This morning, I saw 75 people “Like” El Al’s new contest on Facebook, “Hamantaschen eating championship.” While I commend EL AL for running a fun contest for Purim and even offering a big prize (free ticket to Israel), I find it hard to participate or even share it.
Do you as a potential participant know what you are getting by entering a contest? Does your organization understand your goals and the potential outcomes (both positive AND negative) of running contests like these?
While I chose to pick on El Al today, I am often privy to hearing about, advising on and working with organizations on similar projects through my work at Causil. I hope that through this analysis, others will see some of the other angles when considering how they form a contest and work towards best practices in achieving their goals.
Social media contests of this sort are in essence requests by organizations made of individuals to expend their “social capital” in return for the chance at winning something. My ability to share and engage with the world I am connected to relies on my ability to be me – transparency, focus and consistency are all rules of social etiquette and when followed are rewarded with social capital. Every time I share, like or participate in something my friends and followers deem unworthy of my normal updates I immediately lose credibility.
Contests that require more that a simple sign up or like force the potential participant to value the prize against the perceived social loss.
For this example, El Al is asking potential participants to:
- Like their Facebooks page (in order to read the rules)
- Go to their contest specific Facebook page
- Click “enter to win”
- Install a 3rd party Facebook app, Votigo
- Register their contact information on the app
- Join the Matmid rewards program (“To participate, you must be a member of the Matmid program”)
- Click “next”
- Conceptualize, film, edit and create a final video – which is under 100mb.
- Add a title and description for this video and submit it to the El Al Facebook contest app page.
Get as many people as the potential participant can muster to vote for their video by sharing the link (often) on Facebook, Twitter, email…. That link, just by the way, requires your followers to like the page and sign up for the app too.
HERE IS THE KICKER:
The “10 finalists will be notified on March 3, 2012 and must be able to travel to the event location in NYC at their own expense.”
Let me restate the above so that it really sinks in… the video finalists must travel to New York to compete in the finals at their own expense. All this for the chance of winning one ticket which the winner still has to pay applicable taxes on!
Based on my assessment, it would seem like the aim of this contest is to attract participants who are highly socially connected personalities (who don’t care who they turn off in the process) who live near New York and can afford both the spent time in getting votes and at the semifinals (an additional cost no matter what you do) and the actual costs of travel and taxes.
For me to enter, I would need to spend time making a video (read: lost billable time), annoy my friends and followers for weeks asking for votes, then spend at least a day travelling to New York and back (read: lost a lot of billable time) to participate in a public event (whose specifics or even final judging criteria is not even listed) where I will be filmed for El Al’s promotional use. All so that I might win a ticket to Israel (which I would still have to pay around $100 in taxes on).
The question is then, what does El Al hope to gain from this contest? If it is just new followers then remove all extraneous needs and run a Rafflecopter contest or continue to run simple “like” contest, but give away lots of fun and relatively cheap things (amazon gift cards, gadgets, etc). If they are trying to reach a highly influencial group of online personalities in a targeted demographic (as evident from the above assessment), run a promotion for them… something like blogger give and get contest whereby El Al could choose 5-10 bloggers to give a ticket away in a contest model of their choosing AND get a free ticket themselves.
When considering running a contest do yourself a favor and make it easy, fun and remove all barriers to entry.
I am a contest hound – I love entering them and sometime even win. I rarely share my entering sweepstakes exploites on my social media accounts and really to try to avoid that situation at all. So, how do I do it? I created a separate Twitter account a long time ago, @DaveCanType, just for the purpose of entering things. I am clear on the intentions of this account quite publicly and therefore have the freedom to enter, post and RT as many things as I like without bother my (mainly bot) followers.
As a founder and digital strategist at Causil, I advise clients on campaigns, promotions and contests among other things like all around social media, marketing, design and overall online strategy. If you are interested in learning more or working with me, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me @weinberg81 on Twitter or /daveweinberg on Facebook.