Social media contests-inexpensive marketing at it's best?

Recently we’ve seen a lot more games and contests on Twitter vying for attention. A couple I’ve been involved in, the Social Media Trivia Quiz for Composica and Twickets for the Pinot Wine Summit, were quite successful at building visibility quickly and fun to boot. Social media seems to be populated with legions of games that promote and entertain at the same time. Why not? We’re here at least in part to have fun right?

This post on Social Signal showed up in my RSS feeds the other day and Alexandra shares some really good tips for how you can reap the rewards of our need to play without spending big bucks to do it. She uses Twitter as an example, but there are lots of other social media tools that can be effective to get the word out and engage current and new users.

  • ForRent.com is running a video contest right now called “Ready2Move“. win $10,000 for telling the story of why YOU need to move.
  • Opera (the browser) ran a contest to build their following called Facebook on Speed Dial and gained 600 new members for the price of a few stickers and t-shirts.
  • Beyond contests, some companies have had success with Twitter coupons, like the ones sent by twtQpon.

Not all contests go as planned. Molson ran a Facebook contest asking users to send pictures of themselves partying it up with Molson. Um, dumb idea? It became apparent pretty quickly that people reveal a bit too much about themselves on Facebook on occasion (oopsie), and the campaign was pulled.

So, what have you got to promote? How can I help you with that?

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  • Thanks for mentioning Alex's post – it's amazing how quickly and easily you can mount a successful contest. For us, part of the key was to ensure there was an underlying value to the contest entries (in our case, helping to spread practical tips about running, yes, contests on Twitter!) — it contributes something to the conversation, and at a practical level, it helps avoid blowback from people who might accuse you of spam.

    There are now several turn-key social media contest platforms – our fellow Vancouverites Strutta, for one – to make the technical equation easy to solve. The challenge these days is to come up with a compelling concept that enhances your brand and expands your reach… while preserving or even enhancing your reputation as a good social media citizen.

  • I think social media (and probably Twitter in particular) is the perfect medium for this kind of approach.

    People like to feel involved with the businesses or products/services they're dealing with, and aren't we all saying that a lot of social media boils down to the interaction and conversation?

    So if people can get something for interacting, I can see why it's such a huge success.

    We've used this approach pretty well for our 12for12k Challenge, for both our charity TweetaThon and virtual pajama party. Both offered cool prizes for donating $12, and both raised $13,000 in 12 hours and $1,000 in 3 hours respectively.

    I can definitely see this kind of marketing/advertising continuing.

  • Thanks for the link to Strutta, very interesting.(link was broken but here's a link http://www.strutta.com/ ) I love that people are embracing these smaller bites and realizing you don't have to award huge prizes or accept only large donations to be effective.

  • Thanks for the link to Strutta, very interesting.(link was broken but here's a link http://www.strutta.com/ ) I love that people are embracing these smaller bites and realizing you don't have to award huge prizes or accept only large donations to be effective.

  • Thanks Danny, I've been watching 12 for 12K and how successful it's been. One question I get from a lot of people thinking about fund-raising with social media is: How much does the popularity (i.e number of followers) of the people running the campaign have to do with it? For a non-profit for example, just getting into social media has a shorter arm than an established social media rackstar.

  • While the follower amount can offer some help, I think it's more down to the story. If the non-profit has a story that people can relate to, it will find more support.

    I don't consider myself to be one of the social media rockstars so I definitely feel a lot of our success has boiled down to the charities we've been involved with and the human angle. If someone can't relate to why we need to be helping hungry kids, or preventing children from being sexually abused, then I don't think that person would relate to many things.

    Again, it also comes down to the interaction. We encourage our supporters to help us choose the charities we support, so as not to come across as just broadcasting who we want to support. Being "involved", as your post attests to, is a definite pro for anyone.

  • I've been running a contest with two chances to win $500 in promotional products. I've only got a few days left, and I haven't had much response (especially on Twitter).. Any ideas?

    I am really stuck on how to promote it, and nothing I've done has worked. Trying to scramble the last few days here to get some interest.

    Contest details here: http://blog.powertexgroup.com

  • Hmm, It's pretty hard to run this kind of contest when you don't have many followers on either network to start with. How else are you promoting it? Have you sent it out to your email list to get them to sign on? Shared details with clients or asked co-workers to help spread the news on their networks? At least them you'd have an opportunity to reach them and their networks.

    In addition your Twitter presence is very new and most of the posts are promotional so you might start thinking of other ways to engage the user base you want to attract. Do some blog and Twitter surfing to find people who need your products and are blogging about things you can discuss. You don't have to agree with them, the point is to add value to the conversation.
    Then they look at your profile and ohhh! there's a contest!

  • I liked your article very useful to me. I will come back and read the article again.
    More info on the web site long nightgown

  • I think social media (and probably Twitter in particular) is the perfect medium for this kind of approach.

  • gregmelton

    I guess the trick is to be clever with your contest. It definitely helps if you have an existing network to help leverage the promotion efforts.

    We launched into beta last week a platform for creating online contests. You may also be interested in visiting http://skril.com.

    The service is currently free and there are no limits to the number of entries and/or the duration of the contest. We also verify email addresses from entrants.

    Contest organizers can setup a contest which allows entrants to login via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Friend Connect, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Digg, or FriendFeed OAuth.

    Please share some feedback with us. Would love to hear it!

  • gregmelton

    I guess the trick is to be clever with your contest. It definitely helps if you have an existing network to help leverage the promotion efforts.

    We launched into beta last week a platform for creating online contests. You may also be interested in visiting http://skril.com.

    The service is currently free and there are no limits to the number of entries and/or the duration of the contest. We also verify email addresses from entrants.

    Contest organizers can setup a contest which allows entrants to login via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Friend Connect, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Digg, or FriendFeed OAuth.

    Please share some feedback with us. Would love to hear it!

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