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This post is about how to leverage social media to get tons of links and buzz about your product or service. As an example of one of the best ways to do this, let’s talk about Mac & Cheese, you know, from Kraft. I recently saw a contest where Kraft was giving away a years supply of Mac & Cheese, and they were promoting this contest through a couple of different blogs. One blog in particular, used one of the best tactics I’ve ever seen to spread the word about the contest. What was the tactic, you ask? The blogger made the requirements for entering the contest one big link building request. The owner of the blog laid down the following rules (this is a direct quote from her blog):

Follow me on Twitter! @Toni_GPB (1 entry per submission)
Tweet about this giveaway! (1 entry per submission)
Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect. (1 entry per submission)
Add this Giveaway to a CURRENT WEEKS Mr. Linky, Blog Carnival, Sweepstakes site, forum, your giveaway list etc. (Leave the link) (1 entry per submission)
Blog about this giveaway (1 entry per submission)
Subscribe to my RSS Feed via EMAIL (1 entry)
Fave me on Technorati (Must leave your Technorati ID) (2 entries)
Stumble this post. (You must leave your Stumble ID) (1 entry)
Fave my site on Mom Faves (You must leave your registration ID) (2 entries)
Vote for me as the Best Shopping Blog (You must leave your registration ID) (2 entries)

I checked the blog today, and it has almost 500 entries (comments) since May 18, 2009, the date the contest began. Although Yahoo site Explorer is only showing 11 links to this individual page, there are probably a lot more that haven’t been indexed yet, as the post is less than a month old. What good does this do for Kraft? There is a principle that applies here: the more your brand is talked about in a special way online (buzz) the better your sales will be, and the more links you can get to your ‘money’ page.

The BlendTec “Will It Blend” videos are a prime example of this principle. BlendTec got people talking about their brand because they used their blender to blend up anything they could lay their hands on (like ipods, skis, glowsticks), and put the videos on YouTube. The videos demonstrated the quality of the product, provided entertainment value, and inspired others to copy the videos. The videos “went viral” and resulted in a 500 percent increase in revenue for their consumer model of blender.

The same goes for Kraft’s contest. The more people who enter the contest, the more the word spreads (because to enter, you have to share the contest with your friends on social sites). Eventually it takes on a life of its own, and you get people like me (who happened to enter the contest as well) blogging about it naturally because, hey; it’s a pretty cool giveaway, and I like Kraft Mac & Cheese, especially since I have kids.

So, the moral of the story: start with something of value (whether it has shock value, entertainment value, or intrinsic value, like free food food or electronics). Incentivize the right people into talking about it on social sites, and the rest will fall into place. The real trick is finding the right group of people who can help you spread the word. You’re not going to get a group of mommy bloggers to buzz about the latest trend in ringtones. You won’t see many techy bloggers writing about the cool new baby clothes that just came out from Baby Gap. If you know your audience and what they want to talk about, by giving them the idea, and letting them run with it, you’ll see an explosion in links, buzz, and sales.