10/12 – #Cmgrchat Community Contests

One of the best ways to get engagement out of your community is to offer up some form of a contest.  There are hundreds of different ways to do this, and there are obviously best practices at work by some of the best.   However, before you start any contest of any kind, make sure you’re aware of the Terms of Service (TOS) of the platform you’re using if you’re doing it on an unowned property (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).   See below for some of the greatest How To’s and Why’s:

Q1) How do you set up a good contest? Tips/tricks/timing/prizes? What platforms are best?

momnonstop We use Facebook for most of ours, or connecting with an industry specific blogger to help co-host

sue_anneYou need to have something that a) either appeals to your current demographic or b) the demographic you’re trying to reach

sue_anne Also, if you’re a big org and giving out a substantial prize, make sure you’re following the legal rules (state & fed)

mbhahn a good contest will involve your entire community if its internal and be open to everyone else if its external. accessibility

Shananigans5 It depends on what your goals are for the contest – are you trying to increase FB fan following etc

debngA contest should be relevant to the entire community and not only a select group

justicewordlaw bring in some guest people that are big in your industry to really spark some interest

vargaslPlan. Plan. Plan. You have to research rules of engagement for all platforms

debngTo host a contest first, it’s important to understand the community’s demographics. Likes, wants, needs etc

primesuspect You also have to be wary of “fly-by” community members who come JUST for the contest and then leave

rontoledo Be sure to research the difference between contest, giveaway, sweepstakes, etc. There is a difference.

primesuspect You also have to be careful about what you’ll do in case of “gaming” the system: A person cheats, etc. Have a plan

AliHillmanI really like using@storify for Twitter contests, hashtags are easy to find and present, social media story telling at it’s best!

mhandy1 Yea its best to hire an agency for contests…protect yourself legally

Q2. When are the best times to do a contest (time of day/week/year)…and what are the best parameters?

ATT_JamCoincide w/ major holidays, school starting/ending and be SUPER clear about deadlines

AliHillmanWeekdays at 11AM, 3PM and 8PM = biggest Facebook spike times

mbhahn that depends on the type of contest or theme. What is the contest built around? Giving enough time is key to any promotion

debng It depends on the community, the brand, the contest. If it’s a gift card giveaway, holidays are best. Vacation = summer, etc

AnjelusX While it does depend on kind, brand, and audience, look at peek user times and when they are looking for something extra

JohnRQuinn Running contests seasonally is a good idea, leading up to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. Big events work too

JmodioAnniversaries & birthdays of the company or brand

jonjohns65 I’m Jon from O’Reilly Media, just learned about @SCVNGR this weekend. Might be fun to use with contests…

evanhamiltonYeah. We used Offerpop, another top contender was Wildfire. Their job is to fit Facebook and legal guidelines

Q3. What are the benefits of doing a contest for your company/brand and for your community?

primesuspect It really energizes the community. It also allows sponsors to form different kinds of relationships with potential fans

momnonstop Engagement, new publicity through new followers, wider fan base, feedback

evanhamilton Contests are a great way to get great content – photos, stories, etc – and do something fun with your community

justicewordlaw or thanking your existing community for the engagement and assistance they have helped you with

JohnRQuinn Benefits are involvement with the community, positive word of mouth and feedback. Use contests to get feedback!

mbhahnInternally your motivating your community , externally your reaching out to new sources for new members

Historian:  Brand Awareness, Social Velocity, Engagement and Fun Experience for everyone

aperl23 Our goals are conversions, retention, engagement and social sharing about our new programs

pushingvision Increases sense of belonging w/in cmty, feeling special. Goes back to tribe mentality

JGfromOC the caveat to running a contest though is to make sure both the contest and prizes engage your user’s wants and needs

Q4. What are some of the most memorable contests you’ve seen & why?

debng I like contests where participants get creative and show their talent over contests where everyone just comments.

Shananigans5 I’m a big fan of the Pepsi Refresh project too, the charity angle is fantastic

TwistedEdge The best contests I’ve seen are all offline. Interact with the community on a human level and it will be more fun

GraphicDesignNY The Doritos campaigns with user generated content is pretty popular. The best get aired on broadcast TV

JPeddeI dislike contests on twitter that have the “First to respond, wins!” mentality. Doesn’t encourage community engagement

debng And I can’t stand “comment” contests where people just say “I want to win” or “thank you” in the comments. I mean, come on


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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.