As marketers embrace their social media skills, they are upping their level of consumer engagement with contests. Among their benefits, social media contests can be a cost-effective means of generating e-mail lists, as well as creating brand awareness, new sales, and customer loyalty.This slide show takes a look at a half-dozen winning efforts among B2B and B2C companies, including success metrics and lessons learned.
American Express OPEN launched “Facebook Big Break for Small Business,” a national contest designed to help personalize the way small businesses use Facebook to engage with customers, during the spring. Five companies won $20,000 and two-day direct meetings with Facebook to improve social media performance. Entrants had to answer three questions and provide photos.
Success Metrics: Laura Fink, vice president of social media at American Express OPEN, told CMO.com that OPEN was surprised at the number of companies interested. "We had a target of 5,000 entries and received more than 11,000. The message really resonated very strongly with small businesses," she said. "They are clearly thirsty to get advice as to how leverage Facebook to grow business.”
Fink said OPEN tried to keep the process simple, and succeeded in having minimal pain points and friction. "Small-business owners are strapped for time, so the process should be streamlined as much as possible; we did not want to create barriers for entering,” she added.
Chipotle Mexican Grill invited its customers to participate in its "Wrap What You Love" contest, asking them to encase their favorite objects in gold or silver foil (like the company's burritos). Contestants then photographed their work and uploaded it to the company's website or Facebook page. Chipotle awarded the $10,000 grand prize to a father who wrapped his 4-day old baby in gold foil.
Success Metrics: Chipotle called attention to its superior ingredients from more sustainable sources, a commitment Chipotle calls "Food With Integrity." Chipotle contributed $96,095 to FamilyFarmed.org ($1 for each vote) in support of its programs to help family farmers bring more food to local markets.
Crocs sponsored the “New Crocs, New You” wardrobe makeover contest with the winner getting a "toe-to-head" makeover by nationally recognized fashion expert Jenn Falik. Flipcams were provided to 10 finalists, who used them to shoot videos explaining why they should win the contest. The winner received a trip to New York City and a makeover package valued at $7,000.
Success Metrics: "‘New Crocs, New You’ allowed us to showcase our product makeover while allowing us to directly communicate new offerings to our consumers,” Christy Saito, director of product for Crocs, told CMO.com. “By providing women with more on-trend styles, we are able to broaden our reach into new wearing occasions."
Dockers blended a B2B and B2C campaign in its "Wear the Pants" project earlier this year. Dockers asked people to become fans of its Facebook page and submit a plan for putting their personal or business dreams into action. One entrant would win a cash prize to implement their plans.
Success Metrics: There were more than 4,500 entries, and Dockers increased its fan base by five times since the launch. "We always strive to reach our consumers in a personal yet cheeky way and highlight something that might speak to them directly,” said Jen Sey, senior vice president, Dockers Global Marketing, in an interview with CMO.com. “Our fans want to know more about our products once they’ve engaged with the brand, so we are incorporating more about [specific products] into the cadence of communication."
In June, Honda launched the "Super Civic Quest" on its Facebook page. Players are rewarded with Facebook Credits and Amazon MP3 music downloads for their ability to solve clues in finding a missing Mexican wrestler in a red Civic coupe. While taking part in the contest, players get a look at five new Civic models and a chance to win two Honda Civics—one for them and one for their best friends.
Success Metrics: Honda is hoping to give people a better understanding of Honda cars when the contest concludes.
Intuit has been awarding grants to small businesses through its "Love a Local Business" contest. Its objectives are to build brand equity for Intuit while supporting small-business hiring. Intuit has received more than 20,000 nominations thus far, and the pace of entries is 1,500 per month. Sixty percent of the site traffic comes from Facebook.
Success Metrics: A sales funnel has developed from the contest, and Intuit said it might develop a free product as a result. "The contest actually has had a significant impact on sales, although there is no selling in the campaign," said Intuit's Edward Matlack, group marketing manager, online engagement, SBG, in an interview with CMO.com.
Kraft Foods ran a contest for its Philadelphia Cream Cheese that asked women across the country to create cooking videos in four categories and submit them to RealWomenofPhiladelphia.com. The four winners received a talent contract worth $25,000, will star in their own cooking videos, and contribute to a cookbook featuring the community’s favorite cream cheese recipes from the season.
Success Metrics: Since launch, RealWomenofPhiladelphia.com had more than 590,000 unique views, and contestants uploaded more than 5,100 videos, which have been viewed about 19 million times (including YouTube and other third-party sites). Twenty-five percent were repeat viewers, so engagement was strong.
Pitney Bowes is using social media to transform itself from a staid purveyor of postage machines to a provider of small-business marketing solutions. The company ran a campaign to further "the strategic transformation of Pitney Bowes, remaking the company to be a 21st century communications company," Justin Amendola, Pitney Bowes' vice president, SMB digital strategy, North America, told CMO.com. To that end, Pitney Bowes has developed a suite of digital products for small businesses. The company promoted the products through the pbSmart Small Business Communications Makeover, a national contest designed to help small businesses improve customer communications. The contest was publicized on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Google +1. The five grand prize winners received a free year of access to Pitney Bowes’ suite of tools combined with a day of one-on-one coaching from its in-house experts and outside small business experts.
Success Metrics: "The contest is about bringing value and facilitating an environment in which small businesses could help each other by providing a learning environment," Amendola said. Pitney Bowes learned that not all small-business owners are technologically savvy, so the company spent a good deal of time on the telephone helping with video uploads and other technical issues. Online videos are time-consuming to make, and small-business owners are strapped for time.