Viral contests can help you tap into your audience’s social media friends, generate buzz about your company and build a lot of excitement around what you’re doing. Other types of content, no matter how inspiring, generally only get one share. However, people are often willing to post again and again to their Facebook walls in order to win a contest.
How do you make a contest go viral?
==> Winning Involves a Social Commitment
Tie the winning of your contest to social commitment. In other words, make it so that your contest’s participants need to involve their social network in order to win.
One easy way to do this is to make people “Like” your Facebook page before they can vote for their friend. A participant would need to share the contest with their Facebook network first, then that person’s friend would have to “Like” your page and get exposed to your brand before they can vote for their friend.
You could also just have contestants send voters to your site, who need to register with an email address before they can vote.
However you choose to structure your contest, make sure that you get exposure to your contestants’ social networks.
==> A Unique Contest Concept
Try to make the concept behind your contest as unique as possible.
A contest to drive as many sales for you as possible isn’t going to catch a lot of eyes or generate much blogger attention.
A great contest should make heads turn. People who hear the concept of the contest should feel drawn to learning more.
Try to come up with three to five completely different contest ideas. Run these ideas by your friends and see which ones elicit the most excitement.
==> Large Prizes
Finally, make your prizes as large as possible. A huge and unique prize is going to get a lot more attention than smaller prizes.
Sure, a $50 iTunes gift card would be nice to receive, but you’re not going to jump through hoops to win that prize. But what about a round the world trip ticket? Or the highest end Alienware gaming computer? Or a year-long supply of your product?
If your product has a high perceived value, people will jump through hoops to win. They’ll shoot videos, they’ll share with their social networks, they’ll do what it takes to win.
==> The Launch Process
Launching a successful viral contest is all about getting your audience excited about the contest. In addition to having a stellar contest concept, a viral mechanism and great prizes, you also need to have a good launch process.
Get people primed for the contest. Then announce the contest. Then constantly promote the contest, both to your own list and to other people’s blogs and lists. If you get everything right, the contest will take on a life of its own. Friends will refer friends, who’ll refer even more people until the traffic is flooding in.