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!


Planning Your 2013 Social Promotions

A new year is around the corner and it is time to start planning your social media marketing for 2013. Creating a promotion calendar can be helpful when deciding when to run social promotions. Promotions can help raise awareness for your brand and products and running social promotions strategically at certain points of the year can increase your marketing effectiveness. A good place to start is to become familiar with the upcoming trends of the new year as well as what marketing trends consumers are responding to.

A few things to consider when planning for next year:

1. Running a contest or sweepstakes around a product launch can be effective and will create buzz around the product. A good social promotion will encourage your fans to interact with your brand and share your brand or products with their friends. Promotions can generate great word of mouth and therefor will create word of mouth for your new products.

2. An effective way to incorporate a social media promotion into your marketing efforts next year is to run an event driven promotion. Creating a promotion around an event is a great way to advertise your event while simultaneously creating a way for your customers to interact with your brand. Schedule posts about your event and your promotion to maximize awareness.

3. Another great time to schedule a promotion is around the holidays. Many people are looking for fun deals during the holiday season and a contest or sweepstakes is a great way to celebrate the fun time of year. Most people will already take part in fun holiday activities so it is a perfect opportunity to add your promotion to the list.

4. Consider which social media channels work best for your goals. Each platform caters to different consumer types and behaviors so it is often smart to run cross-channel promotions.

In order to make sure your social promotions are running at effective times it is important to organize them in a calendar. This is a great way for your company to see what is coming and better prepare for each promotion. Set up reminders to post on social media, you can schedule posts at certain times alongside your promotions. Decide what your social media marketing calendar will focus on; it can be planned around the seasons or big product launches for example. What are your company’s goals for 2013 and what strategies will help you get there? Plan now and build your social marketing calendar to center around promotions that run at key times for your company, your event calendar and holidays.


A Few of Our Favorite Social Promotions

With 2012 coming to a close, we’re reflecting on some of our favorite social promotions from 2012! Here are a few of my favorites.

When creating a social promotion it is important to build the idea of the contest around something that will peak your fans’ interest and encourage their involvement with your business.  The Oregon Zoo met all of these expectations with their Baby Elephant Due Date Pool Sweepstakes.  The promotion was set up in a way to educate fans about Asian elephants and to create awareness for the birth of Rose-Tu’s second calf.  The Oregon zoo discovered that an Asian elephant’s pregnancy lasts 22 months and they encouraged fans to guess the calf’s due date for a chance to be first in line for the calf’s public debut! The Oregon Zoo did a great job building hype and interest around the event of the birth.  It is a unique idea to create a promotion around an event that does not have a definite date, allowing for anticipation and excitement.  The contest also encouraged entrants to get their friends to guess by allowing each winner to bring a friend to the debut. The lucky winners got to share in the special and memorable event at the Oregon Zoo.


Another great promotion that took a fun initiative to engage fans was Chipotle’s Boorito Photo Contest.  The 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.

Often when planning a sweepstakes, the big question on people’s minds is how to spread the message and create maximum awareness.  A great example of a sweepstakes that encourages fans to share and spread the message is Olga’s Kitchen Lunch Buddies Sweepstakes. Fans can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a year of Olga’s with three lucky friends.  Fans are prompted to share their entry with others and receive additional entries for each friend who enters the sweepstakes.  By sharing their entry they are increasing their chance to win! Olga’s Kitchen also requires the entrant to “Like” their Facebook page in order to participate in the Sweepstakes, which allows the entrant to promote Olga’s even before entering.

When creating a sweepstakes or contest it is a good idea to create a theme that promotes your brands essence and message.  Energizer created the Change Your Clock Change Your Battery Sweepstakes that highlighted safety, a subject matter that Energizer takes pride in and cares about.  For 25 years Energizer has partnered with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and has been helping to keep families safe.  The sweepstakes promoted important safety tips and encouraged users to enter to win a free safety kit worth more than $150.  Energizer awarded 25 winners in total who received the safety kit and everyone who entered and visited the promotion had access to all the safety tips provided by Energizer.

Another brand that has created a promotion to highlight their brand essence is CITGO with its Fueling Good promotion.  CITGO’s central idea is to help change the world mile after mile and each year the CITGO Fueling Good program gives away $120,000 in gift cards to charities in the hope to help ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things for their communities.  Twelve charities are selected each year and the exciting part is that fans can vote for their favorite charities. CITGO has created a custom microsite for the promotion where non-profit organizations and charities can register for a chance to win and where users can easily look up charities and vote for their favorites.  The microsite provides well-designed and informational videos showing how far a gallon of gas can go, inspiring fans to get involved and a vote.  Each charity that chooses to register must submit a photo and three essays that describe the service their charity provides, a description of the ripple effect the charity’s good creates in their community, and an explanation of how CITGO gift cards would benefit their charity.  CITGO’s Fueling Good promotion encourages people to give back to their community and to learn more about charities that work to better the world.  The promotion runs every year, don’t miss your chance to become involved!

These are just a few of the awesome contests and sweepstakes from 2012. I can’t wait for 2013 to see all of the fun and innovative promotions brands run to engage their fans!





Search for a Champion Video Contest

Wondersauce, a digital agency, came together with Champion Spark Plugs to launch the Search for a Champion video contest. Champion utilizes Votigo’s API technology and integrates it into their own custom website.  The video contest encourages fans to enter a two-minute video for a chance to become one of the fifteen winners to receive a $5,000 Champion sponsorship and to compete for the grand prize sponsorship of $50,000.  Champion makes the deal even sweeter by rewarding the first 250 entrants with a free Champion Swag Bag including one 2013 Search for a Champion t-shirt, one Champion hat, one Search for a Champion decal and one Champion decal. The custom website shows pictures of each prize that comes in the bag so entrants can see what they will be winning.  The site also provides a spot to sign up to win a free weekly giveaway consisting of a free Champion product.

The custom online video contest is easy to navigate and well organized with information including tips on how to create a winning entry video, advice from the 2012 contest winners, and a contest timeline providing all of the important contest dates and deadlines.  Full-width, HD video capabilities are also included to push each video entry to the next level.  There is a video entry gallery that allows fans to browse the entries and gives entrants the tools to promote their entry all the way to the top by sharing entries on Facebook, posting to Twitter, and emailing friends.  This is especially important because the contest winners will be chosen by a series of public votes.  Fans can register as a voter and vote for their favorite videos.  Champion encourages fans to vote for their favorite racer by offering a voting sweepstakes prize. Two hundred lucky voters will receive a free Champion t-shirt and a poster autographed by Kevin Harvick.

Champion does great job engaging fans with their custom site and offers generous and relevant prizes to the fans with the best videos.  For more information on how to integrate API technology into a custom site for your contest contact us today!


Should You Allow Voting In Your Contest?

Running an online contest can help you engage fans and allow them to interact with your company and brand.  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 consider allowing fans to vote on entries.  For some 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.  Voting also gives the incentive for fans to continue to visit the promotion page and acts as another step in the online 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 Facebook Contests and fun ways to keep customers engaged contact us today!

Need help creating a Facebook contest or sweepstakes? Download our Free Guide!



PetSmart Halloween Photo Contest

Halloween is near and what better way to celebrate than to run a Halloween promotion! Holidays are a great time to run a promotion and engage your fans!

To kick off the Halloween season, PetSmart launched their Monster Cute Photo Contest powered by GREENIES® encouraging fans to submit a photo of their pet to the Facebook photo contest.

Votigo created a custom Facebook contest app that requires users to “like” the page before entering. The app allows fans to easily upload, browse, and vote on entries of the cutest and scariest pets.

Fans are asked to submit a photo of their pet in one of the 5 categories by October 21st:

  • Scariest
  • Cutest
  • Healthiest Smile powered by GREENIES®
  • Rockstar Pets
  • Funniest

PetSmart is rewarding those who engage with the Facebook contest by sending each entrant a coupon to save on GREENIES® dental chews.  This is a great way to show appreciation to fans!

The final Grand Prize winner will receive $10,000, a year supply of GREENIES® Dental Chews, and a PetSmart treat bag loaded with Halloween toys. PetSmart will also choose 25 runner up winners who will receive a PetSmart gift card and GREENIES® Dental Chews. Weekly winners will be chosen, with a total of 6 winners who will receive a $50 PetSmart gift card.  PeSmart does a great job keeping the prizes relevant to the brand and the Halloween theme of the contest.

For more inspiration and promotion ideas, follow @votigo on Twitter and follow the #bestofvotigo hashtag.



Be Vital Twitter Sweepstakes

Johnson & Johnson wanted to spread the “Be Vital” message to their fans and customers through a Twitter promotion. Working with their agency Baldwin & Obenauf, Votigo created a custom Twitter sweeptakes that allows users to submit a tweet for a weekly chance to win a $100 prize.  By creating a Twitter promotion Johnson & Johnson is encouraging their fans to follow their Twitter page and to engage with the brand through tweeting.  Fans are asked to follow @JNJUniversity on twitter before submitting a tweet.  Once users are successfully following the twitter page they are asked to tell Johnson & Johnson what being vital means to them and how they define being vital in their life, their community, and in our world.  Users are able to enter their own stories in 140 characters or less.  Tweets are asked to be directed to @JNJUniversity with the hashtag #BeVital in order to be eligible to win. All of the tweets are displayed on a custom landing page, where uses can also submit tweets directly.

Each week, between the dates of August 27 and November 2, one winner will be selected at random to receive a $100 gift voucher for Amazon.com.  All of the winners are announced on the Twitter page with a total of ten winners.

The Twitter sweepstakes runs alongside the Be Vital Challenge, which asks student organizations to upload a video showcasing how they play a vital role in their community.

The unique idea behind using Twitter as a part of their promotion is that Johnson & Johnson is able to have their fans help spread their message of what being vital means and why it is important.  Their fans are also able to follow what other fans are tweeting.  This is a great way to engage fans with a campaign.  If you are looking for a simple and fun way to keep your customers engaged contact us today about running a Twitter sweepstakes!


Why Mobile Marketing Matters

With the increasing popularity of mobile marketing, making your contest or sweepstakes mobile optimized is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Most people have at least one type of mobile device that they carry with them on a regular basis. As more brands adopt mobile websites and applications, people have increasingly higher expectations of the mobile experience that brands provide them.  In order to make the most of your promotion, make sure you make it easy for your audience to engage with your contest or sweepstakes on their mobile device.  By doing so you will increase entries and satisfaction among your fans.

There is a large number of people and businesses that run promotions on Facebook, as it is one of the most popular social media channels. There are 78 million Americans eighteen and older who access their Facebook accounts via their mobile devices so making sure your Facebook contest or sweepstakes is mobile optimized is critical. This enables your promotion to be on the go with your customers.  Your fans will be able to access your promotion at their own convenience and participate whether they are at home, commuting on a train, or waiting in line at the grocery store.

In order to effectively run a promotion on a mobile device it is important to build a campaign that is user friendly and intuitive.  The promotion should be easy to navigate on a mobile device and make uploading entries and participating in the promotion seamless. You can do this with a mobile optimized version of a contest microsite or with a custom mobile design. Make sure that your promotion will work and be easily visible on all kinds of mobile devices including phones and tablets. Make the design and graphics simple to avoid any user-experience issues that could cause you to lose potential fans and customers.

By creating a mobile optimized promotion, you’ll allow your fans to engage with the promotion at their convenience wherever they please.  It is a great way to cater to mobile users and to create a fun way to interact with your fans.  If you are interested in creating a mobile promotion visit our website at www.votigo.com to get the details or contact us today.