So you plucked up your courage to submit a photo that you thought (and fervently hope that others would think) was award-winning for a social media contest on Facebook or Instagram. To your pleasant surprise, your photo was indeed selected as one of the finalists! Your sense of anticipation was heightened; you could just feel the prize within your grasp. Except that you now have one problem: how do you gather enough votes to actually win one of the top prizes?! I recently joined a Facebook contest organised by Bangkok Jam and eventually won second place as I managed to garner a high number of “Likes” and “Shares”. Hence, I will like to share the lessons I have learnt from this experience so that you may win a social media “Like” contest too.
1. Share your photo on your Facebook wall
This may sound commonsensical as sharing your photo on your Facebook wall is the most direct and time-efficient way to appeal to your friends to vote for you. But it is actually more difficult than it looks. I neglected to write clear instructions as to how my friends ought to vote for my photo, so imagine my horror when I saw that several of my friends went to “Like” my Facebook status update and NOT the photo itself. Eventually, I had to direct these friends to the URL where they could vote for my photo correctly. Not the best way to start a social media campaign. Subsequently, I modified my update to include the URL of my photo.
2. Share your photo again, but in another language
Thinking about the background of your Facebook contacts is very important. As much as how English is used as the main medium of communication in Singapore, there are many Singaporeans who are more proficient in their mother tongue and would be more likely to help you if they come across an update written in their preferred language. So, going the bilingual (or multi-lingual) route would increase your chances of winning. In my case, I have many Japanese friends and acquaintances as my Facebook friends, so writing an update in Japanese enabled me to snag a few votes from this pool of people.
3. Get your colleagues/classmates to vote for you
We spend the greater part of our day with our colleagues or classmates, so what better place to solicit for votes than your workplace or school? This is especially applicable for those of us who prefer to separate work from life and do not have their co-workers or project mates on their Facebook. I literally got my colleagues sitting near me to whip up their handphones and vote for my photo on the spot.
4. Keep up news of your photo on Facebook
Some days after your initial sharing of your photo, you have a delicate situation. Friends who are avid users of Facebook would already have voted for your photo, whereas others who do not use Facebook frequently will not come across your update long buried in an avalanche of news. (Please do not assume that others’ lives revolve around you =) .) What to do then? You certainly do not want to just share your photo again because you do not want to turn off your friends who use Facebook actively. I circumvented this problem by writing about how touched I was when I realised that a long-lost friend had been getting his friends to vote for my photo—without even telling me. Another time, I posted a photo of my writing I had forwarded to The Straits Times several years ago and made an observation about how it was less cumbersome to win a writing contest, pre-social media. Get creative! Persuade your friends to vote for you without actually using the words “Like my photo”.
5. Send your friends a private message
This proved to be the most effective method of all because sending my friends a private message when they appeared online provided immediate results. First, I crafted a generic message that said “Could I please trouble you to like my photo? I’m trying to win 2 free tickets to Bangkok” and included the URL link to my photo. I found that stating the reason why I wanted to win this contest was useful as most of my friends could see how their vote made a difference and did not mind helping me win the tickets.
Initially, I was very hesitant about asking people whom I had not contacted in years for a favour, especially so when some friends enquired about whether my Facebook account had been “hacked into”in response to my sudden message. But trust me, the going gets easier once you start “harassing” people. It helps if you do not take things personally. If your friend does not reply to your message, do not take it as a rejection (Remember what I said earlier about how people’s lives do not revolve around you?) and simply move on to the next “target”.
Thanks to the amazing people around me, a week of campaigning has yielded me 210 “Likes” and 25 “Shares”. I also appreciated how it enabled me to initiate small talk with some friends and even renew some friendships along the way, for I have made plans to meet up with some of them—face to face, no less. Hopefully you will find my tips handy and practical when you decide to join a socal media contest and embark on your own battle for “Likes” in the future!
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