ReadWriteWeb Guide on Community Management with the knowledge that "Community Manager" would become an increasingly popular job title. Since then, the requirements of keeping your customers engaged have become more demanding. According to one report, contests are becoming increasingly popular. ReadWriteWeb caught up with Strutta CEO Ben Pickering, to find out what businesses can do to generate more participation from their contests.A year ago we launched the
Similar to Wildfire Apps and Meme Labs, Strutta lets you collect user-generated content and showcase it in a seamless web contest experience. Users can upload videos and photos, vote on other contest content and promote entries to their Twitter and Facebook friends.
While the site has helped create success for high profile campaigns including the Crate and Barrel Ultimate Wedding contest, UN Development Programme's photo competition and Operation Gratitude, not every contest has been successful. Pickering offers some great advice to ensure your effort doesn't go unrewarded.
1. Set Goals: Contests are a great way to engage users, get customer feedback and even drive traffic to your site. Nevertheless, it's important to be realistic with your expectations and set specific goals. Some of the factors you can take into account to measure success include earned media, email opt-ins, engagement across social networks, monthly site traffic and in some cases, direct revenue.
2. Be Relevant: It would be silly to create a car contest for a community of cyclists or a meatloaf recipe contest for a community of vegetarians. One of Pickering's most successful contests is Adorama's Picture Perfect Contest. The contest invited community members to showcase the object of their passion - their photography. Pickering also suggests the barrier-to-entry was significantly reduced as participants had multiple ways to submit their work including via an iPhone app.
3. Give Them Incentive: In addition to prizes, Pickering suggests that community managers keep in mind the importance of recognition. By opening your contest to public voting, users receive public recognition and the community becomes more active in watching the competition unfold. Additionally, because Pickering's service offers integration with Twitter and Facebook, an open competition may encourage participation from those outside of the community.
4. Offer Support: Pickering points out that video contests may require some support. He suggests community managers consider setting up a blog, Twitter account and Facebook group to help answer questions and walk users through the process. In the case of New Zealand's Your Big Break Contest entrants were expected to submit a script and a short film. Tourism New Zealand set up a Facebook group to discuss the contest and by the time it was ready to launch, hundreds of filmmakers were poised to upload their submissions.