If you're planning to buy or lease a new Toyota before January 3, 2012, listen up, because Toyota is offering you the chance to nab up to $1,000 through its annual "Shareathon" promotion.
Shareathon is part of Toyota's year-end sales event, better known as Toyotathon. Here's how the promo works:
1. Find the Toyota you want to purchase or lease. The Shareathon deal is no good unless you actually drive off the lot in a new car.
2. Sign up for Twitter. That's the social networking site that Toyota uses for the Shareathon, so you'll need a Twitter account to cash in on the deal.
3. Visit Toyota.com/shareathon and register for one of 140 Shareathon certificates that Toyota makes available each day. They go fast, so if you miss the mark, you'll have to try the following day. Toyota releases a new batch every day at 11:00am ET, through December 21.
4. Send out Toyota's pre-written tweet from the Shareathon website: "If I get my new Toyota during Toyotathon they’ll give me $500 just for this Tweet. http://buyatoyota.com @Toyota #shareathon."
5. Get your followers on Twitter to re-tweet that message as often as possible over the next 48 hours.
6. Buy or lease your new Toyota by January 3.
7. Submit the code from your Shareathon certificate to Toyota, along with the VIN of your new vehicle by January 31, 2012.
Toyota promises to reward everyone who follows those seven steps. At a minimum, Shareathon participants will get a $500 debit card, with an additional $50 tacked on for each retweet (see item #5). For complete rules and conditions, you're welcome to slog through the legalese.
In the end, Toyota's Shareathon is really just a cash-back promotion -- one that gets shoppers to do a little marketing on Toyota's behalf by spreading the automaker's name across social networks. Still, there's something to be said for wrapping game elements into a promo. And it must be working, since this is the Shareathon's second time out of the gate.
Got a moment or two? Have a look at this video, which explains the Shareathon in under than a minute: