Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

A lesson in social media: Contests October 8, 2011

For the past month I have been working for a nonprofit organization to build publicity  in preparation of their second annual fundrasing event. As a promotion, we decided to run a Facebook campaign to attract more fans we could then recruit for our fundraiser.

The idea was to have people post the answer to a question related to our mission on our wall. The answer with the most votes would win a prize!

It was exciting because people would like our page to win a prize, engage on our page and share our page with their friends.

Fun fact: Facebook has rules against all of that.

And I would never of known to even check on these rules except a discussion on LinkedIn in the group PRIntern/ EntryPR that appeared in my inbox literally the day after we decided to do this contest.

The biggest concern for our contest was that Facebook prohibits any use of a Facebook tool to contribute to a contest. This includes vote to win, using the wall for anything except promotion and you cannot contact the winner of a contest through Facebook message, chat or wall post.

Uh oh.

I read everything I could about Facebook contests and even attended a fee seminar on law ethics associated with social media. It seemed as though the only way to continue our contest as planned was to use a third party application.

As a nonprofit organization, we could not afford to pay a third party platform to develop our contest as I had in my previous internship over the summer at an international company. I had no idea how easy we had it.

So I researched companies that would do it for free. I narrowed it down to two. Let’s be honest, there were only two out there: Binkd and EasyPromos.

I decided to use EasyPromos because when I emailed Binkd for examples, they had a hard time coming up with one. I also like that EasyPromos had an entire page of tips, FAQs and allowed me to upload a photo.

Everything went smoothly and according to plan. In the first day we had 6 people like our page! I was excited. By the end, we had a 13% increase of fans in just one week. Not bad for a little nonprofit like ourselves! Not bad for my first solo attempt at a contest either.

But this contest is what I like to call a successful failure.

It was successful because we increased our fan base. It failed because only 3 people actually participated in the contest (keep in mind we had about 160 fans!). I think we asked too much of our fans. In trying to keep with our mission, it was decided that we would have the contestants enter the contest by telling us who has made a difference in their life.

The question was probably too deep and the process too involved. However, I think it says a lot for our organization that we had a 13% increase during this promotion and hardly anyone entered the contest. It was a lesson that showed me how supportive our fans are of our cause and mission. They care about what we do, not what we give away.

The important part of the contest results, and any contest that recruits fans, is that you create lifetime fans- of both your page and your organization. We successfully created new fans and spread the word of our organization. It was a great learning expereince and I hope by me admitting my challenges you can have a success story rather than the successful failure type.

If you have questions about how we ran our contest, or how we overcame challenges, let me know! I’m happy to share what I have learned and would love to hear any stories you have as well!


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