The Benefits of User Voting in UGC Contests

Running an online UGC contest can help you engage fans and allow them to interact with your company, brand, and/or product.  It is always important to use techniques that will encourage your fans to stay engaged with the contest even after they enter.  One way to do this is to allow fans to vote on entries.  For most businesses this is a great idea because people are prompted to spread their entry to get more friends to vote, creating a viral effect. Voting can promote more word-of-mouth marketing for your brand because entrants will spread the word to gather votes. This will in turn create more awareness of the promotion and your brand or product.  Voting also gives the incentive for fans to continue to visit the promotion page and acts as another step in the online UGC contest.  It is a fun way for fans to take an active role in the outcome of the contest.
When considering if your contest should be 100% decided by public vote, it is important to understand what this means for the contest and to be prepared to hand over control of the outcome to your fans.  Another way to incorporate public voting in your contest while still maintaining some control over the outcome is to create a round of voting to narrow down the entries that are in the running to win. After allowing this period of voting you can then create a panel of judges who will decide the winner.  This will still encourage fans to stay engaged and to share their entries virally, while also allowing your brand to maintain some control.

Some businesses may prefer not to allow fans to vote and instead rely on complete brand control.  This means that your brand or business will be in charge of the entire voting process.  A fun way to do this while keeping your fans interested is to incorporate a panel of expert judges that appeal to your target audience.  This will give your fans the incentive to stay tuned to the contest and to continue to visit the promotion site.

Each option above provides a great way for entrants to stay interested in your contest. It depends on what your particular brand goals are  concerning the promotion and it is important to consider which strategy will fit best with your company.

For more information on UGC Voting Contests and fun ways to keep customers engaged contact us today!


New Live Examples – #UGC Contests and Sweepstakes

We love sharing new live examples with you!  We hope you feel the same way :)

Parents / American Baby Bumb of the Month Photo Contest

Parents American Baby have a great strategy around user-generated photo content and their subscribers lover to participate.  In this contest they ask for creative and fun photos during pregnancy.  The contest is embedded as an iFrame within their site.

Roman Meal Baked Fresh Sweepstakes

Roman Meal is running this Enter-to-win Sweepstakes on its Facebook Page to grow their fan base, user data, and email opt-ins.  It’s a nicely designed sweepstakes and very easy to enter.

 The Perfume Shop #ILoveOnika Photo Contest

The Perfume Shop photo contest using hashtag #ILOVEONIKA is only one week long and only a couple of days into it they already have over 100 submissions!  Excellent execution of a user generated photo contest with hashtag integration.

Go here for more live examples of contests, sweepstakes, and social content hubs and galleries.


Halloween Contests – It’s that time of year again!

It’s that time of the year again!  Get ready for your Halloween Contest.

Today we take a look back at one of our best Halloween Contests we’ve ever run.

The Chipotle Boorito Halloween Costume Contest promotion had a fun title and a great Halloween design that was eye catching and relevant to the Halloween theme of the promotion.  Chipotle asked fans to enter the contest by submitting a picture of them in costume in front of a Chipotle restaurant.  This fun idea encouraged fans to visit Chipotle and participate in the Halloween festivities.   The promotion created a great way for fans to stay engaged by incorporating a voting process where fans can vote for entries and easily share their favorite photos. The lucky grand prize winner won $2,500, five runner up winners received $1,000, and 20 entrants received the honorable mention prize which consists of a sponsor-specified burrito party at the winner’s select Chipotle Mexican Grill location for up to 10 people.  The contest did a great job incorporating a holiday theme into their contest and keeps fans thinking about Chipotle.

Find out how to run your own UGC Photo Contest


The Definitive Guide to UGC Contests and Sweepstakes

The Definitive Guide to UGC Contests and Sweepstakes

If you’re looking for a way to acquire more customers, grow your email database, and engage consumers, a UGC contest or sweepstakes that can live on social media platforms, your website or microsite, and mobile / tablet is the perfect way to accomplish your goals. Running a promotion doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact, with the right tools and a little bit of planning, it can be fairly straightforward, but there are some necessary steps to consider.  Follow these 8 steps below and you’ll have the perfect guide to UGC Contests and Sweepstakes.

Step 1: Determine Your Objectives

Clearly understanding your objectives will help determine if a UGC contest or sweepstakes is right for you and also what format will suit your needs best. If a high number of participants is your goal, a sweepstakes is most likely going to receive the largest number of entries.  This is because sweepstakes are easy to enter – for the most part all you need is an email address and basic information.  If you’re looking to really engage your audience, a UGC (user-generated content) contest is going to be a better choice for you.

There are many different contest format options to consider. You can allow fans to enter photos, videos, audio files, essays, or a combination of any of those four options. Giving fans the option of entering your promotion in their chosen format will increase your odds of getting more entries.

You’ll also need to determine what features will help you meet your objectives. If expanding your social reach is one of your objectives, you’ll want to make sure you use the best and latest social sharing features.  Also consider what other types of campaigns will complement your promotion and help increase awareness of your contest or sweepstakes – such as a sponsored story or Facebook ad.

Step 2: Outline The Details

Once you’ve decided on a format, you’ll need to decide what type of prize you’ll be offering in your UGC contest or sweepstakes. You’ll want to decide this early on and make sure it is a strategic prize. A prize can make or break a promotion. It needs to be worthwhile for the participant to enter, and it needs to be even more worthwhile for them to share your promotion with their friends. Remember, sometimes the best prizes are not the most expensive, but instead are exclusive or limited products and opportunities.

You’ll also need to decide how your winner will be selected. If it is a contest, you can let your audience vote for the winner, or you can select a winner yourself. You can allow for multiple rounds of voting with finalists and semi-finalists or you can have one round of voting. Think about how long  you want your promotion to run and what will produce the best results for you based on your objectives.

Lastly, decide what user information you’ll be collecting. One of your motivations for running a promotion will likely be to collect participant info for later marketing efforts. Decide what information you’ll need to administer the contest and ask for other information sparingly. Again, the more you require of the user, the less likely they are going to be to participate, so keep it simple.

Step 3: Follow the Rules

When running any UGC contest or sweepstakes, it’s important to follow Federal, State, and Local promotional laws as well as any social media platform promotion guidelines.  You will need to provide Official Rules for consumers to be able to read and know their rights.  Consult your legal team to ensure your promotion is following legal guidelines.  Or contact Votigo for help with Rules.

Step 4: Design Graphics

Once you’ve worked out all the details, it’s time to design your UGC promotion! Depending on your promotion and what type of app and features you are using this can vary from a simple header graphic to advanced design and customization.

The type of promotion app you use will determine the size and layout of your main graphics. This can include a simple header graphic, or a more detailed and custom design and layout. When designing your graphic, it’s important to consider a few elements:

Design above the fold: Above “the fold” simply refers to the space that is visible without having to scroll down a page. This is the most critical part of any webpage design, and is also important to consider with your promotion graphic. Keep any calls-to-action or critical information above the fold so that a user can quickly assess what is required of them.

Outline your steps: Using strong visuals to give a basic outline of what is required to enter your promotion is a great way to utilize your graphic. This allows users to understand the steps required, without having to read detailed descriptions or copy that is included elsewhere on your app.

Showcase your prize: Show users what they’ll be getting if they win! This helps reinforce your incentive for getting a user to enter your promotion.

Use a clear call to action: – This is very important because you want to clearly outline what is required of the user to enter your promotion. If you simply have a beautiful graphic and no call to action, the user may be confused and possibly not like your page, or enter your promotion.

Step 5: Launch!

Once your promotion has been outlined and designed, it’s time to launch! Make sure to do any user-flow testing prior to launch to ensure that your promotion is as simple and straightforward for users to participate in as possible. Once all of the pieces are in place, it time to publish your promotion to your Facebook page or Web and Mobile and start acquiring and engaging new and existing customers.

Step 6: Promote Your Promotion

You need to actively promote your promotion in order to garner entries and votes. This doesn’t need to be costly or complicated, in fact – one of the best ways to promote your promotion is by simply posting about it on your Facebook wall. Timely reminders and updates to your existing audience will help ensure that your promotion is a success. Email reminders, social media posts and website mentions are all opportunities to promote your promotion.  You can also promote your promotion directly on Facebook through sponsored stories or Facebook ads.

Step 7: Moderate and Manage

After your promotion has been launched, you need to continue to manage the promotion.  How you manage your promotion will depend upon what details and format you’ve decided upon and also what your ongoing promotional plans are. If you’ve chosen a photo contest and you are going to pre-screen submissions – you’ll need to actively approve and reject submissions throughout each day, or at least once per day. You’ll also need to select and notify a winner once your promotion has ended.

Step 8: Use The Results

Running a promotion is a great way to get leads and quality user-generated content, so make sure you use your results. Nurture your new leads with an email campaign or another promotion. You’ll also want to find ways to use your entries. Often times when a contest is over the marketer fails to capitalize on the great photos, videos, essays, comments and relationships acquired during the campaign. Instead, create a photo or video gallery of the entries on your website or mix a few quotes into your advertising campaigns. Any of these will strengthen the relationship you’ve built with your customers and make your marketing more authentic.

Once your promotion has come to a close, you’ll want to analyze the results and measure success. Take a look at the promotion as a whole, there may be benefits or successes that you had not anticipated. Perhaps your promotion revealed a new market for your product, or an existing perception of your brand or offering that you were unaware of.

Take a look at what content you received from entrants and see if you can glean new insights about your customers. Try and learn as much as you can from the promotion. Find out what worked, and what fell short. Take these lessons with you the next time you run a promotion and build upon your successes, while learning where you can improve your strategy.

Contact us at today for help with your upcoming promotion.  Sales:  800.519.1850



Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?

Originally appeared on Mediabistro’s AllTwitter.  Infographic courtesy of

Looking to use social media to power your business? Smart play. Collectively, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest have billions of users. But which social network is best for you, and your brand?

Just because a channel is popular doesn’t necessarily make it the right choice for your products and services. Each of the major social networks have different strengths and appeal to different kinds of users – accordingly, some will be a better fit for your industry than others.

Twitter, for example, can work very well for business to business (B2B) companies, whereas Facebook lends itself to brands that are visually-oriented (i.e., have a lot of great image content to share).

YouTube, of course, is great fit for organizations that are create a lot of high-quality video, while Pinterest is extremely valuable for fashion and other retail brands with strong product shots.

And of course, Promotions like Contests and Sweepstakes are great across all of these social channels.

Check the visual below for more information, stats and tips, which comes courtesy of Quick Sprout.

What is the Best Social Media Platform for YOUR Business?


Votigo Growth and Product Enhancements

Press Release:  September 9th, 2014

Votigo Sees Exponential Growth with its SaaS Subscription Business and Continues its Product Expansion in first half of 2014

Company nearly triples its Subscription Customer Base and continues to enhance its social marketing and promotions platform with new features. 

Votigo, the complete social media marketing and promotions company, announced today that it grew its Software-as-a-Service subscription customer base by over 280% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.  That number is up significantly compared to the over 100% year-over-year growth from 2012 to 2013 the company reported earlier in the year.  Several strategic partnerships, changes in the Social Media Marketing vendor landscape, and an increase in demand from Middle-market companies have helped with the growth in subscriber base.  In addition to the SaaS subscription growth the company has continued to serve new and existing clients with full-service and custom promotions and social apps.

At the same time its ever-expanding Social Media Marketing & Promotions Platform continues to be enhanced with new features including Social Campaign Calendar, Social Content Hub, Multi-format UGC Contest templates and increased Mobile capabilities.

“The growth of our subscription customer base and the mass adoption of our always-on self-service promotions platform is very exciting for us!  When we first launched in 2007 we knew marketers needed this kind of easy-to-use tool to create promotions to grow their brand and customer databases.” says co-CEO and Founder, Jim Risner, “Now that marketers fully buy into social, mobile, and web promotions we are seeing the increase in demand of our products and services.”

Q1 and Q2 2014 Highlights:

  • Over 280% growth in SaaS subscription customer base
  • Successful traction with several strategic reseller partnerships
  • Launched new Multi-format UGC Contest template
  • Launched new Social Marketing Calendar
  • Launched new Social Content Aggregator / Galleries

Helping our Customers Achieve their Goals:

  • 45,000 new Facebook Likes per day during a Votigo campaign
  • 10,000 contest / sweepstakes registrations per day
  • 1,000 photos and videos submitted per day
  • 1,000 votes cast per day

Numbers based on aggregate averages across all Votigo campaigns from January 1 through June 30, 2014.

With Votigo’s Social Media Marketing & Promotions Platform, businesses have an unmatched tool for acquiring and engaging customers across social channels, the Web, and Tablet / Mobile devices.  Brands can run promotions, user-generated content contests, sweepstakes, and other marketing engagement apps that activate customers; measure the impact and ROI of a brand’s social marketing efforts; and use Conversation Manager and Social Contacts for handling communications and Social Customer Relationship Management (Social CRM) across multiple users, social networks and geographies.  Votigo also continues to provide custom promotions that integrate with any mobile, web, and social channel, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and new platforms as they emerge.

About Votigo 

Votigo is a leading social media marketing and promotions company with a Software-as-a-Service platform that supports premium, full-service solutions and easy-to-use self-service tools for brands and their agencies including Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, MasterCard, Live Nation, Sharpie, DreamWorks, Breitling, and GoPro.  Votigo’s technology platform allows brands, agencies and enterprises to acquire, engage, and manage their customers across major Social Networks, the Web, and Mobile.  Votigo’s social marketing suite includes Cross-Channel Promotions, Social Apps, Social Marketing Calendar, Conversation Manager, Contacts, and Analytics. 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.



NEW Live Examples Are Here!

Our number one request from prospective and existing customers is “Can I see some live examples?”.  We agree.  Live examples speak a thousand words!  So here you go.  Here is our latest round of Custom Promotions built by Votigo’s internal team and/or Agencies and Brands leveraging our Developer APIs as well as our Template-d Promotions created using our Social Marketing & Promotions Platform self-service tools.

Taubman Centers

Facebook Photo Contest

This Facebook Photo Contest allows users to upload a photo from their computer or mobile device as well as the ability to submit photos using a #hashtag via Instagram and Twitter.  The Votigo Moderation Tool allows the brand to view and approve all images before they appear in the consumer-facing UGC Gallery.





 Honda Fit Sweepstakes – Microsite

This is custom sweepstakes microsite asking users to submit their information and opt in to different email newsletter options.  Multiple prizes are offered.


Facebook Daily Giveaway

This custom promotion allows consumers to enter every day for their chance to win as well as be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end.  There is also a viral refer-a-friend incentive for sharing with friends and family.  The application has a custom design and layout. 






 M&M’s & Boxtrolls –

Facebook Sweepstakes

M&M’s leverages our Social Promotions Platform to create their Facebook Sweepstakes.

Live Nation –

Facebook Photo #hashtag Sweepstakes

Live Nation leverages our Social Marketing & Promotions Platform to create and run their promotions.