Social Media Marketing and the Year of the Contest

Posted by on January 22, 2009 in Internet Marketing [ 3 Comments ]

Contests are genius and typically can create hysteria if done right. If you are looking for a way to get your business out there, this is it. Create a contest and give away money. Especially now.

Just type in ‘contest’ in Twitter and you’ll see thousands of people promoting some sort of contest. Contests are ideal for companies trying to brand, sell, or engage people. They give businesses a platform for developing a voice and spreading a message.  The key is to make the contest voteable so participants share with friends and friends of friends gaining even more traction to your site. With online marketing sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, and StumbleUpon, contests can go viral in a matter of minutes.

Before you run off and create one though, make sure you do it right in order to generate the publicity and buzz your business is looking for. For one, the ‘prize’ needs to be significant enough for anyone to care. Don’t even think about creating a contest to give away a book or you’ll be known for the hellacious contest creator. No one wants a free book – they want money.

Here’s a short list of killer contest conductors. Follow their lead if you want to do it right.

  • StartUp Nation. Between the Home-based 100 and the recently launched Leading Moms in Business in partnership with LadiesWhoLaunch, StartUp Nation doles out the correct amount of genius to make contests a success. The Home-based 100 contest drove thousands of participants and 249,000 votes were cast in support of contestants. Why? Because people tweeted, blogged, digged, widgeted, podcast’d, emailed, flickr’d. StartUp Nation finds a trend, targets the people following the trend and offers a big reward. Those Sloan brothers are whiz kids.
  • Ideablob. Lets members post brilliant schemes for starting up a business and the community votes each month. Winners receive $10,000 grant and can turn the business in to reality.
  • Zumanity. Recently announced a contest to create the next Zumanity game. The money here is small, but the real prize is significant for those people entering the contest: travel and accommodation plus VIP tickets to the show and backstage passes.
  • A band called Making April created a contest with Brickfish where entrants had to design a T-shirt and in return the band would write a song for the winner.  Results? Additional 100,000 hits to page in two weeks, winner got a shirt, a personal call from the band and song written.

3 thoughts on “Social Media Marketing and the Year of the Contest


  1. avatarWilliam

    I’ve been running a social media contest with two chances to win $500 in promotional products. I’ve only got a few days left, and I haven’t had much response (especially on Twitter).. Any ideas?

    I am really stuck on how to promote it, and nothing I’ve done has worked. Trying to scramble the last few days here to get some interest.

    Contest details here: http://blog.powertexgroup.com


  2. avatarBetsy Brottlund Post author

    First step – prize has to be big. Second step – give a reason for contest goers to promote it by engaging your audience to vote. Just giving aware items isn’t going to create enthusiasm or excitement. But, if people have to work to get the items (ask friends to vote, etc.), those people will be promoting the contest and you’ll have that much more traffic to your site.



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