We’re now accepting entries for the 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards. This is our chance to recognize the very best social marketing programs from the past year, and we’d love to give an award to you for your best work. Our deadline for entries is February 20, 2015.

My favorite category is Social Reach Marketing — where we celebrate the best word-of-mouth and social advertising programs. If you used social media to reach new audiences and generated awareness, this is the category for you.

So what’s the key to winning a Forrester Groundswell Award for Social Reach Marketing? It’s not just a question of whether your word-of-mouth program or your social ads reached lots of people — you need to prove your efforts had a business impact on the people they reached.

Our 2014 winners in this category offer perfect examples:

  • B2C Social Reach winner Morningstar Farms increased favorability, trial, and intent to purchase. MorningStar Farms wanted to introduce its meat-free products to new audiences — a classic use case for social reach marketing. So they worked with House Party, Inc. to identify 3,000 influencers and sent them a "party pack" so they could host meat-free barbecues for friends and family. The social activity around the barbecues created a further 29 million impressions that reached 10 million people. But this program didn’t win an award just because it had big reach — it won because that big reach moved people closer to the point of purchase. Specifically, the parties themselves generated 128,000 trials of MorningStar Farms products, and the brand saw a 40-point lift in favorability and purchase intent from partygoers.
  • B2B Social Reach winner Bomgar drove qualified leads. Bomgar offers enterprise-level remote support software — a vital tool for many companies, but not the kind of sexy product that drives a lot of social conversation. So the company decided to tap its existing satisfied customers to reach new audiences and generate new leads. Bomgar launched a textbook advocate activation program, issuing social challenges to its "insiders" to spread the word about the company's offerings, and used gamification to keep advocates motivated. Within months, Bomgar's 600 insiders had completed more than 10,000 challenges — increasing social mentions of the company by 66% and driving hundreds of thousands of additional social impressions. But again, it wasn’t just reach and impressions that won Bomgar its trophy. In this case, Bomgar credited the program with driving almost 350 qualified leads in its first three months. In fact, the program drove so many leads that Bomgar’s sales team became overwhelmed, and the company had to temporarily halt the program while sales followed up on all those prospects!

We hope to see more great B2B and B2C examples of Social Reach Marketing this year — so if your company ran a great word-of-mouth or social ads program in 2014, enter here by February 20, 2015. If you want more details on the awards, you can read the rules and guidelines here, or Forrester clients can read our report about the 2014 winner here.