We’ve all heard the phrase before – “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner”. It’s most commonly associated with Vegas and betting; a quick Google search shows it most likely evolved from a time when Las Vegas casinos had a 3 piece chicken dinner with potato and veggies for $1.79. A standard bet back then was $2.00, hence when you won a bet you had enough for a chicken dinner. For our purposes here today, I’m using it to tell you how to provide a little prize to get big returns (pretty much like Vegas but without all the noise…)
The concept of contests and prizes isn’t necessarily new to the social media world or to most businesses, big or small. Unfortunately, non-profits, and especially their events, might be hesitant to use a contest due to a “cost” association. However, you can actually run low- to no-cost contests that will garner follower interaction, increased followers and an embracing attitude from fans.
Three Social Media Contest Suggestions
Fan Photo Submissions
- The Ask: Ask Fans/Followers to submit photos for voting by other fans. The photos can be of any subject you like, such as past event attendance, what they’re going to wear, their pet, favorite ice cream, eating at a participating restaurant, wearing a certain color, or their kids.
- The Method: Fans can submit pictures to your FB page WALL and that will create a Fan Photos album. Other fans can then LIKE the various pictures. The one with the most LIKES – WINS! You might have to layout these instructions on your website or an FBML tab in your FB page.
- The Prize: The winning photograph can be used on the website, in the next year’s invitation, or in the brochure/program – essentially, anywhere people will be able to see it for a long period of time. Be sure you give the provider credit and be sure to get permission from the photos subject if not the provider themself (for instance, if I were to submit a picture of my company’s attendees to an event, a use permission should come from the individuals or at least from the company overall).
- The Get: For running this simple, yet effective, contest, the event gets lots of fan interaction, possible new fans, and new photos to use (there’s nothing that says you can’t contact non-winners to use their pics!)
- The Cost: FREE! You’re not spending anything on the ask, the method or really on the prize.
- CAUTIONS: Don’t OVER promise where the picture will be used, like “prominently on the event website” or “on the front cover of the brochure” – you may end up with a winning picture that doesn’t fit your aesthetics or you aren’t comfortable displaying.
- Variations: Video submissions are definitely all the rage. The Method and Prize can be the same basic ideas. For a race/run, you can ask for artistic submissions (not photos) for the race shirt or other race memorabilia. Winner gets to be included within the overall shirt design (again, make no promises about it being THE shirt design or you could get yourself in trouble…) You can also do weekly contests where the winning picture is used as your FB profile picture.
- Example: Oreo Cookies has a “World’s Fan of the Week” contest where they select pictures from those submitted or tagged by their fans. The next step that an event could take is to ask people to LIKE those pictures. (on the link above, look at the pictures under the “Photos and Videos of Oreo” header to see fan photos).
Tweet & Retweet
- The Ask: Tweet a simple message and ask your followers (and their followers and their followers followers) to retweet the same message.
- The Method: On Twitter simply repeat your basic message several times during a certain time period – one specific day or over a week. Each time, be sure to ask followers to RETWEET for a chance at a prize.
- The Prize: The winner(s) is selected at random from everyone who tweeted. The prize can be anything from a t-shirt or other memorabilia to a race entry or special race bib to free ticket(s) to the event. It all depends on how much you want to put out in terms of cost.
- The Get: Depending on the number of followers and followers of followers, you get additional exposure for the event. The longer the contest runs, the more exposure.
- The Cost: Anywhere from nothing to the cost of the tickets. Really depends on how much you want to spend on this one.
- CAUTIONS: Be sure to use the same hashtag on each retweet ask. This will make it easier to search and know who has tweeted it. However, when you search be sure to search not only the hashtag but your event name and the actual tweet content. Try to be as inclusive as possible.
- Variations: Include a form on your website where retweeters must log their name, twitter handle and specific retweet URL. Use this only if you want to limit the potential winners (for higher dollar contests) or to better track all those retweets. For run/races, you can offer a special ribbon or sticker for all who tweet your message – they need to include their bib number in the tweet if they know in advance OR print and show their retweet at packet pickup.
Just Check In
- The Ask: Remind attendees and runners to “check-in” at a specific location using one specific Location service (suggested: Foursquare). The check-in location is preferably the event itself or for a race at packet pickup (since many runners may not have their phones at the actual race).
- The Method: Create a specific venue for the event or race. Be sure to claim the venue in advance and be sure it’s been approved. Then, create a special for that venue. It should be one that is unlocked on the first check-in AND only runs for a specific time period.
- The Prize: This prize will be need to be immediate, so have something that you can give immediately to your followers. For a gala or luncheon event, this could be a special token like a light up pin or an imprinted photo frame. For a run/race, this could be something simple from a sticker or ribbon for their race bib or something more substantial like an imprinted water bottle.
- The Get: As many people push their location check-ins to Facebook and Twitter in addition to the service itself, you’re getting your name out there more and more. For a run, especially, you’re getting reminders out there about packet pickup.
- The Cost: This one could really sneak up on you. You have to assume the number of people who will check-in and be prepared for all of them (although you could cap it at something like “the first 250 people”) However, if you don’t reach your cut-off number, you spent money on unclaimed prizes as well.
- CAUTIONS: Really assess your audience before using this option. You could set yourself up for a financial loss, although hopefully minimal. Be sure your followers will actually embrace this idea!
- Variations: Work with others to do comparative check-ins. Ask them to offer specials within a certain time frame if guests can show their event check-in. For instance, two events I work with have multiple restaurants providing the food at the event – the restaurants could offer a free drink or appetizer if the patron shows their event check-in.
I’m sure there are many other ways to promote your event through social media contests and specials. I’d really love to hear what you’ve tried and had work/not work in the past.
Here’s to hearing that winning phrase over and over – “Winner Winner CHICKEN DINNER!” 🙂