Today, email marketing company Constant Contact  announced its newest social media marketing product, Social Campaigns.  Designed with the small business owner in mind, Social Campaigns will help companies grow their fan base on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as drive engagement.
The Problem Constant Contact Wants to Solve
I’m not sure why, but a lot of small business owners are intimidated by the “technical factor” of social media. (It’s not really all that complicated, but it’s perceived that way) More small businesses would use the more advanced features of Facebook if they knew how. And then knowing what to do with followers and fans also presents a conundrum.
Their Proposed Solution
Constant Contact, which serves an estimated 450,000 small businesses according to SeekingAlpha , intends this product for small businesses that are frustrated by the return on investment of their social media efforts. This is from Constant Contact’s recent press release:
“Constant Contact’s Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey showed a significant increase in social media adoption as more and more small businesses find it to be low cost and easy to use. However, few can point to real business success from their investment.”
What The Product Does
The core of the offering is a tool to create Facebook customized landing pages, that are integrated with other social media and the Constant Contact email system. Using the tool you can run “Liked-gated” Facebook campaigns.
If you’ve ever been jealous of customized Facebook tabs you see other businesses using, but don’t feel tech-savvy enough to create one, this product will help you. There are different campaign templates you can customize, including Coupon, Product Showcase, Downloadable Content, Video, Event, and Fundraiser. When a visitor goes to your company’s Facebook page, she’ll land on this page.
Mark Schmulen, General Manager of Social Media at Constant Contact explains:
“The user can choose to “like-gate” their campaign, an option that requires the participants to first “like” the user’s Facebook page before being able to participant in the campaign.”
Once your campaign is set up, you can post updates to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter directly from your Constant Contact account (a feature that sounds similar HootSuite, SocialOomph or other social media aggregators). You can also send email invites to drive traffic to your social media campaign. There’s also a reporting feature that helps business owners see how many fans they connected to, and how many participated in the campaign.
Let’s Talk Pricing
I’m sure you’re all wondering what this will cost. Constant Contact says more details on pricing will be available in the new year, but to start, every user gets one free campaign. And any campaign with 100 or fewer fans will be free forever. (Although, I guess if the program is worth its salt, you should have many more fans, right? So you will end up paying if Constant Contact does its job!) After 100 fans, pricing will be tier-based, depending on your number of fans.
Social Campaigns will have free, live customer coaching and technical support to all users (even the free accounts).
Right now, Social Campaigns is only available by private invitation, but it will be rolled out to the general public early in 2012. Be one of the first to use it by going here .