The Date: It’s summer 2008, Miles home, we are sitting around the pool trying to figure out how to market our new little EBay business with NO Money. Our goal is to make $1,000 a month, and we’re doing it, but we need more marketing fast. The question:
Could A Social Media Contest Make A Difference?”
Back then we didn’t know the answer. Now we do. We are a thriving small business with sales in the six figures and growing at an annualized growth rate of 300% per year, (which we’ve achieved for the last several years in a row).
There is NO DOUBT Social Contests are an easy way to grow your online influence – if you do them right. How do we know? That year, 2008, we launched our first Youtube Design Contest. [You can see a collection of all our contest videos here.] Our latest contest in Youtube had 52,000 views, and over 2,400 video entries, (that number is now down to 1,400 as people tend to take their entries down after a contest in Youtube). You can see it here.
Fast forward 3 1/2 years later. We have a social media presence that is WAY bigger than most businesses our size, in fact, our social media influence is bigger than a lot of big businesses – even Fortune 500 businesses. Our numbers?
Our Facebook Fanpage: 13,752 Fans.
Our Youtube Channel: 7,500 Subscribers. Over 1.1 Million Video Views.
Our Pinterest Profile: 1,174 Followers
And these numbers mean, at a practical level with prospects, that they think we are bigger than we are – and treat us like a real business – which is awesome.Enough said about our credibility.
So what are our keys to general social media contest success?
Here’s our list of tips. And, I’ll apply these to Pinterest in a moment…
- Obsess over the prize. Find a prize that your customers CANNOT BUY or secure on their own. A Prize that uniquely demonstrates your unique talents. If you give away a $100 gift card – your contest sucks. Your prize is the magnet. Make it insanely good.
- Make it simple. Do not complexificationize a simple thing. It makes you look dumb. Make entering easy.
- Make winning the prize a reward for incredibly hard work. You want the entering easy, and winning the reward a result of very hard work. How do you do that? A Skills Based Contest is By-Far the best way to challenge people to win your crazy cool prize. And if the prize is right, the workers will show up – and work hard to win. A Skills Based Contest is where you make them create something.
- Make them create something that promotes, and advertises YOUR Brand! The problem with some contests is that they simply reward easy activities – and hope that a lot of people will do the easy activity and be mildly exposed to your brand. That’s not smart. Instead – make them work really hard crafting something that expresses their love for your brand. They will bond with you intensely.
- Engineer their social sharing as part of the contest entry. If entering is NOT social, then why do a contest on a social media platform? Have them enter by sharing their creation with their social network.
- Rinse & Repeat. Annualize your contest and it will grow over time. Make sure to reward everyone that participated as much as you can. In social media – people want attention – and recognition – and you can provide that as you announce the winner. Have a “Top 10 Entries” or a “Top 50”. There is no cost to doing that and it gives lots of people a warm fuzzy feeling.
Okay, so you’re asking, how are we going to apply this to Pinterest?
It’s a good question. And unfortunately it’s 6:21 am and I have to run off to work. Sorry to leave you hanging if you’re reading this today, April 18th, but I’ll have to make this blog post 2 entries and finish the rest tomorrow. I realize it’s mean, please don’t hate me. I’m just trying to blog as I can…
Hey, don’t forget to…