Facebook for small business: West Acres design contest succeeds, thanks to social media


Tip: Without a fabulously engaged Facebook page already in place, this successful campaign would never have been possible.

In July 2010, West Acres mall created a Facebook page. Less than a year later, a call for entries in a design contest proved that the time and energy used to build an engaged group of fans through awareness advertising, contests, and good, frequent content truly paid off.

To celebrate Earth Day, West Acres invited all designers with a passion for green fashion to participate in the first ever Design Green, Win Green Contest. The rules were to design any fashion item using only recycled materials. The most creative and fashionable concepts would win prizes, including a $1,000 grand prize Mall Card and up to $300 Mall Cards for runners-up.

Beyond sharing the contest and event details on Facebook, West Acres emailed local colleges to invite students, targeting those interested in fashion and design. They also used in-mall promotional signage.

Runway-worthy media attention

West Acres Passion for Green Fashion Contest

Nearly two dozen talented designers participated, and the entries were displayed in the mall during Earth Week. After the judging panel selected the top five designers, West Acres invited them to a special awards ceremony, where they were honored and awarded their prizes. The event also drew impressive local media attention, including offline print and broadcast coverage.

Watch a recap of the contest:

Blurring the lines

This contest never would have been as successful without an active, engaged Facebook page already in place. Creating a small business Facebook page the week before wouldn’t have done the trick. Good Facebook pages take time and energy, fresh thinking and conversation building. West Acres accomplished this over an eight-month timeframe, and continues to build connections with customers on Facebook.

The direct ROI of social media can sometimes be hard to prove, but the West Acres design contest is a perfect example of how nontraditional marketing tactics can blur into traditional results. By fashionably using social media, West Acres Shopping Center was able to spread awareness on an extremely low budget.

How have you colored outside the traditional lines in your marketing tactics? Have you ever seen online tactics garner offline results?

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