How to Create an Upbeat Online Community through Contests - dummies

How to Create an Upbeat Online Community through Contests

By Deborah Ng

Contests keep your online community members entertained and alert. If your idea is fun and upbeat, members will be more interested in the interaction than in the prizes.

You can host different levels of contests. Contests with regular small prizes, such as discount coupons, keep members showing up each day to get their next opportunity to save. Contests with higher-level prizes take place less often but keep your members on the lookout for them nonetheless.

For example, some communities host limerick or haiku contests where members create odes to the brand or a product. Others draw random names out of a hat. Be creative with your contests so that members want to be a part of them regardless of the prize.

You can hold contests for a variety of reasons:

  • To draw traffic to your community: When other people see your members interacting on the social networks or even offline, they’ll want to know what all the fuss is about. They’ll want prizes, too.

    If you have a button that enables your members to share the contest on social networks, they’ll help spread the word for you, bringing in even more new members.

  • To give something back: Rewarding loyalty with prizes and perks tells customers that their participation means something to the brand.

  • To gather information: Contests can center on habits or product use to provide demographic information.

  • To defuse a tense situation: Contests can help lighten up the atmosphere after a bout of negativity.

  • To create buzz about your brand: People share fun, awesome contests.

  • To create content for your brand: Contests create even more content for your brand, and this content will catch the attention of search engines and web surfers.