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Recently I introduced some of the I-COM team to the Walkers 'Whats that flavour' crisps and the potential to win a cool 50k for correctly guessing the flavour and entering the competition through Facebook. At least 10 (maybe more) bags of crisps later, more than 10 random guesses though the Walkers snazzy, animated Facebook app and alas, yesterday I discovered we arent winners. What struck me with the Walkers promotion was the simplicity - buy a bag of crisps, guess the flavour, enter via Facebook as many times as you like, big fat cash prize and a serious addiction to Walkers mystery crisps. Pretty simple.
This execution not only drove sales but encouraged interaction, engagement and conversation both online and offline. Walkers say it received 793,000 entries through Facebook and although not all companies will have big brands, product advocacy and even bigger budgets, the simplicity of this competitions’ execution really stood out.
Despite being on a losing streak, I went on to enter a competition through the fashion site USC with the hope of winning an all expenses paid trip to NYC. On the face of it, the competition was clear - choose a Converse themed outfit on the competition page app, fill in some details, post to Facebook and entry submitted. No. Read the small print. The competitoin requires you to get 'likes' in order to win a 'daily draw', the daily draw winners with the most likes overall are then entered into a prize draw for the grand prize.
What? I read the small print again. Still it didnt make sense. Nor was the execution through to Facebook any clearer. No enagagement, no real shareability, no strong brand references to USC or Converse and at no point throughout this confusing process was I encouraged to browse or buy any Converse products. I'm still not sure if I have any chance of winning this amazing prize they offer? So based on both good and bad experiences of social media competitions I started to draw up a competition check list for anyone considering a competition through Facebook, or Twitter or any social channel;
1) Establish very clear objectives
Is the competiton a mechanic to gather data? Increase fans? Increase brand awareness? Drive sales? Launch a new product? Appeal to a new audience? Be clear on what you want to achieve and plan the execution with this as the focus.
2) If using Facebook, adhere to the rules
Facebook can actually shut down a competition that doesn’t comply with its guidelines, they don’t overcomplicate it so its worth reading first and establishing your mechanic and how it would work within Facebook.
3) Plan for any issues that may arise up front
Ensure that any publicity you get is positive, entrants should be in no doubt of the competition terms – be clear, be fair, be legal and avoid any controversy from disgruntled entrants further down the line.
4) Consider your audience and the most appropriate format for them
There’s no point in running a competition that alienates your target audience – for example, would your audience engage and participate if the entry mechanic was a video upload? Might it be better to use a ‘tag photo’ submission instead? Consider where your audience is and how best to get them to interact and enter.
5) Make it as simple as possible to enter
Carefully consider data capture and the information you want to gather from entrants, but don’t make it difficult. Simple entry forms and data capture forms work best. Make it as quick and easy as possible whilst still getting the data you want / response you need.
6) Consider your prize carefully
Setting realistic objectives and a realistic budget is key – you can’t expect thousands of new fans on Facebook, a million retweets or a few hundred thousand entries if your prize is a measly £20 gift card. Prizes don’t have to cost the earth but think about offering exclusive products, unique, money-can’t-buy experiences and any highly desirable items that people lust after.
7) Make sharing easy
Consider how the entrants ‘share’ their entry, make it easy for people to post to Facebook, tweet to their followers or ‘pin’ on to Pinterest. Depending on the mechanic and the prize, you want each entrant to encourage either support for their entry for a better chance of winning, or to simply share the competition as part of their entry.
8) Spread the word
Utilise other digital channels, your own website and PR efforts to promote the competition, integrate offline where possible and identify key timings within the time frame of the competition to really promote and push entry levels right to the end.
9) Analyse the success and consider more competitions
Chances are, the people who entered the competition are likely to enter again in the future if they missed out this time. Make sure you build up a rapport with these people, announce the winner(s) in a timely and positive way and if more competitions are in the pipeline use your entrants as a basis for development – ask for feedback, ask for suggestions of future prizes and apply what you’ve learnt to future promotions
10) Learn from success and failure
If your competition was a roaring success – establish what made it so, was it the prize? Was it the entry mechanism? Was it the promotion? Capitalise on this and do more of the same. If the competition was a little stagnant and didn’t see as many entries as you’d anticipated look long and hard at why. Don’t assume that your prize wasn’t good enough, look at the frequency of entrants, the overall adoption of the competition against the effort you’d put in promoting it and find areas for improvement.
I’ll keep you posted on the USC competition, but I seriously doubt I’m even in with a sniff of a chance of winning that NYC prize. As of this morning, the competition page still hadn’t been updated with ‘todays winner’, which was in fact yesterday’s winner. Confused? Me too. I’m off to buy some more Walkers crisps...