How to win business awards: when good isn’t good enoughMarch 11, 2020
Three practical steps to help with award entriesAugust 24, 2020
You’ve spent days pulling together an award entry that you’re confident will hit the mark with the judging panel. And, while you won’t yet know whether you’ll take home the trophy, there’s one place you can turn that hard work into a win for your brand – by sharing all those award-worthy stories with your customers direct – via social media.
Perhaps you’ve never considered it before because awards writing tends to happen away from the public gaze, but your award submissions should be an absolute goldmine of nuggets worth shouting about. What’s more, as word of mouth is still the most trusted level of recommendation, every one of your followers can be a micro-influencer if your content makes the right connection.
And the best bit? You’ve done the hard part already – identifying the highlights of your business. What’s more, once you’re used to it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to start folding your awards work into your social media and marketing strategies in the future.
So, to give you a kick start we’ve pulled together a short guide to using your award entry content on social media – so you see the benefit whatever the outcome on the night.
Know your social media audiences
First things first, think back to how you’re using awards as part of your marketing strategy (see here for more on that). What are your social media followers going to make of your award submission? Will they be delighted because it’s an industry endorsement of your core business? Or are they not going to care much about you being shortlisted for a marketing prize because you’re a care agency?
Cherry-pick your awards content highlights
Have a look back through your award submission. Which are the stand-out elements that make you feel proud of what you and your team have achieved? That’s where to start. These could come in a variety of different guises:
Facts and figures
Think about how your business, product or service changed people’s lives, and which facts and figures show that. Remember it’s about what your audience is interested in, not the bits you want to shout about. A B2B audience on LinkedIn might love hearing about what you did to increase profits by 152% but that might leave your customer-facing channels feeling cold.
If, however, 100% of your clients say they’d recommend you, that’s a fantastic endorsement to get sharing. That leads to…
People are hard-wired for stories, and stories with emotion will cut straight through to the bit of them that makes them hit the retweet button. Case studies are people story gold dust. Use them! And finally:
It could be that one image of someone really in love with your product, a really slick diagram showing what makes your business unique, or a brilliant visualisation of some numbers. Whatever it is, it’s worth remembering that 65 per cent of the population have a preference for taking in information through visual means so don’t discount images and diagrams in your trawl for stand-out content.
Make your awards content social media friendly
Once you’ve got your list of content that your audience will care about – and, hopefully, love – you need to edit them into social media-friendly snippets.
You could lift an infographic directly from your documentation, or just take the most relevant bit from it.
Take the one-line from your strongest case study and lay it on a coloured background with your logo. Add a positive, smiling image of the person quoted and you have a very powerful human story asset.
Or make a big statement. If your company planted enough trees to create a forest the size of two football pitches, say so. In the accompanying caption, explain how this happened, why you did it, and what you want to do next.
Above all, remember your tone of voice, and make it fun and interesting. The better your posts make people feel, the more likely they are to share it.
Choose your social channels
In the same way that we like to go to different shops to get different kinds of items, each social network offers a unique selling point which attracts different people to it. A pithy one-liner on Twitter is simply not going to cut it on Instagram, for example; and a blog on LinkedIn is not going to go down well on Twitter.
Hopefully you’ll already have a good understanding of who you can find in your various follower lists across your company’s social media presence, and now is the time to use that knowledge to tailor your content for each audience.
In a nutshell, LinkedIn is a B2B peer group, so is a great place to show off more niche or back-room award content and nominations. Facebook is a great medium for reaching the 45+ age group who love to share emotive success stories. Instagram is a perfect visual platform for retail products and experiences. And finally, Twitter is a great place to be ‘here and now’ with your customers and clients. It’s the easiest platform to share and engage with, and so you can reach a lot of new timelines if you strike the right tone.
Always link back
Wherever possible, lead your audience back to you. Share the amazing snippets, facts and stories; include a short message to say how your business helps others; then add a link back to your product page or the about us page on your website.
Not only does this lead people deeper into your story and into your conversion funnel, but seeing which social media platforms have referred the most traffic to your site will give you valuable information about which content works best for each platform.
So there you have it, a whistle-stop tour of how to make your award entries win on social media. Cherry-pick the content and tailor it for each audience and platform, link back to your website and pace yourself between now and the big award reveal.
Read part two of this series to find out what to do when it’s announced you’re on the shortlist and why getting your social media plan ready should be as much a part of your preparations as picking the perfect outfit!