Digital MarketingNightlifeSocial Media

Creating Your Own Viral Contest

What makes a contest go viral?

If you read my previous post about viral videos [link here] you can see that an authentic video or post has a better chance of skyrocketing through the internet. A polished production or image just sounds too corporate.

So, what about a contest. There are so many venues and promoters still using the old ‘like baiting’ technique to try to push the reach of a post. Back in April (2014) Facebook decided to clean up the newsfeed with another algorithm change; this time they targeted posts that tried to force the system to increase reach by asking people to ‘like’, ‘comment’ and/or ‘share’ their post in the hopes of winning something in a contest or just non-relevant questions.

When users organically like a story they will engage with it. Post comments, share, like and tag friends. Organically. If you try to create a contest or non relevant post to gain exposure, Facebook will catch it and reduce your views automatically, no matter how many people share or like it.

How do you create a contest that will get organic engagement? Well first of all, try not to use the like bait wording in your text. Asking to share/like/comment in the post for a win will automatically tell Facebook that you are using the old school technique. Be creative with the ad copy.

Is there anything wrong with using shares for a contest? Nope. In fact it can be a great way to push engagement and views, when done properly. Put a link to your own website so that FB knows that it isn’t non relevant-regurgitated images. Use images that fit the post (not just a flyer of your event, make it authentic, real, relevant, and entertaining).

Bad Contest
“Want to win tickets to our event? Do these to enter:
1. Share this flyer
2. Like this post
3. Tag 5 friends in the comments
You are entered! Good Luck!”
“regular boring flyer image”

Great Contest
“Every hour today (10am-10pm) we are going to give away a pair of tickets to our crazy NYE Party. You want in? Sweet, because I have 12 pairs to givewaway. How to play?
>Watch our FB page, on the hour I will post an image of cool behind the scenes info about our event, point and laugh at it, dry your eyes, then share it! =)
>Before the hour is up we will randomly choose a winner and announce it on the next post!

Super easy, super hilarious, good luck!
Want tix now? >>”
“entertaining, engaging, authentic image”

With the second contest example it is fun, engaging, provide real relevant content to the FB page’s fan base (behind the scenes info is fun and entertaining), and isn’t ‘sales-y’. As the hours move along during the day, more and more friends will catch on to this contest and want in on it. They will start to watch the FB page as well and share at the top of the hour. By the middle of it, your reach will be through the roof.

This style of contest can work wonders on Twitter as well. Similar action but less text (140 characters remember), so have more info on your image about the night and contest.

Want to super charge the contest?? Then spend a few dollars on targeted ads. You can advertise the post on Twitter or Facebook similarly. Make sure you are targeting the people in your area that would want to go to the event and want to see the post. Laser targeting is where the highest ROI and effectiveness comes into play. When most FB pages average 2-10% reach (so if you have 2000 fans most likely 50-200 people see any post), even a few dollars can super charge the reach and get things rolling above and beyond your regular Facebook page impressions.



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