When I was asked to run a photo contest for Photonic Health on their Facebook page earlier this year I got really excited. Since I quit my day job and began to dive into the world of online marketing, I have been learning everything that I possibly can about “How To Use Social Media for Business” and I was finally given a chance to head this project, I could hardly wait to start. After all, the best way to learn is by doing.
Here is the basis of the contest that I was given. The owners of the company, Bryan & Donna, were in need of a photo to complete their educational book that they are in the process of writing. They needed a shot of a horse’s underside in order to demonstrate the Conception Vessel on the animal. (If you don’t know what a conception vessel is I highly recommend leaning about acupuncture and eastern medicine in general) The best part, they were offering their Standard Photonic Red Light, a prize valued at $350! Not your typical prize for a Facebook photo contest. (Check out this Squidoo Lens I created to learn more about Photonic Light Therapy) The contest ended up being very successful but not without some major bumps in the road.
Here are the lessons that I learned running this photo contest:
1. Plan Ahead – I rushed right into things, making a standard post on Facebook announcing the Photo Contest without really thinking ahead. The contest called for a pretty difficult task in getting a horse to roll over and snapping the perfect shot. I initially gave people only one week to enter the contest and only allowed 3 entries per contestant. This clearly came off as amateur and after realizing this I started to see the big picture. We needed to have a pretty large selection of photos to choose from in order to get exactly what we were looking for. This lead to my next couple lessons.
2. Do Not Rush People – When I announced the contest would only run for a week, I wasn’t thinking about how people would react. I instantly got complaints about how people didn’t have time to take a photo of this sort & that they were upset because they couldn’t enter the contest. I was thinking that people would drop everything and try to win the amazing prize. I forgot that these people all had jobs and most only had little time to actually be with their animals. I ended up extending the contest two more weeks, but that too was not enough time. Their was clearly an interest in the contest but without adequate time to snap photos, many felt rushed and wouldn’t even try. So I ended up extending the contest 2 more times and the contest ran for over a month. In retrospect , it was foolish of me and came of as unprofessional to all of our page members.
3. Clearly State the Guidelines – With that initial post that I made, the rules for the contest were very basic and for some reason, I created a rule that only 3 entries were allowed per person. People began to submit photos but they were hardly what we were looking for. I ended up changing the guidelines in the middle of the contest to allow unlimited # of entries. Again coming off as if we had no clue how to run a contest. (I didn’t) Finally, I got smart and created an app on our page using the Static HTML App. Clearly put the instructions here and began to send out the link for this. After the mess I initially created we began to receive some quality submissions.
4. The Static HTML App can dramatically increase “likes” – After reading this post from Pat Flynn, I finally got smart and created a Static HTML App for the Facebook Page. The awesome part about this app is that you can create 2 different pages, one for those that don’t like your page and then one for those that do. So on the page for those that had yet to like Photonic Health I created an image that stated, “like us to enter our photo contest” with an arrow pointing to the “like” button. Once someone liked our page they were lead to the other page that had the guidelines for the contest as well as an example photo. This allowed me to share the link to the app in order to generate “likes” as well as stating the instructions on how to win our contest. I began to spread this link around facebook and twitter. In creating this App we were able to double our “likes” and inform those interested on the rules of the game.
5. Do Not Spam People To Enter Your Contest – After the Static HTML App was created I began to share the link with any & every Facebook page & Twitter handle that was related to horses. While this did result in a some additional “likes” to our page, it alienated others. I didn’t even think of it as spamming people until I got some sound advice from another blogger in the horse industry. She informed me that this was a good way to get blocked from Facebook pages or unfollowed from Twitter. Asking your Mailing List or other sponsors to spread the word is by far the best way to approach this. The greatest increase in “likes” came when a large company that we sponsor kindly posted our link on their FB page, not from the numerous posts that I made on other pages.
6. Thank Individuals That Took Time To Enter The Contest – Another big regret that I have is not taking the time to thank each individual that entered a photo. Had I done this small task, those that entered would be much more likely to continue interaction with us on the page in the future. Of course I created a generalized post that thanked everyone but that did not resonate with everyone the way a personalized comment on their photo would have. Taking the time to show people that their interactions with a company matter can create relationships and trust that will eventually lead to sales.
All in all, the contest was a huge success with over 100 entries and increasing our overall reach. With these lessons that I have learned there is no doubt that the future contests that I hold can be even more successful.
Please feel free to leave a comment and feedback.