photo showing the evidence afterwards.

Our Free Friday quizzes have been a huge success. We regularly have over 500 or 600 people taking part. We keep the rules simple – usually just one guess per person (that way we don’t get confused and as you may realise, we’re easily confused) and the quiz will close at a set time (sometimes same day, sometimes 9 am or 5 pm on Monday).

Just how many tea lights does it take to heat your home?

Just how many tea lights does it take to heat your home?

The winners are sent a great prize and no! If the Free Friday Quiz involves guessing how many tealights there are in a crate the winner does not get a shedload of tealights. We can do better than that!

James Mcilkenny - wimmer of a business empire!

James Mcilkenny – wimmer of a business empire!

Occasionally we run bigger competitions. On 24th May 2013 we opened our Tamebay Ecommerce Football Tournament competition offering one lucky winner the chance to get their mitts on £1,000.00 RRP of stock to start their own business empire by guessing how many goals would be scored throughout the tournament. Wholesale Clearance UK took on teams from eBay, Amazon, Ford, Kurt Geiger, Linnworks and many more in London on 28th May. Naturally Wholesale Clearance UK won the tournament and overall there were 319 goals scored. The closest was James Mcilkenny with a guess of 314. He won the £1,000.00 of mixed stock and set up his own eCommerce business.

The other advantage of running a regular Free Friday Quiz is that it does allow you, as an entrepreneur and small business owner, to give something back to your followers. You may feel that people simply liking you on Facebook and Twitter costs them nothing, but they are actually investing something in you – a certain trust, loyalty, the decision to see you favourably – and you want to work on this so that those feelings grow over time. They may not want to buy from you right now, this instant – but six or 12 months down the line when they need something they may well come to you then if they have been engaging with you over a long period of time. If you don’t acknowledge them or engage them in any way, you will be forgotten like so many other Facebook pages.

So how do you increase your chances of going viral?

Just be routinely brilliant!

Just be routinely brilliant!

Admittedly there’s no sure fire method that will send a post, photo or video viral – but you have to be in it to win it, so keep posting. There are a few tips that can help, but probably the best tip of all is simply to be the best you can be.

Try and be current You can do this by considering what is in the news and creating a post or competition that reflects that.

Use popular keywords and phrases This links into the previous idea. What are people most likely to be typing in to their favourite search engine today?

Use videos Videos are hugely popular, particularly funny ones or animated ones. If you possibly can, put something on YouTube and then link back to your page or link from your page.

Write a post which appeals to someone huge! Imagine that you write something that a celebrity such as Stephen Fry or George Takei takes up as a cause, or approves or reposts or tweets. That would be a dream come true, right? Imagine the exposure. Well good luck with that, but it can happen …

Use humour For sure there is a place for serious and for informative posts, but depending on your business, particularly when you are using social networking you do want to keep things light hearted and easy. That’s why we run our competitions on a Friday afternoon – people need something to ease themselves into the weekend after a very busy week.

So, just one last question.

What sort of competitions do you like to participate in on social media. Facebook is starting to frown on the whole ‘like and share for your chance to win this prize’ style competition that have become so prevalent. Do you like the ‘guess how many’ style? Do you like a ‘guess the link between these four people’ style? Do you prefer something with more skill?

What’s the best competition you ever entered?

Have you ever won any big ones?

Let me know below or come to our Facebook page here and tell me there. I’m interested to hear from you 🙂

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