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!



Finish Strong: Launch a Q4 Promotion!

If you want to get more Facebook likes and generate social media buzz, a contest or sweepstakes is a great way to accomplish your goals. With 2012 rapidly coming to a close, a fourth quarter promotion can help you end the year on a high note and build momentum for 2013.

As the holidays are fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get your audience engaged with your brand to ensure you are top of mind during the peak shopping season. A sweepstakes can help build awareness of your brand or a specific product you’d like to promote and with our new viral referral incentive you can ensure your promotion has the built-in features that make it easy for people to share with their friends. Right now is also a great time for a contest, as photos and stories are an integral part of the holiday season.

Remember to keep your promotion easy to enter, offer a great prize and keep it all relevant to your brand and your audience. Here are some of our favorite holiday promotions from previous seasons to help inspire you.

Brooks Running created a fun and quirky holiday promotion that asked fans to upload awkward family photos for a chance to win.

Champs Sports Scratch and Win promotion engaged fans during the peak holiday season

Pier 39 ran a sweepstakes to promote their Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Homage jewelry asked fans to upload a Christmas photo for their chance to win a beautiful necklace during the holiday season.

Need help getting started? Download our free guide to Facebook contests & sweepstakes.

We’re also giving away a free month of UNLIMITED promotions to help you grow and engage your audience. Just answer a few questions for your chance to win!


Viral Social Sweepstakes: Simple Fan Activation

Votigo’s basic sweeps app now has a viral referral feature that makes this simple promotion app even more useful in reaching your social marketing goals.

So…what are the goals of your social marketing?  Most likely they go something like:

  • Engage your fans on all social channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and where ever they are
  • Find new fans- especially through viral influence from your current ones
  • Reward your fans for their attention
  • Improve their awareness of your brand, your products and offerings
  • And ultimately, convert social fans into customers!

That’s a tall order, and it takes a consistent, always-on effort to achieve it. There are no shortcuts.

But if you want to take action today toward these goals, the single most-effective thing you can do is to run a Facebook Sweepstakes, and ask your fans to share it on Facebook, Twitter, email and all relevant channels.

With low barriers to entry, an incentive to share and spread the word, and simple set up, social giveaways are still one of the most effective ways to engage and grow your audience and collect email addresses for future marketing.

Even though we’ve expanded the capabilities of our social marketing platform, we continue to focus on our promotions apps, adding features and flexibility that make them more viral and better for engaging your audience. We believe promotions are the core for engaging your audience.

A sweeps might be the simplest type of promotion to launch. Here are a few other reasons to consider a Sweeps:

Easy For You: If you have a prize, simple rules, and a header graphic, you can set up a sweeps in minutes

Easy For Them: Sweeps have the lowest barriers to entry. You’re asking very little of your audience…although you should take advantage of the opportunity to ask them Custom Registration questions to gain feedback or further demographic data

Great Ice Breaker: Not really engaging your fans, or struggling to find things to Post or Tweet about? A sweeps gives you a natural hook and something to post about

Viral: Sweepstakes aren’t naturally viral, but with Referral Incentive feature like the one we just added to our basic sweeps, participants now have a reason to share your branded sweeps with their friends: every entry they refer automatically gains them an additional entry

Cross Channel: It’s really easy to create a Facebook Sweepstakes that is also mobile-optimized, embedded onto your website or blog, and shared from Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and your other key channels. From some premium work, you can easily integrate Instagram and other social channels, too

Like-Gated: Votigo’s basic sweeps include this Facebook sweeps option; we still see it as the simplest way to expand your Facebook audience

A Gateway to Activation: As an ice breaker, it’s natural to follow a short giveaway with more elaborate social promotions, like a user-generated photo contest.  Meanwhile, you can directly activate anyone who enters your sweeps by sending them a coupon, sneak preview, invitation or whatever else will help you convert social fans as customers

Sweepstakes have been a marketing staple for decades.  It’s no surprise they’re equally effective on social media. So as you expand your always-on social marketing strategy, plan more elaborate campaigns and increase your analysis of social marketing ROI, don’t forget this staple of social activation.



Design Tips for Contests and Sweepstakes

Running a Facebook contest or sweepstakes is a great way to boost engagement on social channels and grow your audience. There are many variables to consider when you decide to run contests and sweepstakes. One of the biggest opportunities for making your promotion standout is with your design. Great design can increase the number of entries you receive, improve engagement and help your promotion get noticed. We’ve put together some design tips for contests and sweepstakes that will ensure your promotion is a success. Download the free tip sheet now!



How to get more Facebook Likes

We’ve often asked how a brand can get more Facebook likes and grow their social media audience. It’s a great question and one that will get a wide variety of responses depending on who you ask. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways that you can get more Facebook likes. Luckily, these tips will also help you build a community of engaged fans – so you’ll be getting way more than just “likes”. Ready to get started?



Halloween: A Time for Candy and Contests

Few holidays have such a strong visual component as Halloween, making it the perfect opportunity for brands to engage their fans with a photo or video contest. Consider if your brand would benefit from a fun holiday promotion. Does your audience participate in Halloween? Do your fans like to dress-up?

Get creative and consider how your brand 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 fans engaged. A Facebook 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.

Need help getting started? Check out our guide to Facebook contests and sweepstakes.


Customer Q & A Session with Robin Leedy & Associates

Robin Leedy & Associates is a Votigo customer who launched client Conair’s “Make Waves, Get Raves” summer-themed Facebook Sweepstakes to promote the brand’s featured appliances to achieve beach wave looks every day. The giveaway ran for 10 days total, with one winner chosen per day. Each winner received a beach chic prize pack with Conair hair styling appliances and brushes, scünci hair accessories, a plush beach towel, nail polish, water-proof mascara, and SPF makeup – all packaged in a cute beach tote.

Here at Votigo, we love to not only share successful campaigns, but also goals, metrics and best practices of our customers so that you may recognize the benefits of running social media promotions.

V: Did you have goals going into the campaign?

RLAPR: Our goal was to increase theConair Facebook fan base among targeted hair enthusiasts while promoting several featured Conair hair appliances for summer styles. The products and timing were very relevant to the season and the current/expanding Conair social community.  We were also able to cross-promote this giveaway on the scünci Facebook page , which is also a Conair Corporation brand, allowing for more targeted exposure of the giveaway and messaging.

V: How do you measure success- including the Facebook metrics and whatever else you look at?

RLAPR: We measure the success of the campaign through several items. We take into account the number of entries, how many new Facebook fans we received, how many shares we received for the Facebook giveaway posts, how many people were talking about the page, and how many blog posts we received mentioning the giveaway. We never do a giveaway for the sake of a giveaway…it all MUST relate to the brand’s messaging and social goals, so each giveaway works harder than just a few posts on the Facebook wall.

V: How has the response been?

RLAPR: Our response rate is very high and exceeded our goals for such a quick promotion.  We do not like giveaways on Facebook to run for long periods of time.  We don’t want to take consumers out of the purchase cycle forever because they think they might win the product instead.

V: How did you start integrating social media and how successful have you been to date?

RLAPR: Robin Leedy & Associates has been integrating social media since 2007. We’ve been very successful with working with thousands of bloggers, creating and managing clients’ Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube channels, creating and distributing videos, and launching numerous contests/sweepstakes, etc.  Like a giveaway, social media is not put in a silo. It is a mix within the brand’s marketing efforts because it then makes all the dollars go further.

V: What is your most successful social marketing project / campaign / effort to date?

RLAPR: Honestly, that would be like picking our favorite kid.  We have had many successful social marketing projects and their budgets were very varied.  One of our more successful and low cost ones was for Sea-Band anti-nausea bands  where the brand was ONLY doing social for our project period we could see its positive impact on sales, web traffic, etc.  Many times, our clients are doing a mix of marketing efforts, so it is hard to exactly measure the role of social media alone. We did bring the Softlips Facebook page to the one million fan mark earlier this year, and that was very special for us as a small agency…and we did it on a very efficient spend, as well.

V: Favorite tools & keys to success?

RLAPR: As far as social giveaways, our key to success is to make sure that all of the giveaways we run for our clients are done through Facebook sanctioned apps like Votigo. There are a lot of “illegal” giveaways that are done on Facebook, such as LIKES to a post or random comments chosen as winners. That doesn’t screen for age (COPPA rules), and creates privacy/legal issues.  If you are going to use sweeps and contests to market your Facebook page, do them in the way that protects your client vs. exposes them to legal issues or those that contradict Facebook policy.  Our overall key to success is to stay abreast of trends not only in the social/digital landscape, but the consumer mindset.  If you never heard of the term ZMOT, Google it.

V: How did you first find out about Votigo and what specific promotions have you run to date?

RLAPR: We found out about Votigo when we were searching for a more graphically-pleasing user interface for FB sweeps than our previous provider.  In the past several months, we’ve run more than 20 sweepstakes and contests for a variety of clients with Votigo and have been really happy with the set-up, costs, functionality and design.


5 Key Findings from the Most Successful Promotions

hanes2We’ve put together a short list of key findings we’ve found from some the most successful promotions powered by Votigo. If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration, check out our case studies to see what the top brands and companies are doing to drive engagement.

1) Events drive engagement. Some of our most successful customers run frequent, event-driven social media promotions around holidays, business events, and other date milestones. For example, Halloween is just around the corner. Would your brand benefit from running a Facebook photo contest around Halloween to engage your fans?

2) Local marketers – businesses with destinations or physical locations – thrive on promotions that contain a call-to-action to visit the location. Give your audience a reason to visit your location by creating a tie-in with your contest or sweepstakes. You could ask fans to take a photo at your store and upload it to your Facebook contest app.

3) The most engaging and successful promotions are the ones that promote to an existing audience in at least one other channel– emails, blogs, tweets, ads, and more. Reach out to your fans throughout the duration of your promotion.

4) You’ve got to have a great prize! $25 gift cards don’t cut it. Swag doesn’t cut it. Giveaway something valuable, cash, product or something unique! Sometimes the coolest prizes don’t cost the most money – they are just limited or exclusive products or opportunities.

5) You need to allow time. Make sure you are giving your fans enough time to enter your contest – it can take fans several weeks to put together a video entry or pic the right photo. Make sure you give them that opportunity.

What other keys to success have you found when running promotions?



A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…or Likes

Generating quality content is a hot topic in the social media space for brands and agencies alike. They are constantly evolving their social media marketing strategy to better engage their current audience and attract new fans on Facebook. In an era where content is king, it’s hard to determine which specific type of content will receive the most engagement. This may be the reason why we see such a vast variety of content posts; brands are testing to see which type receives the most “likes,” comments and shares. What is your opinion?

While Facebook users are receptive to different types of content, various studies have shown that the primary media commanding the most attention and interaction is photos. A picture is of one of the simplest and most effective ways a brand can capture attention because it is more visually appealing than a status update or link post. Think about it this way, when you scroll through your newsfeed what usually captures your attention and makes you pause for reaction? PHOTOS. It allows for a more immediate emotional reaction from users on Facebook thus urging them to engage by commenting, liking or sharing your post.

Now that brands are aware of this fact, they can and should use this to their advantage! Here are some great ideas to kick start your efforts:

Try posting a unique photo with a question attached. This will drive dialogue with your fans and encourage them to interact and share with their friends! Behind the scenes photos are also great – they give fans a view into the personal side of your business. Aspirational photos and product photos are also great options for driving engagement. Try out different types of photos and see what your audience responds to.

If you’re looking to increase engagement even further, consider running a Facebook photo contest. A photo contest is a great way to not only interact with your fans directly, but to also increase your fan base, acquire data and receive great images for use in future marketing efforts. A unique theme and/or great prize will ensure entries and drive engagement! Learn more about how to run a Facebook contest.

So, if you are wondering how to increase engagement on your Facebook page, trying using photos! Product photos, aspirational photos and behind the scenes photos are all popular choices. To really engage fans and grow your social presence, run a photo contest – your fans will love to browse entries and they will have an incentive to share their photos as well.



3 Ways To Get More Entries in Your Contest

Running a social media promotion is a great way to engage your audience and grow your fan base. We are always seeing and sharing best practices with our most successful customers in terms of audience engagement. There are always lessons to learn and areas to improve upon. Consider these possibilities and see how they can make your next promotion a huge success that will exceed your expectations and get more entries!

1)      Promote It

In order to garner entries and votes, you need to actively promote your promotion to your existing audience, and possibly to a larger audience by utilizing display ads. 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. For more information on promoting your promotions check out this recent post.

2)      Offer an Enticing Prize

People enter promotions for a chance to win a great prize, so make sure your prize is great! The best prizes are relevant to your brand, and resonate with your audience. Making the prize a limited or once in a lifetime opportunity can help build excitement and get more entries. Offering a low value prize or a generic prize is a common mistake, so always keep in mind the value of your prize in relation to what you are asking of the user. This leads us to our #3 reason why you didn’t get entries in your contest.

3)      Lower the Barriers

You always need to keep in mind what barriers to entry exist within your promotion. In other words, the more you ask of a user, the less likely they will be to enter. Of course, volume of entries is not always the most important metric, so consider what your goals and objectives are. If you want maximum engagement of a few die-hard fans, then asking them to create a short video for your Facebook video contest may work perfectly. If you are looking to grow your audience and get lots of entries, a sweepstakes is going to have the lowest barrier of entry because all you are asking of the user is for them to enter their email address. Something to keep in mind with a photo contest or video contest is how difficult it is for the entrant to produce the photo or video. In some cases, you may be asking for a photo type that an entrant would likely already have on file – such as a baby photo. If you ask for a photo of user holding your product while dancing…well, they are going to have to produce that photo specifically for your promotion, which takes more effort.

Crafting a successful social media promotion takes some planning and strategy, but it is well worth the time and effort up front to ensure your promotion meets your expectations. Always put yourself in your fans’ shoes, would you want to enter your promotion? If you can proudly answer yes to that question, you’re well on your way to a great promotion!