Our first social media-based ticket give-away contest proves successful

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Let’s do a social media promotion, suggested the intern.

I don’t like social media promotions. It doesn’t work down here. People still like to read the newspaper, I replied.

It will help increase readership. Let’s give away some Schlitterbahn tickets, she insisted. “I’ll do everything. You won’t have to do anything.”

I waste way too much time on Facebook because I really like reading people’s comments and looking at their baby, vacation and pet photos. But I have never been too enthusiastic about doing a free ticket giveaway contest through Facebook and whatever other medium she had in mind.

O.K., as long as I don’t have to do anything. Do whatever you like, I said.

This is no ordinary intern. Her name is Stephanie, and she is my daughter. She is finishing her college degree after managing stores for six years, and she needed an internship for her last semester.

I suggested that she do one with us. “You can do whatever you want. You can sell, write or promote.”
In other words, the internship is self-driven.

After considering other internship offers from other businesses, she chose us, and went to work selling ads and planning promotions.

We have an easy-going environment most of the time. On occasion, problems flare up, and we have to put out some fires, but for the most part, working conditions around here are very pleasant.

“You won’t have to commute much unless you’re coming here to make some contacts,” I said. “You can work from home. We do.”

We had a location in Lake Jackson, but we soon realized that it stayed mostly empty while we worked out of the house. It was much more convenient than driving to work. Our intern had to to get used to commuting from her kitchen, after making coffee, to the office in her home.

There are some pitfalls to this, because it is also really easy to do nothing. Home office set-ups require a lot of self-descipline. I have been doing it since 1983, when the Houston Chronicle hired me to cover Brazoria County and assigned me to my apartment in Clute.

So, commuting to work everyday is not one of my strong points.

College kids, if you need an internship, and your field is related to communications or marketing, The Bulletin may be for you. Or, maybe not. Working autonomously is not always the best choice, so this is not for everyone.

But back to the social media promotion. I let Stephanie handle the whole thing. The response was good, much better than what was expected. I took out a Facebook ad to help push it, but the generic views way surpassed the paid views.

“I told you that you didn’t need to pay for an ad,” she said.

The Schlitterbahn ticket giveaway promotion is our biggest of the year, and it just got a lot bigger. The social media contest is over, and the winners have been selected, but another contest is being planned.

For those of you who are like me, and prefer the paper version of The Bulletin, we’ll do it again, this time requiring you to enter the old-fashioned way - cut out the entry form and mail it to us.

So, pick up a copy weekly, because while the social media part is over, the annual big Schlitterbahn ticket giveaway in the paper is still coming.

And, congratulations to our intern. May you do as well wherever you go as you did here. It’s been a pleasure to have you work for us this semester.