Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Makes a GREAT On-Line Contest?

Contests, Competitions, and On-Line Campaigns are the rage ... period. Some soar because they are unique and buzzworthy, some make the grade simply because the brand behind the contest is "too big to fail", no matter how lame the "contest" actually is, and the rest pretty much pitter out, don't make enough noise, and die a lonely death.

So, let's quickly examine: What Makes a GREAT Contest?

To me, it boils down to 3 Key factors ...

1) Is the contest SUPER easy for users to participate in? Are they entering a contest simply by logging on to Twitter or Facebook OR are you making them create a new log in and password for some newly existing site? Make it easy breezy guys and gals ... and use tools that leverage where the crowds are already gathered.

2) Does YOUR contest ask a human to act like a human OR act like a robot? This is HUGE! Are you actually asking for participation from your crowd, or just asking them to re-tweet something for you? Here is a GREAT example: Singer Songwriter Jack Johnson recently ran this campaign.

Simple, clean, and to their credit it worked well enough. It asked people to simply Re-Tweet their message and by doing so, earn a free MP3 for his new upcoming single. OK, so Mashable picked this up so obviously it worked right? Wrong, Mashable picked this up BECAUSE his personal brand (Jack Johnson's) is "Too Big to Fail" regardless of the actual SM campaign, HE is buzzworthy, that is NOT the case for 99% of the brands out there.

Wouldn't a campaign that REALLY engaged Jack Johnson fans on meaningful levels worked far better? Of course it would have. Instead of asking people to RT a message, brands should be engaging their followers. In this example, they could have posed the question: "What is YOUR favorite Jack Johnson song of all time and tell us why?" ... or even MORE granular ... "What is YOUR favorite Jack Johnson lyric of all time and what does it mean to YOU?" ... Now, you've got meaning, a real reason for a fan to participate alongside a brand, bake in a voting aspect and you've got SM gold . And if you're using the right SM tools crafted for contests, as these fans generate content, it is being spread for them by the apps. you are leveraging. And instead of just an MP3, they should have been giving ALL an MP3 PLUS a few select winners something TRULY special. A signed guitar, backstage passes to an upcoming concert ... something !!! But, they didn't have to, because he's Jack Johnson, but YOU are not ... So that leads us nicely into factor #3 ...

3) Make the prize or "social carrot" TRULY meaningful to your exact target demographic. If you can make it something money can not buy, even better!!! I've seen the events world now reward winners of contests an hour lunch with the event's keynote! That's meaningful to people ... that is a true reward that gets the masses in and keeps them talking about your contest and content. To date THE best "social carrot" I have seen was offered up from video game maker @FreeVerse
revolving around the release of their new iPhone game, Warp Gate. You can read the entire story here, but they ran a Twitter competition where the "social carrot" was that the winner got a planet in their game, named after them! How unique, how curious and targeted a reward! Kudos!!! ... This is a technique other brands should adopt straight away. If you're giving something away, make it something money can not buy, and if money can buy it, make it specifically targeted, a REAL reward your core demographic will get excited about. If they're excited about it, they will share it ... period.

Of course I offer all this up because I hope you are engaging in some SM contests for your brand (whichever vertical you are in) ... and if you are not, well then this was a small guideline and I hope it nudges you to get going. Brands that engage their fans on meaningful levels win ... and properly run contests should be part of your strategy of engagement.

As most of you know, my company has an App. built specifically for online SM campaigns and contests. We call it CrowdCampaign and it's a killer. Check it out here, and call or email me with any questions you may have on how to get going.


No comments: