New Live Campaigns – Blue Buffalo, Walmart, AARP, Ovation TV, Florida OJ, and FujiFilm (photo contest, video contest, facebook contest, facebook sweepstakes)

Blue Buffalo Shelter Stars – UGC Photo Contest Microsite

This is the place to show off your buddy and share your pet adoption success story photo contest. With so many homeless pets across the country, it’s pet parents like you who are making all the difference in the lives of the animals that deserve a second chance. Open your heart, open your home, and share the love at BLUE Shelter Stars.

Walmart Associate Talent Search – Video Contest Microsite

We’re looking for all kinds of talent in this video contest: dancers, musicians, comedians, magicians and more-any performance-based talent that showcases the amazing talent and unique abilities of Walmart associates. So be thinking about how you will highlight your talent in a fun video that isn’t longer than two minutes. Feel free to perform your talent to a cover song.

AARP Superstart Contest 2015 – Video Contest Microsite

AARP wants to help you achieve your dreams! We’re looking for the next American singing sensation – and no kids allowed to enter this video contest! Contestants must be age 50 or over at the time of contest conclusion on May 15, 2015 and possess a voice that will make crowds jump to their feet with excitement.

Ovation TV American Canvas Travel Sweepstakes – Facebook Sweepstakes

For its all-new series American Canvas Ovation TV is asking you to enter the Facebook Sweepstakes for your chance to win the ultimate art adventure in San Francisco, Austin or Miami!

Enter this facebook sweepstakes for your chance to enjoy flavorful 100% Florida Orange Juice while you discover our state’s sun, fun and family attractions. This exciting Spring Break family getaway includes a stay in an Orlando hotel, roundtrip transportation for four and a $1,000 gift card to make the most of what the area has to offer.

Enter this photo contest and show us your most impressive landscape photo for a chance to win an Adventure Canada Mighty Saint Lawrence voyage for 2 ( and a Fujifilm X-T1 camera kit with XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. X Photographers Dan Bailey and Patrice Halley will be on board as well! Contest runs from February 13 to March 31, 2015. North American entries only (excluding Quebec and Hawaii, see rules for details. Trip must be taken on dates specified).


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.


Facebook Sends a Message on the Importance of Promotions

Yesterday Facebook announced that it has removed some restrictions about how businesses can run promotions (Contests and Sweepstakes) on Facebook.  Previously, the Facebook Promotion Guidelines prohibited any promotion from using any native Facebook functionality like “posting on the Brand Page wall”, “commenting on posts”, “liking posts”, etc.  And they required that businesses use a third party application provider like Votigo.

With the change promotions can now be administered on Page Timelines. For example, entries may be collected by posting to a page or commenting or liking a Page post.

By making these changes Facebook is affirming what we’ve always known. Promotions are an extremely important component of marketing for businesses of all sizes.  Promotions offer a business the best way to acquire and engage new and existing customers.  Facebook also recognized that a lot of small brands were ignoring their earlier guidelines anyway and hosting quick and dirty promotions on their Page Timelines anyway.  Instead of having all of these pages be in violation of the earlier policy, which must have created an administrative nightmare for Facebook, they’ve acquiesced.   However, businesses should still be aware of legal regulations from state to state and country to country.

We believe Facebook’s change to their policy will be good for those previously violating the Facebook Promotion Guidelines. They can sleep better at night, but the change will not replace promotion applications and the benefits they deliver.  

What a Facebook Promotion Application can provide that running a promotion on your Page Timeline can’t:

– Like-gate (users must Like your page before they can enter)

– Branded solution

– Collection of custom user data and email address

– Easier to select and contact winners

– Email newsletter opt-in

– Multiple contest and sweepstakes formats:  Photo contests, Video contests, Referral / Viral sweepstakes, Trivia sweepstakes and more.

– Exportable user data and voter reports

– Moderation and pre-screening entries

– Campaign Analytics

Let us know what you think about the new policy and/or if you have any questions about it.

We’re here to help!

– Team Votigo


Start Thinking About Summer Themed Promotions

We know, we know…  Summer is still a few months away but the weather is changing and the anticipation is rising.  Now is a perfect time to begin thinking about summer themed promotions and to introduce your fans to products geared for the summer season.  Tailor your product or service to the summer season and create a fun promotion that encourages them to use your brand.  Take advantage of what is top of mind for your fans and incorporate these ideas into your prizes. This could be a free beach getaway, fun and practical ways to stay cool, summer concerts and barbeques, and summer clothing.

It is a great idea to use the many summer holidays as a theme for your campaign.  There are many different audiences you can target when focusing on specific holidays or events.  One event that has a large target audience is graduation and the end of the school year.  Students anticipate the summer holiday all year and it is a perfect opportunity to capture their attention with a fun contest or sweepstakes.  Father’s Day is another holiday that provides a great opportunity for a promotion.  These promotions can incorporate photo or video contests that capture a father-son or father-daughter moment and can include great gifts and products for Dad to enjoy. The 4th of July is also another holiday that has a huge audience. The 4th of July is a holiday that incorporates events such as fireworks, barbeques, and parades.  These events are great opportunities to focus your promotion on.

Get your audience involved with summer themed photo or video contests that encourage them to document how they are enjoying the sun.  For more information on fun ways to engage fans contact us today!


The End is Just the Beginning

Just because your promotion has ended doesn’t mean you can drop the ball; there is still plenty of work to be done.  It is important to follow through with your promotion and continue to connect with your fans.  Your promotion has most likely established new or stronger relationships with your fans and it is important to act on these relationships.

One way to celebrate your fans is to send out an email to all of the participants and offer them a reward for engaging with your brand. This could be in the form of a coupon or a discount code, a preview of an upcoming product, etc.  It is also important to celebrate the winner of your promotion by announcing their win on your social media channels and displaying their entry in a gallery, a blog post, or your personal website.

Your next step should be to follow up and study the results of your promotion.  Measure your success by measuring the Return on Investment (ROI).  This way you will understand the impact of your social media marketing efforts.  Identify any trends to understand how your audience interacts with your business. Find out what resonates well with your audience and what information was disappointing and unexpected.  The research process is equally as important in this stage as it is in the planning stage.  All of these results can help you to optimize your social marketing campaigns in the future.


March Madness Promotion

March Madness is here and now is the time to run a march madness promotion that will capitalize on its popularity and on the excitement the tournament brings. When the NCAA tournament begins, brands will be ready to take advantage of the hype in a similar way that they did during Super Bowl season.

The greatest advantage marketers have during the March Madness season is the engagement of the fans.  Most fans include college students and alumni who heavily support their teams.  Millions of Americans enthusiastically fill out tournament brackets and stay up to date on every game.  The big difference between March Madness and the Super Bowl is that the NCAA basketball tournament begins with 64 teams in the run to become champion, verses the two football teams competing for champion in the Super Bowl.  Because the men’s basketball tournament runs for so long, there is a greater period of time for brands to engage fans in fun promotions.

One idea is to engage fans with a photo contest that prompts them to dress up or to decorate their space in honor of their favorite team. It is a good idea to give away prizes that tie in basketball with your company or brand.  Encourage fans to visit your company website to take part in a bracket contest. Give away prizes to those who pick the most games correctly.  Take advantage of the excitement that is generated around March Madness and join the conversation that your fans have already started.

For more information on how to run a contest or sweepstakes contact us today


Maintaining Momentum for your Campaign

Interacting with consumers and fans in ongoing dialogue is what social media marketing revolves around.  When launching a campaign this dialogue remains a priority from beginning to end and is essentially what will keep the campaign going.  One of the big challenges when running a campaign on social media is that it is easy to start the conversation and just as easy to stop it.  Running a successful campaign relies on maintaining momentum; but how do you do this successfully?

Here are 5 tips to help your campaign maintain momentum:

  1. Design for participation- Make sure that your promotion is designed to fully engage your fans and to encourage them to actively participate with your brand. Photo and video contests are a great way to ensure creative engagement.
  2. Get Personal- Create personal conversations with fans that enter your contest by tweeting to them, posting to their Facebook page, or by writing about their entry in your blog.  This social media communication shows your fans you notice and appreciate their entry and engagement.
  3. Constantly update your fans- Post updates about the promotion on your social media channels and personal website.  In order for fans to stay engaged they need to have all the facts. This can include sharing key milestones such as finalists being selected, just reached 100 or 10,000 entries, or even fun facts about the brand.  Post quality content about your campaign and your brand on a consistent basis.
  4. Announce daily giveaways and winners- by posting the winners on your social media channels you are encouraging your fans to continue to visit your social media pages and check in with the brand.
  5. Schedule posts- set up posts ahead of time and schedule when you would like them to go live.  This is a great way to ensure that all of the information gets posted and that the posts are spread out.

It is important to keep your fans interested in your promotion and in extension, your brand.  By incorporating these ideas into your marketing strategy you will create a continuous conversation that is rewarding for both you and your fans.


Building Excitement Before You Launch Your Promotion

There are many steps to take when creating a promotion.  One important step to highlight is engineering the success of your campaign from the very beginning by getting the word out and building excitement before the promotion launches.  A promotion does not go viral on its own, the strategy goes further than just creating the promotion and letting your fans do all of the work.

In order to generate maximum awareness of your promotion it is a great idea to plan a media strategyPlanning posts across social media channels is a great place to start.  These posts should be easily shareable so fans can spread the message on their own social media. They should be an exciting announcement of your upcoming promotion offering all of the essential information and should include an incentive for your fans to become involved.   One great idea is to offer extra opportunities to enter the promotion and win prizes that coincide with their sharing activity.  For example, offer an extra entry into the contest if your fans share the promotional message with five friends.  This is a great way to get your fans to spread the message before the promotion begins and to get them engaged and excited.  If your message reaches enough people at the beginning it will eventually begin to spread itself.  The most important thing to remember is to make your announcement post exciting and worth sharing.  Using imagery can be useful in this step.

Another great way to spread the message is to send out an email to all of your fans and customers who have an email subscription.  This email should be similar to your social media posts in that they include the important information on the contest and where to find it when it launches.  This email can also include links to your website announcement and here they can share the message on social media.

A press release is another great way to reach a large audience and get the message out about your upcoming promotion.  It is also a great way to display all of the information about the promotion and talk about how the promotion relates to your brand and products.  Search advertising, display ads, and Facebook ads are all great ways to spread the message about your promotion as well.

After posting about the upcoming promotion on your social media channels and spreading the message via email and a press release, you can go a step further and find bloggers or other brands who will write about your promotion and your story on their own blogs and websites.  If you have made your story and your promotion exciting and shareable than the promotion will be easy to find when the time comes for the official launch.  It is up to you to make the initial efforts to create awareness.  You can reach new fans and followers by utilizing ads and reaching out to influential people in your community who can help spread the word. Remember, any touch point you have with a fan or potential fan is an opportunity to promote your contest or sweepstakes.



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.