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FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA RACE
March 2, 2011
So, I tied with writer/photographer/consultant Elizabeth Hansen for first place in the Luxury Travel Writer category of TheLuxuryHub’s recent competition and I am thrilled.
I gave it my best shot and, with the help of countless family members, friends and business colleagues who rallied not only to vote for me but to encouraged others to do the same, we won! It was an extremely tight race. And, between Elizabeth and I we collected over 1,000 votes – more than for any other category. In the final days we seemed to take turns moving in and out of the lead – a digital game of Leap Frog.
Here are five random things I learned from the experience:
1. It’s got to be worth your time. If you’re going to enter a Social Media “race” you should first consider if it is worth the time you need to spend to win. To say Social Media competitions are, today, ubiquitous would be an understatement. I’ll wager that there’s at least one new competition - be it for content, creativity, or simply popularity - being launched, somewhere, daily. Before participating in any such online competition, one should know his or her objective (s). Is there a tangible prize and is it worth the effort required to win? If the prize is simple the “pride” of winning. Is that worth the time?
Will winning (or simply participating) help accomplish your personal or business goals? For instance, will it support your “brand,” raise the profile of your web site or blog, increase traffic or drive sign-ups?
2. It’s a numbers game. If it’s just about the numbers than, for the most part, it’s not about quality, it’s about popularity. I’m sure Elizabeth will agree with me. It’s about how many people you know? How many do you have time to reach out to? How many will help you spread the word? And, how many of all these people will actually respond by logging on to the required web site and going through the procedure of voting. It takes time! People are busy. Not everyone has the time it takes or is willing to make the effort. Others may response with a firm: “Done” but may, in reality, never get around to it. You may need to ask 10 people to get 2 votes.
3. It takes some courage and a bit of boldness to ask for votes. For many of us (myself included) it’s not easy asking family, friends, biz associates and colleagues - to take time out of their busy days to vote for you especially if the prize is nothing more than the simple pride of winning. But at the end of the day, it’s a plain and simple popularity contest. So you muster up the courage, ramp up the chutzpah, and you ASK. You send out those requests for votes, or you loose.
4. Giving your best shot in an online competition/social media race is an “opportunity” to work your ”tush” off. Enough said.
5. You need a strategy. Of course you will send out e-mails and post of the various social media sites, but are you going to send out mass or individual and more personalized messages? I tried a little bit of everything. Going the personalized route rather than mass e-mails or mass postings on certainly takes more time but it is, by far, the most effective way to go. Will you send out a certain number of requests each day. How will you keep track so as not to send multiple requests to the same person? Will you send out requests early in the game then follow up with those who have not responded by a certain date? You never really know where your votes will come from so if you really want to win you have to boldly and shamelessly ask everyone. Remember you may only get 3 votes from every 10 people you ask.
Part of the strategy is certainly to know the deadline. In my case, TheLuxuryHub polls had closed and I was still, in effect, knocking of digital doors trying to drum up votes. A good dozen people contacted me to say they tried to vote but couldn’t. Had I been more watchful to details – like the deadline - those 12 or so votes might have propelled me into the lead.
Also keep in mind that the owner/operators of these competitions/contests/social media races – whatever you choose to call them – have their own strategies. For instance, their goals may be to increase traffic to their own web sites, acquire content, add to their databases. All are legitimate business strategies, and I’m just making the point to underscore the importance of having your own strategy.
And, finally, if I should be so fortunate to be nominated in another online competition, will I participate? Hmmm. At this moment, all I can say is – if there ever is a next time – I will be sure to review the above five points VERY carefully before making a decision.
Thank you again to everyone who voted for me!