The power of FREE, SEXY and FUN: Creating social media contests that work
Having a profile for your business on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Meetup, ByzHub, etc. is great, but it is not enough. Truth is without friends, fans, and followers you would only be talking to yourself. So how can you convince people who might not know about your business to visit your pages and follow you on social media? One easy and proven way to get “ears” that will listen to your business news is to create social media contests. The good news for your budget is that a social media contest does not need to provide expensive prizes to the winners to be popular, the fun can be as much in participating as it is in winning if you are creative. Think fun, think bold and think sexy; it has worked for these businesses and it will work for you!
1. Pepsi Refresh Project: FREE
This is a great example of harnessing the will of people to feel good by doing good and talking about it. It also shows that people don’t always participate in social media contests for selfish reasons.
What it is: Pepsi created an interactive blog where people and organizations can share about their charitable project ideas and compete to win as much support from blog visitors as possible. The people or organizations with the most votes within their budget category would then get a grant from Pepsi (between $5000 and $250,000) to make their project come to life.
Smart move: You cannot just like the actual “Pepsi Refresh Project” on Facebook, you have to like “Pepsi” in order to get news about the charitable activities of Pepsi and interact with the grant winners.
They also make it easy for people to connect as a voter via Facebook and for voters to share who they voted for via the Social Media. Who wouldn’t want to share their support for charitable activities?
Could do better: The design of the Pepsi Facebook Page. With a Budget like Pepsi you would think they would find a way to personalize their page.
2. American Apparel’s best bottom: SEXY
They are the perfect example of how creating a sexy contest can really get the word to spread out fast about the contest and about the brand.
What it is: In order to promote their new line of underwear American Apparel decided to launch a global call to find the best bottom in the world. People (men and women) were asked to submit a picture of their behind (wearing panties) and the general public was asked to vote on the pictures on their website. The winner would get to be the “face” behind their new campaign with a free trip to LA and a professional photoshoot. That’s what I call crowd-sourcing!
Smart move: Before officially launching the campaign they already started the buzz by sending press releases to key online and offline fashion magazines and to influential bloggers.
Could do better: They mentioned and promoted their contest on Facebook and Twitter but could have been further by asking people to post pictures directly to their Facebook page and Twitter weekly about the highest rating bottom of the week with a direct link. This would have made this contest a real social media contest.
3. Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar’ contest for the best contest idea: FUN
Ok, this might not be the most fun social media contest of the year, but you gotta give this Vancouver-based company kudos for crowd-sourcing to the extreme.
What it is: This local Vancouver restaurant and bar is using the power of Twitter to not only get more followers but also to get ideas for their next social media campaign. The idea is simple: Twitter users have 14 days to tweet them their best contest ideas for a chance to win a $100 gift card.
Smart move: Just doing it.
Could do better: It would be even more fun if they could help their followers get inspiration by sharing their favourite contests by other companies. They could also mention what kind of contest they were thinking about (serious, fun, crazy, etc.).
4. Mary Kay “Your Way to Beautiful” makeover contest: Sexy
That’s a contest that does a great job at being consistent with the brand image and even improving it. This contest is also great because it goes beyond creating virtual social media connections into getting contestants to actually connect with local Mary Kay consultants in Vancouver.
What it is: The first step for all contestants is to meet with a Mary Kay consultant for their first free colour (makeup) makeover. The consultant, or friends, will take pictures before and after the makeover and upload it on the Mary Kay website. All contestants are encouraged to send their friends from Facebook and Twitter to vote for them on the page and to post their pictures on the social media too. The winners get dream vacations to sunny destinations.
Smart move: No purchases are necessary but meeting a Mary Kay consultant is. All Mary Kay consultants were out on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. to talk about the contest.
Could do better: What about allowing people to also post the pictures on the Facebook page? It would also be great to partner with another brand for the prizes in order to save money.
5. Celebrate Parks Video Contest: Free
An example of how a smart partnership can allow a business to offer winners a prize that is literally priceless.
What it is: Contestants are asked to create a short video about one of Canada’s National Parks to show the world why this park is amazing. The videos will be posted on YouTube and people will get to vote on them. The winners not only get physical prizes such as an adventure trip and mountain sports equipments by partner companies, but the best video will also be screened at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival!
Smart move: Getting the interest of young professional documentary film makers by offering them the chance to have their work showcased at a world-class festival.
Could be better: I did not hear much about it in the local news and blogs. This contest could benefit from some publicity.
6. An idea worth exploring: FUN
Contests are even more fun in real life! Consider using Meetup to promote a real life contest or fundraising event and using contests/fundraising events to promote your Meetup group.
What it is: It’s even harder to get real “friends” than virtual “friends”, but Meetup is here to help connecting your online network to the real world. But how to incite people from your Meetup group to actually come to the event your are organizing and promoting?
Smart move: Give your Meetup group members the chance to win prizes when they come, or by giving them the chance to help a charity by coming. When it comes to the contest, be creative, it could be a contest of the best tie (or hat for girls) or the best business card, or prize tickets hidden in helium-filled balloons that contestants need to pop…the more fun, the more buzz you will get about your Meetup, your company (and the one of your partners) and your brand.
Could be better: To make the social media contest even more social, network and partner with other businesses to be able to provide a greater choice of prizes or auction items. If your company is a B2B, then consider offering prizes that are relevant to the businesses coming to the event. What about the chance to win a free consulting session, one month with a business coach or a social media marketing course? In the same way, those would make great auction items to raise funds for the charity of your choice.
Got a better idea? Leave it in the comments below and you can win 1 of 3 prizes!
1) A seat in my next Social Media Workshop (October 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th) $500 value
2) Custom iVatar By 2QCreations and Steven Lin $150 value
3) $25 Amazon Gift Card
Contest closes October 4th! Winners are selected by best idea voted by ME :)