Six Facebook Contest Ideas for the Pool Industry

6 Facebook Contests for the Pool Industry | Pool Marketing Site Digital and Inbound Marketing Agency Houston

Facebook contests have always been great for drawing and engaging new and current users to your page, but when was the last time you promoted Facebook event or set up a contest or sweepstakes for your pool business?

The social media platform announced at the end of August that they’ve changed their page terms to make it easier for you. Now business pages (not personal pages) can set up contests on their Facebook Timeline, without a third-party application. Business can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like the post
  • Collect entries by having users send personal messages
  • Use “likes” as a voting mechanism

Setting up a contest is pretty easy and simple. You can now begin a contest the day of by posting text or a photo and having users like or comment. With this huge opportunity to drive brand engagement, we thought we’d come up with a few good ideas specifically for pool businesses. 

 

1. For the Pool Builder

Vote on Your Favorite. Facebook posts are now as eye-catching as ever. Post a photo gallery of finished pool projects, water features, or backyard patios and have users vote on their favorites.

Caption This. Upload a silly, “behind the scenes” company photo and have users create a caption. The best caption wins the prize.

 

2. For the Pool Retailer 

Guess and Check. Help users learn about all your products by uploading a picture of a backyard (for example) filled with your company’s products and have users guess how many are in the photo. Don’t forget to include a link to your website or e-commerce site as a guide.

Solve the Problem. Post a picture of a pool or backyard that needs a major solution (such as a dirty pool) and ask users to share their best tips. The tip with the most “likes” or comments wins free products they can use to solve that problem, such as a set of pool chemicals.

 

3. For the Pool Manufacturer 

Did You Know? Ask trivia questions, for example, “TRIVIA: How many fortune 500 companies do we work with? Comment below with your guess and enter for a chance to win a free $500 gift card.” Establish credibility by asking other questions about your business, history, and partners.

Product Feature Highlight. Have users guess how many gallons of water X Water Filter cleans in 1 hour or post an engaging Vine video of a product hard at work asking users to guess how long it’ll take Product X to clean the featured pool or heat up the hot tub.

 

Things to keep in mind when setting up a contest: 

  • Keep the instructions clear and easy to understand. You don’t want to lose users’ attention or interest.
  • Choose a relevant prize that will be an incentive for fans and relative to your specific business. If you’re a service, consider giving a free in-person pool building consultation or free 1 hour pool maintenance service. If you’re a retailer or manufacturer, give away a few pieces from your newest product line.
  • Facebook contests may be free, but they still require time. Take the time to think through what you want to accomplish from the contest and set goals.
  • Be sure to ask for feedback from users as this will help you make even better contests to further engage and inspire.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr was founded in February 2007 by David Karp. Tumblr is a micro-blogging service that allows you to effortlessly share anything from photos, quotes, links, music, videos and text all in a HTML format. Whether you want to post about your pool tips, pool designs, backyard tips and pool builder photos Tumblr is what you make it!

Personalization is key with having a Tumblr and it gives you the opportunity to share easily and elegantly. Share your Tumblr with friends and followers through email, social media and other networking sites. Today, this free micro-blogging service consists of over 79 million blogs and is available through mobile applications, web, desktop and widgets. Watch this video for more information and insight into the world of Tumblr.

5 Tips to Effectively Use Pinterest for Pool and Spa

Pinterest for Business Pinterest is the 3rd largest social media network and has the 4th largest referral traffic source in the world; more than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google combined. According to VatorNews, referral traffic refers to visitors to a website that came from direct links on their websites, such as Pinterest or Facebook.

Pinterest is growing and updating to adhere to the abundance of users because no matter what life stage people are in, they will still be able to use Pinterest for their surfing or bookmarking needs.

For example, a newly married couple could be pinning backyard and renovation inspiration for their newly purchased homes. Then years later the same married couple could be pinning new pool ideas that their children can enjoy with a new slide and waterfall feature. Your pool and spa company can be a relevant and important tool to the purchase cycle of many Pinterest users like this married couple.

Need help figuring out how to use Pinterest effectively? Here is a video that details the top 5 tips to get your Pinterest up and running:

In the long run, Pinterest is all about content. We’ve got the tools and the creative team to get the content creation ball rolling for your pool and spa industry. We can get you set up with photo galleries, video channels and even a blog that will help supply your Pinterest for all your fans! Capitalize on their visit with lead generation and lead nurturing practices, and you could turn Pinterest into a profitable investment for your pool services.

Let’s get started!

Social Media Design Services

We at the Pool Marketing Site are big proponents of social media for the pool industry. Let’s take a look at each social network and really break down why you should participate in some or all.  The choice is yours, and we’d love to help you get started.

Facebook

Facebook got its start in 2004 as a way for college students to connect online and share in each other’s school experience. After unprecedented success and crazy rapid growth, kids, grannies and everyone in between are now using Facebook™ to connect with family, friends and colleagues around the world. Facebook™ has over 800 million active users that visit the site regularly. 50 percent of those users visit every day, and 21 percent are located within the United States. The average user has 130 friends. It doesn’t take much calculation to see how quickly your business could gain serious exposure with a little Facebook™ marketing.

 

 

 

 

YouTube

With more than 3 billion videos viewed each day, YouTube is the leading video sharing site. 17 million users have connected their YouTube account to at least one other social service, and more than 12 million have connected and are auto sharing to at least one other network. This presents potential for extremely rapid movement of your video testimonials, tutorials, and video commercials across the web- in short, instant exposure for your pool and spa business.

The YouTube community is widely interactive. You can even run special contests to help promote all of your social networking sites like this example from Carecraft:

 

 

 

Blog

There are many ways to market your business online these days. So why use a pool marketing blog you ask? Here are our top reasons:

Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Market
Your blog posts should be well structured and offer valuable information to your readers. Through engaging content, catchy titles, and relevant topics, you can effectively position yourself as a credible specialist in your area. Whether sharing the latest eco-friendly water treatment products, or explaining how to winterize a pool, strong and informative blog posts will solidify your reputation as a trusted pool expert in your area.

Build Relationships
Blogs are an excellent opportunity to show a more personal side to your business. People like doing business with people, and a pool marketing blog is an excellent way to personalize your brand. By inviting your readers to join a discussion through comments and in turn responding promptly to comments left, you have the opportunity to interact with old, new and potential customers on a personal level.

Create a Buzz
Blogs, like other social media platforms, are effective ways to create a buzz around your business. An active blog with regular back and forth give potential clients a positive impression of your business, reaffirming that you are a true professional, available and dependable. On the other hand, a blog that’s most recent post is twelve months old gives the opposite impression. But don’t fret. When you’re short on time, our social media team can help you keep things fresh. Just ask us about our blog posting services!

Boost SEO
Google loves websites that are updated regularly with relevant and keyword rich content. By posting to your blog consistently and keeping your content on point with valuable information, you will drive traffic to your website and give a boost to your rankings. You can gain even more traction with search engines by encouraging readers to share favourite articles through their preferred social network, and inviting other bloggers to link back to your posts.

 

Twitter boasts over 100 million active users worldwide, 50 percent of whom log on daily. Twitter users post more frequently, often communicating in short bursts throughout each day. While your business approach to Twitter will differ from personal users, it still must maintain the personal and natural element that Twitter users treasure. Our social media team know how to strike just the right balance with your brief and personalized business profile and pool specific topics. By helping you present promotional content in a natural and friendly voice, we’ll ensure your Twitter marketing efforts strike a chord within this more discriminating social community.

 

Are You “Pinteresting”?

Hi, I’m Brie with the Pool Marketing Site.  I am a newly wed (yea!) and currently doing what newly weds do best; spending money on my house!…er…I mean our house!

As I was browsing online for unique Christmas decorations the other day, I realized that as a young professional raised in the fast-paced world of computers and technology, the way I search for something is far different than my mom.  My mom, bless her heart, has magazines for miles from the JC Penny catalog to the latest Sears issue.  She loves when the magazines hit the mailbox.  I remember when the latest softball equipment magazine or some other teen clothing magazine would come, I was equally elated. Now, it’s all simply clutter to me. Along with most of my generation, that’s not the way I like to learn about new products anymore.

Pinterest

Sure, I can browse store websites selling Christmas decor, but that takes too long and I want to be able to find exactly what I’m looking for in an arena that shows me things that are my style, i.e. Pinterest.

According to their “About” section on their website (and the best definition I could find),

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by people with great taste.

People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things — wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.”

Basically, Pinterest is a way cooler and much more visual bookmarking site.  Think of it as a virtual post-it for websites and images you want to be able to remember and share with others. Off the site, as I browse the web and see something I like, I can “pin it,” meaning I can save the images and website link to my personal Pinterest board, which in turn shares it with the entire Pinterest community.  Are you starting to see the potential yet?

On the site, I can browse through everything that other people have “pinned” to their pin boards based on categories like “Wedding and Events,” “Food and Drink,” and most importantly for you pool guys out there, “Home Decor.” Or, I can search within the boards for exactly what I want.

 

My search for “Texas Pool Builder”

According to a demographic study done by Complete Pulse, 54% of Pinterest users are women, with the majority of those in the 28-34 age bracket.  Additionally, these users have quite a bit of disposable income. See an interesting article from MediaPost that ponders whether moms are choosing Pinterest over Google for their search inquiries. 

As I was looking through the “Home Decor” category today for my fun, Christmas decorations,  I saw a couple pool and backyard living photos (which end up linking back to the original website).  I don’t think you can get much more social than that!  As a potential pool buyer, I can find a photo on your website of a pool that I really like, “pin it” to my Pinterest board and share it with everyone I’m connected with, or even perfect strangers. As I “pin” something, I can also share that to Facebook, so then all of my Facebook friends will learn about your pool and website too! Think of how many leads and website traffic you could get, not to mention a healthy boost in SEO.

How do you get this Pinterest on your site?  People who are already on Pinterest can already “pin” your photos through a bookmark button created specially for the site, or you can add a custom “pin it” button on each of your photos!  As we always say here, there is no front door anymore!  Don’t be afraid of all of this technology. Embrace it! A simple added button on your photos can create a whole new marketing potential for you.

 

Why Your Website Needs Social Integration for SEO

We at the Pool Marketing Site LOVE social tools for pools, and strongly feel they’re a necessity with every website.  It’s great to have a Facebook Page or YouTube account, but you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle if you’re not integrating these into your website. In order to understand its importance, let’s look at how social tools affect search engine optimization, a term we’re sure you’re familiar with and currently doing.

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art of making your site the most relevant and easily accessed it can be for your visitors and for search engines.  It is not a miracle worker that can make your website #1 in all search results on all search engines.  There is never a guarantee that you can be number one in any search result, and it can take time to see results. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

With that being said, you may be thinking “Why should I bother with SEO, if there are no guarantees?”  You should incorporate SEO into your website as it can make your site the absolute best it can be.  It is something you should be working on diligently, yet giving any changes you make the necessary time it needs to assess its progress.  The better your site is optimized, the more appealing it will be to your target audience and to search engines.

 

Let’s start with search engines first.  As you probably know, the #1 search engine is Google.  Google sets the trend for all other search engines and how they rank certain websites.  The basic way this works is, Google has spiders or robots that crawl your website to find your site, read your site and index its contents.  From the information the robots or spiders gather, Google determines the relevancy of your site by comparing the keyword phrases it is optimized for versus the content.  Does it flow naturally or are keyword phrases forced into the content where they do not make sense?  Combine several other factors such as links to your site from another and the age of your site and you basically have the Google algorithm in a nutshell.  Google is constantly changing its formula or algorithm as to what is important and what is not.  At Pool Marketing Site, we incorporate an organic or authentic method of SEO, so that no matter how Google changes it’s formula, our clients’ websites will still be relevant and searchable.

 

Our friends at HubSpot have the research to back it up

Since we believe in an organic and authentic SEO practice, we like to call our version of SEO, Web Presence Optimization or WPO.  We use this term because we firmly believe that SEO and Social Media Marketing should go hand in hand.  The object of getting better SEO results with Google by increasing your web presence entirely is our focus.  What better way to accomplish this than using social media as your tool?   We incorporate the important SEO aspects and partner this methodology with a strong social media presence using Facebook, YouTube, blog posts, Twitter, Flickr, Linked In, etc… as an extension of your website and your business.  Use your keyword phrases that are highly searched and competitive along with engaging content, posts, blogs, videos, pictures, etc… that all showcase your business to its full potential.  Your site users will have a better understanding of your brand and virtually be able to get their questions answered prior to the initial contact with you.

 

With this information in mind, please be wary of “build your own site” companies, and companies that don’t utilize this practice.  This is how it works.  This is where it’s going to continue to go.

 

If you want additional reading on this subject, check out this article by MediaPost. To see the benefits of each social network to help you choose what’s best for you, see a recent post from us that breaks it all down. It’s pretty fascinating stuff!

Twitter for Service Companies

Twitter is one of those social platforms that garners a lot of discussion on its importance in the pool and spa industry. Before we get into our take, let’s discuss some of Twitter’s value, especially for service companies.

Be the expert that you are.

Twitter allows you to offer tips and to address common maintenance issues in 140 characters or less (and more, but readers have to click to expand the message and may not always do that).  When your potential customers are performing their research on which company to choose, your Twitter account can appear in the search results showing your informational and knowledgeable tweets. This can help establish your brand as the expert in your service area.

Build relationships with your customers.

Once you have solidified a customer, ask them to follow you on Twitter. By doing so, you can let your customer know that you will always be there for them.  Also by following you on Twitter, they can learn some tips on how to take care of their pool.  At first, you might think, “Well, then they won’t need me,” but that’s not the case.  They hired you for a reason, didn’t they? Instead, most customers will appreciate that you care more about them having a clean, safe pool than money. That helps create a positive brand image for your company, helps to build a strong customer relationship and can create word of mouth marketing among your customer’s network.

Allow your customers to communicate with you how they want to communicate.

Not everyone who calls your service department or company has a 911 issue, do they? Sometimes they’re calling for more information, or a basic question that they need your help with.  Make life easier on them by communicating with them where they’re already spending their time.  Make them comfortable and make yourself easily accessible.

Respond to timely issues.

Some of the best parts about social media are its metrics and social listening tools. Through programs like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, you can learn what your customers are saying about you, and respond.

Twitter allows your service company to be human.  When someone is upset, turn the situation around by resolving their issue.  As Ben Parr, from Mashable, states, “Great customer service gets talked about, and this can lead to more sales and more attention.”

Use your voice.

With the eruption of social media and social consumption, customers have a voice. That also means that YOU have a voice.  This can offer instant PR support in times of trouble.

For example, you most likely heard about the latest Alec Baldwin fiasco on board an American Airlines aircraft.  As soon as he was scolded for playing “Words with Friends” on his mobile device after the seat belt sign was on and electronics were supposed to be turned off, he got upset and was removed from the plane. He then took the Twitter to complain and low blow American Airlines’ financial situation.

What did American Airlines do? Did they send out a press release? Did they make a statement at a press conference? No! They responded on the same medium Alec Baldwin used (and Facebook), and ultimately got the last line.

American Airlines won in this instance, but that’s not always the case. We recommend any time you have negativity to respond to, you cool down and perhaps check with your marketing agency on the proper way to handle your unique situation.

Is Twitter for everyone?

To be perfectly honest, we don’t think every company on the planet should have Twitter. You should strongly consider whether you have the resources to tend to an account and if it makes sense for your company to have one.  For the pool industry, it’s a match made in heaven for service companies and builders with a service department to utilize Twitter for support.

Plus, with the introduction of Brand Pages on Twitter, you will be able to customize your customer’s experience even more!

 

How Do You Go “Viral”?

We’ve all heard the term “viral,” whether you’re talking about a famous YouTube video (Rebecca Black’s “Friday” ring a bell?) or a social media contest that takes off.  We all want it, but how do you achieve it?

Is your content worthy of being shared?  Do you have a large enough network to encourage social sharing (see why each social network is important and what each can do for you here)?  Going “viral” doesn’t just happen.  You need to put in the groundwork and fully understand your network.  Check out this infographic from Digital Buzz that easily explains the definition of “viral,” and tips to get there! And remember, we have the tools to help!

Case Study: Platinum Pools’ Facebook Success

Can you imagine having over 1,600 Facebook fans, i.e. leads? Today we’re going to examine Platinum Pools’ excellent use of Facebook marketing. To help shed some light on how Facebook can be an effective tool, we’ll focus on branding, engagement and interaction.

Branding

First, let’s take a look at their custom Welcome page.  What is a Welcome page? It’s a custom, designed doormat for a business page where a business can essentially brand themselves and deliver any communication message they want.  You can do more than one custom tab page too, but let’s focus on the Welcome page for now. Take a gander!

One of the first things you see is the cute, little boy peeking over the graphic. Endearing, isn’t it? Pool moms LOVE this.

You’ll also see a mini-website navigation menu.  These menu items link to the real web page on the site to help drive traffic where they want. There is also an instruction to “like” the page for updates.  This helps in keeping Platinum Pools top of mind all year round because it will add them to their fans’ daily news feed.

Below the navigation menu, you’ll see an “About Us” write-up to help communicate their branding, an invitation to join their interactive community, or their blog, some quick links to their photo galleries and a giant map of their service area.

Ask yourself, what question didn’t they answer with the branded Welcome page? We sure can’t think of any. A potential consumer knows or has access to any piece of information they’re looking for, all within a few clicks from Facebook.  They never had to step foot on their website to access this information.  They found it all within Facebook.  Click here to view some more of our custom, designed Facebook pages.

Engagement

What do we mean when we say “engagement?” Take a look at Platinum Pools’ Facebook wall, and then we’ll discuss.

CPR classes, school forums, relevant articles and October contests….it’s all engagement! Every single post on their wall has meaning and value for their fans.

If you want fans but can’t figure out how to get any, first you need to take a step back and think about whether you’re offering anything worth looking at or interacting with on your page.

  • If every post you write is about yourself, there’s a red flag.
  • If you post once every four months, there’s a red flag.
  • If you post grammatically incorrect updates, there’s a red flag.
Your content needs to be relevant and consistent.  If you want to be known as a service expert, post tips on how the maintain a pool.  If you want to be family-friendly, like Platinum Pools, post content that a pool mom would be interested in that is backyard-centered.

Interaction

Facebook isn’t just for talking at your fans.  Facebook is for talking with your fans.  Take a look at how Platinum Pools connected with one of its customers:

Interacting with your fans can further your branding efforts and transform your business away from just another name in the phone book.  Your business can now become likable, literally.

Your fan interaction can also help position you as an industry leader.  Share your pool knowledge and let your business come across as helpful and honest.

We at the Pool Marketing Site LOVE Facebook marketing and appreciate the opportunity to work with you even more.  Please let us know if you need help or guidance in this process, and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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