As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. And it's even more true when building a Facebook audience. You can lead visitors to your page, but you must give them reason to "drink" your brand, to subscribe, to frequent your page and converse on your posts; otherwise, your page will become stagnant.
With the recent launch of eyeD — a new product from our client, Global Animal Management — we set out to grow their Facebook audience and increase activity by launching the One-of-a-Kind Equine Contest. eyeD is a new equine identification system that utilizes iris scan technology, and since no two irises are alike, horse owners were invited to share what makes their horse one-of-a-kind.
The contest ran for one month, between February 15th and March 14th, and gained nearly 7,000 new fans (an increase of 46%) and received more than 1,000 votes. The following is a look at how we encouraged entry, and kept them coming back.
Leading Them to Water
To entice horse owners to enter the One-of-a-Kind Equine Contest, careful consideration went into incentive to participate, the entry process, and how the contest would be promoted.
When selecting prizes for a contest, it's important to select prizes that are relevant to your audience and your brand. For the One-of-a-Kind Equine Contest, eight finalists received eyeD branded halters and had their horses featured on the eyeD Facebook page. The grand prize winner received a new digital camera. By offering multiple prizes, the odds of winning are increased and those interested in participating are more encouraged to enter.
If the entry process is complicated, it won't matter what the prize is, your audience will decide it's not worth their time. The One-of-a-Kind Equine entry process was simple. To enter, we asked horse owners to simply upload a photo of their horse, tell us in less than 600 characters what makes their horse unique, and provide some basic contact info should their horse be selected as a finalist. To encourage subscribing to the eyeD Facebook page, we asked visitors to click the Like button upon entry.
Promoting the contest began by getting word out on eyeD's Facebook timeline to the current eyeD Facebook fan base of nearly 15,000 fans. The contest was also promoted by reaching out to horse associations on Facebook, various equine publications, and utilizing Facebook ads.
Entries began pouring in from day one. During the brief two-week entry period, the contest had accumulated slightly over 200 One-of-a-Kind entries.
Getting Them to Drink
With the eight finalists selected, the next step was to get participants to vote on the finalists, engage in daily conversations, and spread the word. A few tactics were exercised to encourage daily participation.
Voting for each of the eight finalists was limited to one vote per day per Facebook account. By limiting the votes to one per day, finalists understood that this wasn't a contest they could win on their own, so they took to their personal Facebook pages to spread the word to friends and family, urging them to visit the contest daily and cast their votes. Total votes were tallied as they were submitted in real time, so finalists could see where they ranked in the contest, and felt the urgency to be persistent in encouraging involvement from their peers.
Horse owners are a passionate group who love sharing stories about their horses. A comments component was added to each entry page so that when visitors weren't casting votes, they could "talk shop" with other horse owners participating in the contest.
The winner of the One-of-a-Kind Equine Contest was Angel, the 44 year old horse owned by Rebecca Powell. This is what Rebecca had to say about what made Angel one-of-a-kind:
"My dream of owning a horse became a reality 27 years ago when I met Angel. She has cheated death three times, with the vet tagging her a “miracle”. Angel is no young filly at 44 years old and with all she has been through she is a “one of a kind” horse. She doesn’t see well, only eats pellets, no sweet feed or apples, & has Cushing’s disease. I’m asked why have an expense like her, I say because she is a family member and has given me the best years of her life. I dread the day when my Angel isn’t standing there waiting on me. I do know that she will always hold a special place in my heart."
If you are unfamiliar with the average lifespan of a horse, 44 is very exceptional when compared to the average life span of 25-30 years old. The voters of the One-of-a-Kind Equine Contest agreed.
Through the duration of the contest, we received a lot of great entries. Each of the eight finalists offered equally unique and interesting stories. By providing relevant incentive to participate, offering an enjoyable user experience, and giving visitors reason to come back, the contest met the goals of increased activity and fans on the eyeD Facebook page. Aside from the objectives, the contest was a great look at our audience and what their horses mean to them.