Jim

About Jim

Jim is an award-winning Internet marketing executive with over 15 years of experience creating and marketing world-class websites, applications, and promotions. Since co-founding Votigo in mid 2006, Jim has helped several leading brands, including Ford, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Sears, MTV, and Intel, as well as top-tier advertising agencies including Ogilvy, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, DraftFCB, and Arnold Worldwide develop and implement successful social media marketing solutions. He is responsible for strategic vision, sales and account management, marketing, and business development. Before founding Votigo, Jim spent nearly 7 years at United Online, Inc. where he was a key member of the executive staff helping take it from 1 million users to over 20 million. Jim has spoken on social media panels at CES, Likeable Summit, and DemoGala - Colorado Technology Association. He has also given guest lectures on social media marketing at UNC Chapel Hill, and CU Boulder. Jim holds his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Why UGC Contests Work for Marketing

Why User-generated Contests Work for Marketers
UGC Contests Create a Dialogue with Consumers – Given the current online marketing landscape, it’s critical for savvy marketers to engage consumers in an open, two-way dialogue. By allowing consumers to contribute to marketing campaigns through photos, videos, text and user-voting, campaigns become personal. You can learn a lot about what resonates with your core consumers in a very short period of time based on what they share with you on the site, as well as what they send to friends and family as contest participants transform into viral evangelists for your brand.
Contests Virally Spread Your Marketing Message – Assuming your contest site is built well and with the right viral tools at the disposal of users (see tips), user-generated contests can be a great way to virally spread your marketing message. What is unique about contests is that entrants have an incentive to promote themselves in order to get the votes needed to win the contest. And as we’re learning, in a digital world with a lot of noise, consumers have a higher level of trust and interest in content referred by their friends. This provides brands with an amazing way to expose their message to a new audience of engaged consumers.
Photo, Video, and Essay Contests Build Community Around Your Brand – Creating a contest microsite with built-in social networking features provides the landscape for your customers to talk about the promotion. What’s a contest microsite you might ask? It’s a standalone web site or sub-section of your existing brand web site that is dedicated to the contest and fully customized to your look and feel. In addition to contest rules, guidelines, user entry forms and voting it should utilize key social features allowing visitors to share and interact with the contest entries and each other. Depending on the theme of your contest, this interactive conversation could be focused on your product or brand specifically or something with which you want your brand associated with.
They Allow for Safe Participation in Social Media – Some brands are reluctant to turn over control of their marketing to consumers for fear of what the masses might say. Contests can provide a great way for brands to safely participate in social media. By clearly outlining rules and guidelines for entering contests and making smart use of prescreen and moderation tools, your brand can remain protected.
Contests Grow Your Customer Email Database – Because of the viral nature of entrants reaching out to friends and family to promote entries, contests can be a great way to build your customer database for future marketing efforts. It goes without saying, however, that users must opt-in to receive future marketing messages.
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Campaign of the Week! Frigo Cheeseheads – “Build a Bright Future” Contest

Frigo Cheeseheads – “Build a Bright Future” Contest

Frigo Cheeseheads - "Build a Bright Future" Contest

Frigo Cheeseheads – “Build a Bright Future” Contest

This is a really great concept that allows anyone to nominate a teacher by uploading a video or an essay explaining why their teacher should win.  Then there is a Votigo period to engage the community and finally the judges will announce the 60 winners!  Here is another post on Why UGC (user-generated content) Contests Work for Marketing.

http://cheeseheadsbrightfuture.com/

How it works

How it works

The UGC Gallery displays the video and essay thumbnails which allow users to expand to full size, vote, and share across social media.

UGC Gallery

Videos and essays

Enlarged view.

UGC full size view

UGC full size view

Please enjoy checking it out and let us know if you have any thoughts or questions about the campaign.  Feel free to contact us to learn more about Votigo and how you can create one of these types of campaigns for you or your clients.

 

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How to Run an Amazing Facebook Sweepstakes or Contest in 8 steps

A Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes is a great way to generate more ‘likes’ for your brand, engage your audience and spread brand awareness. And the good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated! Follow these 8 Steps for Running a Successful Facebook Contest or Sweepstakes and watch the entries roll in!Screenshot 2017-04-04 13.22.59

Step 1: State Your Objectives

Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your promotion will help determine if a contest or a sweepstakes is right for your brand. For example, if a high number of entries is your goal, an enter-to-win sweepstakes is probably going to receive the most entries, since they have the lowest barrier to entry on the social promotions spectrum.

Step 2: Outline The Promotion Details

This includes defining the timing of your campaign, how winners will be determined, what your prize is, and a variety of other considerations. For example: What information do you want to collect during registration? How do you want to use that information down the line for future marketing purposes?

Step 3: Follow The Rules

When running a Facebook promotion, it’s important to follow their guidelines. The team here at Votigo makes it a point to stay completely on top of all of Facebook’s rules and regulations, and we’ll always make sure that the campaigns that you run with us comply with them. In addition to Facebook’s promotional guidelines, you’ll also want to make sure that you create your own contest or sweepstakes rules and make sure that you are compliance with any relevant state or federal regulations. This is also something that Votigo can help with so just let us know if you need that!

Step 4: Design Graphics

Depending on your specific promotion and what time of features you are using, this can vary from a simple header graphic to more advanced design and customization. Either way, a few general rules will always apply: Make sure the imagery is eye-catching and inviting to the user and make sure it conveys the important details for the campaign like how to enter, what you can win, etc…

Step 5: Launch!

Once your promotion has been designed and set up, it’s time to launch! Make sure you test the user flow to make sure it’s exactly how you want it, and that it’s clear for users to understand. Once all of these pieces are in place, it’s time to publish your promotion to your Facebook page and start getting more engagement with your fans!

Step 6: Promote Your Campaign

You’ll want to actively promote your promotion in order to get entries and votes. Rely on all the channels you typically use to communicate with your audience (like social media, email newsletter etc…) in order to let them know about the campaign.

Step 7: Moderate and Manage

After your promotion has launched, you need to continue to manage it. This will depend on the format of your campaign but for example, if you’ve asked people to submit photos in order to enter, part of your campaign management will involve pre-screening these photos to make sure they’re appropriate. You’ll also want to keep an eye on entries to make sure that they are coming in steadily, and adjust your promotion efforts accordingly if needed.

Step 8: Use the Results

Running a Facebook contest or sweepstakes is a great way to get leads and quality user-generated content, so make sure you use your results! Nurture new leads with an email campaign or another promotion. Get creative with how you use any photos or videos that were collected during the campaign. Use the information you collect during registration to learn more about your audience and tailor future marketing activations based on this knowledge.


Ready to put these tips into practice with your next Facebook promotion? Click here to speak with an Account Representative today!

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Press Release: Votigo Powers the #MyGivingStory UGC Contest for 92Y and #GivingTuesday

Votigo Powers the #MyGivingStory UGC Contest for 92Y and #GivingTuesday

#MyGivingStory contest acquires over 800 submissions in the first two weeks.

Boulder, CO – November 16, 2017

Votigo, the leader in online promotions, announced today that it successfully launched the #MyGivingStory campaign, a social media storytelling contest created in a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the 92 Street Y in New York City and as part of the lead up to GivingTuesday on November 28, 2017.  The goal of the campaign is to deepen the conversation around why giving back is meaningful to individuals and what inspires them to give, whether it is time or money or goods or something else. The contest asks “everyday givers”  to submit their own story and an optional photo or video. The stories are displayed in an online gallery of stories, where the public can vote for their favorites. This voting will determine the finalists and the winner(s) will receive grant money to be given to the nonprofit organization of their choice.   Two first place winners will grant $10,000 each.  Two second place winners will grant $5,000 each.  And two third place winners will grant $2,500 each.  In addition to those grand prizes, the contest offers other incentives and prizes, include a bi-weekly sweepstakes for a small grant, the Most Popular NonProfit Award, and an Excellence in Spanish award.

“We are thrilled with the outcome of the contest both in terms of the heartwarming and inspiring quality of the storiest we have received, as well as the quality of Votigo’s platform and professional services.” says Abby Graf Subak, organizer of the #MyGivingStory at 92Y,” “… throughout this whole process Votigo has been excellent to work with in helping us to achieve our goals. So many of our world’s important conversations now take place online and in social media. It is the Votigo platform that has allowed us to create a meaningful way to engage people and organizations online.”

Votigo created a custom User-Generated Content Photo / Video / Essay Contest microsite that allows users to upload directly from their computer, smartphone, or tablet and then easily share their stories and spark conversations across Twitter and Facebook.   These written stories, photos, and videos are being shared not only on the platform, but also by nonprofit organizations and the GivingTuesday organizers to remind people of the impact their giving can have. The contest is open to residents of the USA and available in English and Spanish.

“We were extremely excited when 92Y approached us to design, build and administer the contest.  We love what 92Y is doing with their #MyGivingStory and Giving Tuesday and we’re thrilled our technology and expertise was able to help them achieve their marketing needs.” said Jim Risner, Co-CEO of Votigo.

Campaign Results (in only the first two weeks of the campaign) :

  • 800+ High Quality Video, Photo, and Essay submissions
  • 38,000+ Votes
  • 290,000 Page Views
  • 230 Social Shares

The contest remains open to submissions until November 30 at midnight, with voting continuing through Dec 7. We hope that this is a win-win for individual storytellers and organizations. Even if they don’t win one of the grand prizes, they will have shared their stories, and hopefully inspired many others to give, too.

With Votigo’s Online Promotions Platform and professional services, businesses and non-profit organizations have an unmatched tool for acquiring and engaging customers across social channels, the Web, and Mobile devices.  Brands and Organizations can run promotions, user-generated content contests, sweepstakes, and other interactive marketing campaigns that help to spread awareness of their campaign, acquire new customers, and engage existing customers.

About 92Y
92nd Street Y is a center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, and an incubator for creativity. Founded in 1874, it seeks to create, provide and disseminate programs of distinction that foster the physical and mental growth of people throughout their lives. 92Y offers thousands of programs from its New York headquarters and creates community far beyond its four walls, bringing people from all over the world together through innovations like the award-winning #GivingTuesday and the Social Good Summit. It’s transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world. All of 92Y’s programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values, including the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions and ethnicities.

#GivingTuesday is an international day of philanthropy, originally established as a refocusing on the season of giving, after the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Since its inception, #GivingTuesday has grown into a global movement with hundreds of thousands of organizations and individuals participating, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for good causes worldwide.

About Votigo 
Votigo is a leading online promotions company with a Software-as-a-Service platform and professional services that supports premium, full-service solutions and easy-to-use self-service tools for brands and their agencies including Live Nation, State Farm, Dos Equis, A+E Networks, and Starwood.  Votigo’s technology platform allows brands, agencies and enterprises to acquire, engage, and manage their customers across major Social Networks, the Web, and Mobile.  Founded in 2006, Votigo has offices located in Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco Bay Area, and Hyderabad, India.  Votigo made the Inc. 500||5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America in 2013 and 2012.

Contact Votigo:  pr@votigo.com, 800-519.1850

Contact #MyGivingStory: Abby Graf Subak, 347-446-8254, mygivingstory@givingtuesday.org

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Marketing Campaign Ideas for Back-to-School

Running a Back-To-School contest or sweepstakes is a great way to engage your social media audience during a peak retail window. As students and parents rush to prepare for the new school year, they’re looking for inspiration and offers that will help them make purchase decisions. And with so many brands competing for their attention, giving this audience a reason to engage with your brand early on gives you a better chance of building a relationship that will last well beyond the Fall. The point is, Back-To-School is Around-The-Corner so it’s time to jump on it.

Here are some Live examples to get your creative juices flowing!

back-to-school-picks-us-teachers_1-1

The good news is there are a lot of ways to break into the back-to-school conversation, no matter what your brand’s product or service offering is. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Visual Marketing Campaigns. Even though attention is starting to focus forward into the school year, there’s still a great opportunity to invite users to share their summer fun with your brand’s community for a chance to win a relevant back-to-school prize. Run a photo or video contest where people can submit their content for a chance to win. Registration will be required for entry, allowing you to continue to grow your marketing communications database.

Screenshot 2016-07-06 10.24.58

  • Instant Win or Hashtag Promo with a Discount Code. Drive traffic to both eComm and Brick & Mortar purchase settings by running an instant win or hashtag campaign where all winners receive a discount code towards the purchase of a product or service that fits into the back-to-school landscape.

Screenshot 2016-07-06 12.01.18

Unsure of where to run your promotion? Facebook Contests are a great way to reach a wide range of customers, while Instagram or Twitter will each reach a different demographic. Maybe you want to capture customers who are already visiting your site – in which case a contest microsite would be more relevant.

Struggling to figure out how to insert your brand into the Back-To-School conversation? Our Customer Success team will help you strategize on the best way to leverage this energetic shopping window in a way that makes the most sense for your brand. Contact Us to learn more or to schedule a demo with an Account Representative.

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Great Valentine’s Day Promotions Ideas from Air Canada and Blue Buffalo

Share the love!  Here are a couple of great Valentine’s Day Promotions ideas to reward your loyal customers as well as attract new ones.
Love is in the Air Contest from Air Canada
Love is in the air, officially. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Air Canada is kicking off a special book to win contest for travel agents. From Feb. 8 to 14, when you book your clients a flight within Canada or between Canada and the US for travel up to and including June 22, 2016, you’ll have a chance to win great prizes.
aircanada-valentine

Has Your Furry Friend Captured Your Heart?  Run a Valentine’s Promotion!

Blue Buffalo has launched a very creative Valentine’s Day Card Maker sweepstakes site. Create a special Valentine’s Day card featuring your furry friend and spread the love to your family and friends on social media!

Share the card with #BluesBesties on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and you’ll be eligible to receive a FREE bag of BLUE Be Mine Bars® – Cupid’s own tasty baked treats no pup can resist – or tasty BLUE cat treats.

They’ll randomly select winners to receive treats for their furry friend leading up to Valentine’s Day!  Entry period begins on February 10th, 2016 and ends on February 14th, 2016 – Valentine’s Day!

After you’ve created your own card be sure to browse the gallery to see everybody’s favorite Valentines.

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The Top 10 Content Curation Tools You Should Be Using

Curating content is a great way to position you and your business as the go-to expert in a certain industry by sharing the best-of-the-best content with your readers.

If you’re just using Google right now and struggling to find top content, never fear! There are plenty of tools out there to help you collect relevant and interesting content to share.

Without further ado, here are The Top 10 Content Curation Tools You Should Be Using:

Pocket-01-01

Pocket: Pocket is a great tool to start getting in the habit of curating content. Store interesting articles, videos and images in one place.

Pro tip: Install the Pocket browser extension to easily save content on the web.

postplanner-01-01

Post Planner: Discover data-driven shareable content suggestions for social media and watch your engagement grow.

feedly-01-01

Feedly: Aggregate and browse feeds from your favorite sources on mobile or desktop within a beautifully simple user interface.

Digg-01-01

Digg Reader: A great minimal RSS reader to help you stay up-to-the-minute on the latest content from some of the top sources.

lists-01-01

Twitter Lists: Curate subsets of users that you follow on Twitter related to specific topics. This is a great way to cut through the clutter and find the Tweets that really matter. Learn how to set up a list here.

Pro Tip: Check out these already curated 101 Best Twitter Lists to Follow by PostPlanner.

ContentGems-01-01

Content Gems: Quickly find and share the most valuable content in one easy-to-use platform. This one gets bonus points for such a beautifully designed site!

flipboard-01-01

Flipboard: Flipboard is my personal favorite content curation tool. It allows you to create your own personalized magazine with all the topics you care about (and none that you don’t.) Flipboard is a fantastic tool for finding and organizing  content – but be warned, you may spend hours on Flipboard without even realizing it!

Learnist-01-01

Learnist: Use a format similar to Pinterest with boards to search content from industry leaders by topic. Learnist is very user-friendly and full of brilliant content on endless topics.

evernote-01-01

Evernote: Easily clip web articles, add your own notes and communicate with your team in real-time using this comprehensive workspace tool.

readability-01-01

Readability: Similar to Pocket and Evernote, Readability gives you the means to collect and save interesting content from the web in an organized way. It also cleans up articles to present them in a more readable, simple format – making your life easier as you’re browsing content.

Pro Tip: Check out the “Top Reads” section to see the most read content that hour, day or week.

Over to You!

If you haven’t experimented with content curation yet, there’s no better time than now to get started. Curating relevant content is one of the best ways to build trust and become the go-to expert for your audience. Regardless of the size of your team, I hope you’ll find one of the above tools to work for you.

Would you add any tools to this list? What tools have worked best for your content curation?

This post was originally written by Christina Sullivan for the Heyo Blog.

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Votigo Overview Video

Votigo Overview from jim risner on Vimeo.

Nothing generates more leads and more engagement than cross-channel social promotions and engagement apps. Votigo’s easy-to-use and highly customizable platform allows brands and agencies of all sizes to create contests, sweepstakes, landing pages, and engagement campaigns quickly and affordably. All promotions can published to your Facebook Page, Website, Microsite, and Mobile. Integrate with Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. No coding skills required!

For larger brands and agencies looking for custom solutions Votigo offers full services including design, development, rules, winner admin, moderation, and prize fulfillment.

With over 20 different Campaign templates and over 14 supported languages Votigo provides solutions for Small Businesses to Global Enterprises.

Come join the thousands of companies already using Votigo to generate leads and engagement.

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30 Simple Social Media Conversation Starters

Now that you’ve worked hard on getting people to ‘like’ your Facebook page, Follow you on Twitter and Instagram through some exciting Facebook contests, social sweepstakes, a couple of interesting guest posts and other branding exercise, you may wake up realizing that you’re not quite sure how to keep all the fans that you now have. And this is just the beginning; the next road is a long one where you’ll need to keep talking to your audience while keeping them interested and engaged with your page.

Some say that social media is like your first date. You may be good at getting dates, but once you’ve actually get them, you’ll need to keep them from leaving… you..

There are many ways of keeping someone engaged with you, but one thing’s for sure – if you want to start a conversation, you’ll need to ask the question. Questions are great to get your audience to comment and contribute to the topic. That is why I’ve come up with a list of questions that you can ask your fans.

There are many different types of conversation starters. Here are a few conversation starters and how some great examples of using them.

Types of conversation starters. 

1. Related to your industry

If you’ve targeted your fans correctly, then it is likely that your fans had liked your page to keep in touch with your industry.  Keep your audience listening by sparking conversations about your main industry.

2. Random Questions 

It’s the element of surprise – that brilliant randomness, those silly questions, and that Gangnam Style. Surprise your audience and spark their interest with some out of the world questions.

3. Personal Interest

Got an interest? A hobby? A game of football? A bite to eat? A pint to drink? Share personal interests by asking your audience what they do when they’re off-duty. Get up close and personal and build stronger relations with your audience by listening to they’re up to.

4. Helping others

Help your fellow community member by asking frequently asked questions and helping a fan out. Present questions to the rest of the audience and help solve their problems. It’s all about community spirit! Alternatively, you can help others by putting the spotlight on them and allowing them to share their page, blog post for others to check. Here is an example by Social @ Blogging Tracker

 Below are 30 conversation starters for your social media accounts. 

  1. What’s your biggest question about ______. Our experts will answer them.
  2. What’s your #1 goal to achieve in ______ this month/year?
  3. What books are you reading this week?
  4. What is your favorite _______ blogs?
  5. What do you usually share on social media?
  6. What is your biggest challenge in ________
  7. What excites you every day?
  8. What’s the best article you read today/ this week?
  9. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
  10. My favorite thing about ____ is _____
  11. What are your plans for the weekends?
  12. What’s in your book list that everyone should read?
  13. Where do you usually blog / tweet?
  14. What are your biggest mistakes in ___ when you started?
  15. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
  16. What Facebook page would you like to share with us?
  17. What song / quote describes YOU?
  18. What’s number #1 on your to-do list today?
  19. How often do you check your email / Facebook / Twitter?
  20. How many times do you log into Facebook a day?
  21. Who’s your biggest role model?
  22. What is the first book that you read that changed your life?
  23. Coffee or tea?
  24. Chocolate or cheese cake? (one of my most responded questions, best answer was … chocolate cheese cake)
  25. If you could re-invent something, what would it be?
  26. What do you love most about _______ ?
  27. When was the last time you were really nervous?
  28. Whose life do you wish you could live for a day?
  29. What film have you most enjoyed this year?
  30. What’s the thing/page/ would you consider yourself a “number one fan” of?

Hope you like the list and don’t hesitate to share it out if you do. If this is something you would like more of, then I’ll come up with 30 questions every month in the hope that it will inspire you to post more questions and get your fans to engage with you.

What would you add to the list? Share them below and it will be in our next post.
Original post by Adam.

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Halloween: A Time for UGC Photo Contests (and Candy)!

I know it seems so far away, but NOW is the time to start planning your upcoming Halloween Promotion.

Few holidays have such a strong visual component as Halloween, making it the perfect opportunity for brands to engage their fans with a UGC Photo Contest or Video Contest. Leverage #hashtag submissions via Instagram and Twitter as well as allowing contestants to upload photos or videos from their computer, smartphones, and Facebook.  Consider if your brand would benefit from a fun holiday promotion (Halloween Costume contest). Do your customers participate in Halloween? Do your fans like to dress-up?  If you answered yes to either of these questions your company can benefit from UGC Photo & Video Contests!

hanesGet creative and consider how your business is relevant to the ghoulish season. Maybe you have a seasonal product that you’d like to promote for Halloween, or maybe a simple online costume contest would get your customers engaged. A UGC Contest can even provide you with visuals to use in future marketing efforts…so if you’d like to have some fun photos for a Halloween campaign next year, get those fan photos from a contest this year.

Chipotle Mexican Grill2Need help getting started? Check out our Resource Center.

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