By Guest Blogger Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk
Contests are the heart of social promotions today and are a great way to create buzz, awareness and engage followers and fans. Receiving discounts and promotions, including entering sweepstakes and contests, is one of the top reasons today that people will "Like" a business Facebook page.
The term contests and sweepstakes are used quite often interchangeably when referring to any type of chance to win promotion. However, there are big differences between the two. Sweepstakes are conducted by a random drawing and the odds are based on the number of people that enter. Contests on the other hand are not games of chance, but instead are based on a degree of individual skill. The most common now include user-generated content such as photo, video, essay, recipe and design contests.
Here's an example of a contest that I worked on with a client that is currently running on their Facebook page. The Pure Bar Vegetarian Recipe Contest is offering a chance for one of their fans to win a culinary experience in New York City. Each week, for six weeks, Pure Bar is featuring a different theme in which fans are invited to submit a vegetarian recipe based on that theme. Currently the contest is in week 2 and the theme is Appetizers. Each submission must include an overall description of the recipe along with instructions and it's ingredients and measurements. An optional photo can also be submitted.
The submissions can be viewed here on the Pure Bar Website. Pure Bar is giving away weekly prizes as well which include a $50 Whole Foods Gift Card and 3 boxes of Pure Bars. At the conclusion of each week all submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges who are evaluating them on the following criteria: 25% on uniqueness, 25% on simplicity and 50% on taste. At the end of the contest the judges will choose one Grand Prize winner from the 6 weekly winners based on the same judging criteria.
Participants are encourage to share their entries with friends especially if there is a voting phase as part of the contest. Here's an example of another contest that we launched earlier this year for Alitalia that included voting. The Alitalia Iconic Italy Photo Contest invited their Facebook fans to share an iconic Italy photo for a chance to win two tickets to Italy on their airline. All the photos where displayed here in a gallery and people where invited to vote for their favorite. There was a total of 276 submissions.
In this case the public was invited to vote during the submission phase on the photo that they believed exemplified the best “Iconic Italy” photo. The Official Rules stated the criteria they should base their decision upon which was 50% connection to theme, 25% photo quality and 25% originality and creativity. There was a limit of one vote per person per day. Once the submission and voting phase ended then the judges picked the grand prize winner from the 5 submissions that had the most votes.
By including a judging element it helps to ensure that the grand prize goes to a submission that clearly follows the eligibility requirements and does not leave it totally up to a popularity contest. Here was the winning "Iconic Photo" by Catherine Wygal from Sherman Oaks, California, who is now on her way to Italy.
These two contests are both great examples of how they help to reinforce the brand. If you decide to run a contest be prepared to receive fewer entries versus just running a sweepstakes since you are asking people to do some work. The quantity will be lower, but the quality and engagement will be higher. Therefore, I usually recommend that if you are trying to build a fan base and add to your database, start with a sweepstakes. Once you've established a following, contests are a great tactic to engage with your fans and get them to help spread the word for you.