Doing Twitter Contests Right


Of course, I hate Twitter contests.

I hate them because they pollute my timeline, force me to do stuff I normally wouldn’t, and result in a terrible user experience for me and my followers. But as I said earlier, there’s got to be a right way to do it.

The primary reason why Twitter contests, or for that matter any typical contest on a social platform, has now turned out to be as irritating as a character on a daily soap is because agencies like to show off big numbers to their shiny clients. From, “look we got you trending” to “oh mah god a million RTs bro”, they’re doing it all.

But let’s not talk about the dark side.

For DealsForGeeks we wanted to do something lighter, cleaner and more rewarding. All in such a way that it doesn’t hamper the user experience. For our first giveaway (a small one), we wanted user feedback so we planned a small contest where users would just fill up a form to give us some feedback, and that’s it.

For our second giveaway, and our first major contest, we wanted to follow the same principles.

1. Not necessary to follow/like our social accounts.
2. No RTs/likes required.
3. We wouldn’t RT any participant’s entry (tweet) from our official count. This is probably the most irritating thing in the world when I see brands doing it.

So we rolled out the red carpet, kept the terms and conditions to the bare minimum and simple to understand tone. All that the participants needed to do was interact with us, share feedback if they like, a joke maybe, or even a simple hello.

We decided to keep the Motorola Moto G (8GB) as the top prize because we thought it’s something we could afford, and something users would want. So the next couple of days we waited, as responses started pouring in. In the middle of the week-long contest we realized it’s going to get bigger.

Each interaction a user shared with us was treated as an entry. So every tweet became an entry. Since interacting on Twitter and Facebook was optional (user could do either of these), it would eventually become harder to track entries. But we got around with a bunch of handy analytics tools available in the market.

Here’s a little something we learned now that the contest is over.

1. People will ultimately follow you, if they participate in a contest even if you don’t make it compulsory.

2. Making RTs mandatory sucks. It may give you slightly bigger numbers in terms of interactions but in some way or the other it defeats the purpose for the product.

3. Stick to the goal — in our case it was spreading the word around. Our visitor count increased by 400% since the contest was launched. We’re still seeing a consistent visitor base, not only on the contest page but also on deals.

4. Don’t stick words in users’ mouth. I personally hate brands that want you to tweet in a specific format or use a stupid hashtag. We didn’t use any. What we saw was positive feedback in the best way anyone would normally express themselves. I do understand for bigger campaigns it becomes easier to track tweets using a hashtag, but it can be done in nicer ways. Also, not re-tweeting users’ tweets helps.

5. Do you want eyeballs for the contest or real users? It’s pretty easy to bump up your follower count — be it Twitter or Facebook — but the real question is – wouldn’t you rather have real users? At DealsForGeeks we might just have a little over 300 followers, but they’re genuinely interested users. We’d rather have 300 real followers on Twitter than 30,000 egg-head profiles that lead to nowhere.

In the future we plan on sticking to our mantra of no-nonsense contests on various social platforms.

Twitter Contests Are Irritating

I hate them. I hate contests on Twitter.

There, I said it. This is coming from someone who used to be neck deep into social media – both as a user and as a marketer. Well I still am a fan of the social web, I just hate the way brands are throwing in some of their marketing into it. While some brands get it, most don’t. They’re flooding my timeline with contests of some sort and it’s happening every single day.
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A Note About Online Safety For Girls

online privacyPicture this – A guy is happily surfing the web when he suddenly notices one of those cheap-shot advertisements for adult phone-friend networks. There’s nothing shocking about it – except that the ad carries the photograph of someone he knows. His sister! The ad carries his sister’s photo in such a way that it appears inviting, with a text on it that says, “Call Me Now – ***”.

How did his sister’s photo land on an advertisement for such a company? The so called friendship network somehow got hold of his sister’s photograph, which appears to be self-shot using a phone camera, and pasted it on one of their ads. This ad could be appearing for millions of other users too. The guy panics and confronts his sister.

His sister reveals that the photo used on the ad was shared by her sometime back with another guy who she used to chat with. She never met the guy in real, she only talked to him over the phone or online messaging tools.
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The Buttons on the Web

facebook subscriptionsThere’s something odd yet enticing about the buttons you see on the web. Every button appears coated with sugar or melted chocolate. So when such a thing appears on a page, it grabs your eyeballs and somehow tells your brain to pass on a signal to your hand and your fingers click on it. It happens in less than a fraction of a second and at times you don’t even know what that button does. Take the newly introduced Subscriptions feature on Facebook, for example, it allows you to subscribe to another user’s public feed (in case you’re not in their friend’s list) or manage updates you’ll receive from that user (if they are your friend).

If you’ve seen this button alongside a profile recently, chances are that you’ve clicked it first and then when updates from that stranger started appearing on your newsfeed, you went nuts. This isn’t abnormal. It happens to the best of us and it’s an obvious reason why we have buttons all over the web. I will not get into the design thought that goes behind creating these but rather the human aspect of it.
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My Favorite Indian Brands on Twitter

my favorite brands on twitter

I love Twitter. As much as I hate it for making me so lazy that I don’t feel like blogging anymore, I like it for the micro conversations that one can have with brands. Be it registering an issue you’re having with a specific product/service or just passing on your feedback, Twitter works pretty well given it’s nature of being open. It’s obvious. Your tweets are out there in the open and if brands don’t listen and get back to you to solve your problem, it doesn’t reflect a good image.

So here are my favorite Indian brands on Twitter:
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