How To Make Your Contest Viral

by Sarah Lazell

dandelion-bess.jpgAnyone creating a campaign will be hoping that their particular creation will “go viral” and gain that authentic and organic reach that money can’t buy.

Most of us can’t rely on dumb luck when it comes to social pollination, although there is no guarantee that a campaign will take off in the way planned, there are ways to help improve the odds and optimize your campaign.

We are always looking to create that 'thumb stopping moment' where the audience stops scrolling and starts engaging. Recently we launched a campaign for John Grisham’s latest book 'Camino Island', here are a few of the ways we looked at improving our viral odds.

Make compelling content

Creating the contests for Grisham’s campaign meant coming up with compelling content that would resonate with his fans, our target audience. We needed to devise games that would take users through the story but wouldn’t give away any plot details. For this we decided on two different methods that were both compelling and great fun.

We used personalized video as it is not only quite new and novel but it is a great way of weaving the user within the campaign. Our experiences of using personalized content have always been really positive with fans enjoying the special, individualized touches and then wanting to share their experience with friends.

Another method we used was one of our favorites, a cryptic image quiz. Such quizzes are a great one for the fans as they can include really special details. Cryptic picture quizzes are by nature very addictive and many people like to keep going until every clue has been solved. For those wishing to take their time working out the answers they can simply sign in to save their progress and play at their leisure at a time convenient to them. On average we find that people spend around 45 minutes solving all the clues - that's a brilliant amount of time to keep your audience engaged on your site!

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Once the quiz is completed and the audience has that feeling of satisfaction, they can then share their score with friends challenging them to beat it.

At BeeLiked we have long been a fan of the cryptic quiz as they always add an extra level of excitement into a campaign. They get people interacting and sharing as they solve the clues. They also have a higher chance of going viral as they require a stronger level of engagement.

Understand the audience

Camino Island is a departure from Grisham’s previous work and has been described as a beach read. Considering this, we knew that we would be promoting to two different audiences; ones who were already Grisham fans, plus a newer audience that are interested in his latest book. This campaign was designed to make both audiences feel at ease.

With that in mind we first created a visually compelling 3D animated island, complete with sea gulls soaring, planes flying and waves lapping. Then we linked from the island off to two contests, the Heist, which is themed around his latest work and the cryptic quiz with answers based on his now 30 novels. See the island below...

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The Heist is a designed to be a thriller, just like the book. The audience is placed within the action, answering clues to solve the mystery of the heist. Depending on how the user answers the questions they then get to watch a personalized video with their name and face within. This message can then be shared with friends, or the user can create one for their friend so they can see their details in it. 

Here's my video - I got caught!

Consider the customer journey

When creating a contest we take time to map out the customer journey. Going through a contest should be a pleasant easy experience for a user and we are careful not to interrupt the flow of the journey. This means considering carefully when we ask for customer information and when we ask users if they want to share.

Sharing buttons

By placing sharing buttons at strategic places within the campaign it reminds the audience that they can share their experiences with just the click of a button.

Hashtags

The use of hashtags in any campaign is a great way of helping audiences share content and see who else is sharing. For each of the contests we created a hashtag that could help spread the word about the quizzes. We used #grisham30 and #baybooksheist to help create a buzz around our campaign.

Great Prizes

Offering prizes are known to be great incentives, however we often see prizes that aren’t really pitched at the right audience. This campaign was for the Grisham fans, so the prize needed to be something that would be of particular interest to them. Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, produced some stunning prizes for the fans: a signed first edition of A Time to Kill from Grisham’s personal collection for the Heist, and a signed collection of all 30 Grisham novels for the cryptic quiz. These rare prizes helped attract the true fans rather than people only interested in winning a prize.

READY TO RUN YOUR CONTEST? BEELIKED CAN HELP

BeeLiked is a marketing platform offering a wide range of innovative digital campaigns to help brands engage with their existing audiences and reach new customers through the viral and social nature of the contests and games.

As part of our commitment to help create original bespoke campaigns we have recently created BeeLiked Studio. The studio is a collaboration with a range of skilled individuals and companies, which allows us to extend the range of creative services we are able to offer. It means that when considering options for larger digital campaigns we can bring in specialists such as 3D illustrators, film & video production, as well utilize our own in-house team of programmers and web designers.

Talk to us today about how we can help create a buzz for your business

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