Video Contests

A great way to engage your customers and fans is to run a user-generated video contest.  An online video contest will encourage your fans to create videos about your brand and products, giving your brand tons of great new video content that can virally spread brand awareness and increase your Facebook audience.  By inviting fans to create video content about your brand you will strengthen the consumer’s connection to your brand and inspire their creativity.  The consumer will feel involved in the process of generating content and will see his/her own work being displayed.  Branded video contests create a positive association with your brand that can be helpful when launching new products and generating awareness.

It is important to motivate users to share with friends and inspire interactive viewing, commenting, and sharing.  A great way to do this is to create a video gallery where fans can view, share, and vote on their favorite videos.

It is also important to consider that creating a video is time consuming and requires a good amount of effort from your fans.  With this in mind it is a good idea to allow an appropriate amount of time for fans to upload entries.  There is often a last minute flood of entries because fans will take their time to come up with an idea and then execute the video.  In order to ensure that these last minute entries are a part of the viewing, sharing, and voting process, you can allow a separate voting period after the contest has stopped receiving entries.

Video contests have the ability to be offered cross-channel on Facebook, a microsite, your own website, and on Youtube. They have become a great way to establish a relationship with your fans while collecting content and information about your fans and consumers.  For more information about video contests contact us today!




How to Use Social Media for Business

Social media has changed the way the world communicates, creating real time interconnectivity between people, businesses, and geographies. As social media continues to grow in popularity, brands are looking for ways to increase their fan base and leverage their social presence to increase sales and brand affinity.

Here are 5 ways to leverage social media for business so that you can maximize your social marketing efforts.

1. Drive Conversations: 

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging your customers and fans in a conversation. Open up two-way communication between your business and your consumers to provide a way to stay connected with your fans and to introduce your brand to those who are less familiar. Interact with your fans and reply to what they have to say. By engaging in conversation, you’ll gain exposure on social channels and increase credibility by getting your customers to refer your brand or talk about their experience with your company.

Everyone has experienced the amazing ability that word-of-mouth has to spread a message instantly and to a large amount of people. Social media does exactly that. It acts as a catalyst of word-of-mouth, making it easy for your fans to recommend your brand to their peers. Social media is a vehicle that allows and encourages your customers to connect and interact with each other, sharing details about your company and products. Statistics show that 53% of active social networkers follow a brand on social media, and 60% of those who use digital methods to research about the products they intend to buy, learned about it on social media sites. Get your fans talking about your brand and you’ll be rewarded with better brand awareness and sales.

2. Get to know your audience better:

Not only is social media a great tool for allowing your audience to get to know you, it is also a way for you to get to know them. Social media can be used as a way to gather consumer research. Many of your fans are using social media as a way to show the world who they are. Observe what information your fans put out there and use that information to get to know them and their expectations in regards to your brand or products. Consumer research can be used in every aspect of your marketing efforts; it is imperative to know who you are marketing to and what they anticipate. By listening to your fans, you’ll have a better understanding of how to be successful marketing to them.

3. Provide customer service:

Before the boom of social media, customers would have to write a letter or call the company’s customer service line if they were unhappy with a product or service. Today, with the growth and pervasiveness of social media, these customer service complaints can be resolved online almost instantly. Customers can access the Internet everywhere and at anytime, therefore making it easier to communicate and receive responses to their questions in a more efficient manner.

Immediate response through social media is the kind of service customers are beginning to expect and demand. This is an example of how social media marketing can help increase brand loyalty and customer retention. If you provide excellent customer service, your customers will be more likely to buy from you in the future.

4. Educate and inspire:

To help build a relationship with your fans, you need to offer them something compelling – an incentive to engage with you. Creating and sharing great content that is relevant to your brand can help build a sense of trust with your audience and keep people interested in following your brand. People are often looking towards brands for information. Determine what type of content your audience responds to by trying out different types of content and experimenting. Think about how your brand fits into your audiences’ lifestyle and try to create and share content that your fans will be excited about. If you are able to educate or inspire your fans, you’ll build affinity, trust, and most importantly keep them interested and engaged with your brand on social media.

When in the process of creating interesting content the most important thing to be thinking about is your target audience. When creating content it is not only about writing, it is important to read what is out there already and what has been getting your audience’s attention. Find out what your audience finds interesting and adapt this so that it works in conjunction with your brand or business.

Another way to create content that is interesting to your audience is to create content that answers their questions. This can help your customer service as well, because you’ll be providing answers to commonly asked questions without having to address each customer individually.

An added benefit of creating great content is that it can help your SEO efforts and drive traffic to your website. By conducting keyword research and determining what your customers are searching for, you can better understand what they are looking for and tailor your content to their needs.

5. Run a promotion:

Promotions such as contests and sweepstakes are a fun and simple way to engage your fans and customers, allowing them to interact with your company. Promotions help create buzz and excitement around your brand, generating awareness and exposure.

When choosing what type of promotion to run, such as a photo or video contest versus a sweepstakes, you should analyze which type of promotion better suits your goals. For example, a photo or video contest is a fun way to get your fans involved and engaged, however this type of promotion requires more time and effort from your customers and fans. This means that while you are engaging fans with your brand or business, you may also receive fewer entries. It is a good idea to invite users to stay involved by allowing them to vote on the best entry. Sweepstakes, on the other hand, have a lower barrier to entry with the only requirement being to enter your email. This allows for more fans to be inclined to enter, but also means there is less engagement.

Both forms of promotions are beneficial in different ways; it depends on what end goal is more important to your marketing efforts. It is possible to run a sweepstakes and a photo contest simultaneously, but you must make sure to do so in a beneficial and smart way. You want to make sure that the two promotions vary enough so that they are not repetitive. An example of this would be to run a weekly trivia sweepstakes with a question and winner of the week, alongside a shorter photo contest.

For your promotion to be a successful marketing tool, it is important to offer prizes that relate to your brand, business, or products. It is often a good idea to offer your own products as the prize; this is a cost effective way to ensure that your customers will try your products and build excitement around your brand. If you are a travel company for example, you could run an effective promotion that offers a free vacation or a free stay at a resort.

Social media continues to grow and evolve. With this in mind, the role social media plays in marketing will continue to transform the relationship between brands or businesses and their audiences. The great thing about social media marketing is that as a marketer you have the ability to transform how social media is utilized. The ideas outlined in this guide can act as a starting point for you to develop a social marketing strategy and plan.


Create A Social Media Marketing Plan

It is worthwhile to create a social media marketing plan to determine your goals and objectives when marketing on social media. Your goals may include expanding your audience, creating engaging content, increasing your brand visibility, or increasing sales.  Whatever your goals may be it is critical to establish a timeline for executing your social promotions and achieving your goals.

Research is an important step in the planning process.  Once you have established your marketing goals, take the time to define your target audience and then find out where they hang out.  What type of social media does your audience gravitate to and what kind of information and content are they responding to. It is also a good idea to research what your fans and customers are saying about your competitors, as well as the dialogue that may already be going on about your own brand or business. It is important to know how your brand or business is perceived in the social media world in order to make improvements and tailor your marketing strategy to fit their needs.

After the research process you should have an even better idea of what your goals should be and how you can make these goals a reality.  At this stage it is important to communicate with those who will be involved in the social media marketing efforts. Designate a team of people who will be accountable for carrying out the promotion.  Make sure everyone in the company has clear line of site to the goals of the campaign and understands their responsibility in achieving these goals.

Once you have done your research and established measurable goals for marketing on social media, it is time to choose which media channels to utilize.  Choose wisely, more is not always better.  It is more important to choose the channels where your target audience is and the ones that will coincide best with your marketing goals.  Remember, being constantly active and timely on social media is one of the most important ways to market successfully.  This becomes more difficult as you add additional channels to your marketing plan.  It is neither practical nor efficient to try to participate in all of them.  So find where your target audience is, choose the best social media channels for your brand or business, and then start the ongoing conversation that is happening now on social media.



Votigo Introduces the Essay Contest

We are excited to announce the launch of our Essay Contest app, a new addition to our list of available promotions.  The essay contest is offered cross-channel and available in 10 languages.  Similar to the process of a photo or video contest, users are encouraged to upload an essay for a chance to win.  The essay contest has a few additional fields under entry, including a title, a space for text, a space to provide a character limit, and an optional space for a video or photo.  The essay contest also allows you to enable a voting option for your users, encouraging them to share their entries with friends on their social channels to get more votes.

The essay contest offers the benefit of maximum engagement from your audience.  Unlike the other contest apps, the essay contest evokes the power of written stories.  The contest can be utilized in many creative ways and can encourage original, user-generated content for your brand.  You can create an essay contest prompting your fans to write about their favorite products or a new idea for your brand.  By adding an essay component you are allowing your fans to provide their own ideas about your brand and to tell short stories about how they use your products.  The essay contest can also be used alongside a photo or video, which gives users a chance to further explain their entry.

It is important to keep in mind that an essay contest is more time consuming than a photo contest and requires a good amount of effort from your fans.  For this reason, it is a good idea to allow adequate time for your contest so that all of your fans have an opportunity to participate.  If you are looking for an exciting way to engage fans contact us today about our Essay Contest app!



Suzuki Sweepstakes: 50 Years of You

Engaging fans with a social promotion or sweepstakes is a great way to raise awareness for your brand and products.  However, this is only one part in a larger campaign strategy to increase enthusiasm and sales.  One great way to extend the promotion into a larger campaign is to include an initiative for your fans to engage with the brand and products in person.  This in-person engagement can connect to your social promotion and will allow your fans to have a tangible experience with the products and services you are promoting.

Suzuki provides a great example of how to execute a promotion that incorporates in-person activity as an extension of their overall campaign.  Suzuki is celebrating 50 years in the USA and is offering their fans great prizes for their support and to generate excitement for their next 50 years.  Suzuki’s “50 Years of You” sweepstakes does a great job encouraging fans to visit their local dealer as well as to engage with Suzuki’s Facebook page and online sweepstakes.  In order to enter for a chance to win a monthly prize, fans must go down to their local dealer to receive the monthly promo code.  This is a great incentive for fans to physically visit with Suzuki on a monthly basis and to allow fans to see the prizes they could win in person.  The sweepstakes homepage offers an easy way for users to find the Suzuki dealer that is closest to them.  Suzuki’s great prizes include the latest motorcycles, ATV’s and accessories and the sweepstakes is offered every month for the rest of the year! Suzuki celebrates their fans by allowing users to enter to win every month.  February’s lucky fan will win a 2013 RM-Z450!

Suzuki does a great job offering fans a way to interact with the products online and at the dealership.  This interaction encourages fans to really get to know the products and the brand, creating a more personal experience and a lasting impact in the minds of your customers.


SIA Snow Show Recap

The SIA Snow Show was this past weekend at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.  The weekend long event gathered the snow sports industry together in one place to celebrate the newest technologies, innovations, brands, and culture of snow sports.  It was a great space for professionals from the industry to connect, network, engage in brand events and seminars, and learn more about what is happening in the world of snow sports.

Votigo had the pleasure of attending the event this year and in addition to presenting the Bluebird Social Zone – a space for recharging devices and unwinding – Votigo hosted a panel and social media office hours and powered a social media photo contest. The BlueBird Social Zone was a spot for brands to launch their social marketing messages live from the show. Votigo offered a Twitter/Facebook/Mobile photo promotion through a photo booth in the BlueBird Social Zone.  The office hours were a great opportunity to invite any marketing professional to come and share their expertise.  Votigo was happy to take part in the marketing conversation and to be surrounded by so many great brands!

There are many brands in the snow sports industry that are excelling on social media and it was great to see what different brands are doing to engage their audiences.. One snow sport brand that is excelling at social is Patagonia.  Patagonia has done an excellent job spreading their brand message across multiple social media channels.  They understand that their audience is all over social media and they cater to this by offering many different ways to connect and engage with the brand.  Patagonia’s blog The Cleanest Line is one such channel where Patagonia tells its story and connects with fans.  The blog takes it a step further and not only tells their own stories but also tells the stories of their fans.  The blog easily links back to their website and offers easy ways to share the posts across other social media channels.  Patagonia has the wonderful advantage of being part of the snow sports industry where visual images are easy to come by.  The brand uses imagery  to engage and excite consumers and to help tell their story.

Another brand that is using social media to their advantage is GoPro.  GoPro also has the advantage of being image oriented because their products revolve around videos.  GoPro offers fun ways for fans to become engaged with the brand and to follow the stories of their peers with a video and photo of the day.  These videos and photographs are uploaded every day across all of their social media channels showing what their products can do and how other fans are using them.  This is a great way to excite fans and to give a shout out to those fans that are using their products.

The SIA Snow Sports event was a great opportunity for brands to explore what their peers and competitors are doing. It was also an opportunity to learn more about how social media marketing can improve brand awareness and help tell a brand’s story. We can’t wait til next time!


Introducing Photo Sweepstakes

It’s no secret that photos rule in the world of social media. According to Facebook, posts that include a photo album or picture generate about 180% or 120% more engagement, respectively. Photos create an emotional connection and help personalize your brand. They command more attention in the news feed, and they are a great way to showcase a lifestyle or put your customers on display.

Photo contests have long been used as a way to engage fans and get great quality content from your fans. Fan photos can be used in your marketing materials and on your social channels to help build your brand and tell your brand story.

Now – we’re pleased to introduce Photo Sweepstakes into our Standard DIY apps. Photo sweepstakes incorporate photo engagement in a low-barrier-to-entry giveaway. Unlike a photo contest, photo sweepstakes award a winner randomly, so entrants don’t need to worry about how their photo stacks up against the competition.

If you want to incorporate voting – you’ll want to use a Photo Contest app.  But, if you’re looking for a simple giveaway that awards a random winner, a photo sweepstakes is the way to go.

You can create a photo sweepstakes by logging into your Votigo account, or by creating an account now. In addition to photo sweepstakes, we’ve also recently launched Twitter sweepstakes – which can also incorporate photos or video.

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