Contests are a proven marketing tool. In Tacoma, Wash., independent tire dealer Scott Welsh is using social media to breathe new life into the traditional contest. His goal is to engage customers and help local charities.
Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma is sponsoring a video contest called "Repair My Ride!" The contest is open to all Western Washington area residents 18 years of age and older. The winner will receive $1000 in automotive service, repairs and maintenance.
"The contest is designed to help both the winner and community charitable organizations," says Welsh, who owns a 5,000-square-foot, eight-bay shop. He has eight employees. Welsh founded Scott and Suz Inc., which does business as Courtesy Auto Service and Tire of Tacoma, in 2004.
For each of the first 100 videos submitted, Courtesy will donate $10 to Dream Missions and Tacoma Rescue Mission, and the entrant will receive a $10 Courtesy Auto Service gift card.
"Entering is simple," says Welsh. "All the person needs to do is make a short 30-second to two-minute video that clearly states why they think they deserve to win. You can nominate yourself or someone else, like someone that could use the assistance in Auto Repair. Be as original and creative as possible, and that's all there is to it."
The winning entry will be chosen by a panel of three independent local judges. The judges are Ryan Mello, deputy mayor of Tacoma, Mike Johnson, executive director of Tacoma Rescue Mission, and Dr. Jeff Stewart, CEO and founder of Dream Missions.
The Tacoma Rescue Mission provides emergency services to the homeless, offers self-sufficiency programs to move people out of poverty and break addictions, and supports prevention programs.
Dream Missions provides care and necessities for children living in orphanages around the world.
"I just want to encourage as many folks as possible to send in a video," Welsh says. "The more people who participate, the more fun the contest will be, and the more we'll be able to help those local charities. The community aspect is the whole reason we're doing this, and I'm excited to see how creative everyone can be with their videos."
In return for the chance to win a prize, consumers are sharing their information, giving Welsh an opportunity to learn more about their automotive needs and establish a connection with his shop and the Courtesy brand. Social media contests are just one part of Welsh’s promotional plans.
“I have a heavy web presence. SEO (search engine optimization) efforts pay off. I use email marketing heavily. Social media, too,” says Welsh.
A marketing automation company helps him keep his Facebook and Twitter accounts fresh and current. A North Carolina-based web design firm creates, designs and promotes his ads via Facebook advertising. The firm has helped with many promotions, managing lists, auto-responders, and more as well as providing other services related to web design and SEO.
“For the most part I do it myself though and call for assistance when I need it. My charitable organizations on this promotion have skin in the game to get donations. Therefore, they will utilize their media contacts, web marketing and social media to engage their contacts to be aware of the promotion as well,” says Welsh.
His inspiration for the Repair My Ride contest was Atlantic Tire & Service, a dealership headquartered in Cary, N.C., with outlets in Durham and Raleigh.
“I liked what they did with a similar idea. I thought that I would try to make a community event with it with additional transparency and additional help to local charitable partners. It’s a win, win for everyone.”