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Lindsey Auguste

Lindsey Auguste Business Intelligence Specialist

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Social Media Contests: What We Can Learn From Chrysler's Mistakes

Leave it to Chrysler to have another social media flare up.  After enlisting mommy bloggers to write about occupying children while road tripping, Chrysler’s efforts resulted in a botched attempt at a social media contest.  But where did they go wrong?  Let’s take a look at four key areas to consider when putting together a social media contest and what we can learn from Chrysler’s mistakes:

Purpose

What is the purpose of your contest?  Is it to capture leads, drive traffic, or make connections?  There are dozens of reasons you might want to have a contest, but be sure the calls to action are sufficient.  Whatever their original goals were, Chrysler’s “click-for-attention-for-an-iPad-for-a-trip” premise, as stated by Jalopnik, fell short on the social media scale.  Define the purpose of your contest and ensure the calls to action are appropriate and effective.

Rules

For Heaven’s sake, understand your own contest rules!  The confusion created by the lack of knowledge on their own contest forced Chrysler to disqualify one of their contestants for participating outside of the box.  Know your rules or have confidence that the company you are enlisting to drive the contest understands the implications and potential loopholes. 

Contestants

This is one domain that Chrysler had a good jump on.  Contrary to Jalopnik’s oversimplified description of mommy bloggers as any mother with an Internet connection, mommy bloggers are over 50% more likely to have graduated college or received a post-graduate degree compared to their non-blogging counterparts.  Selecting this type of audience that holds a majority of the purchase power in many families and “wields more influence than Twitter” was a good move.  Know the audience you want to target and how effectively your contestants can disseminate your message to them. 

Follow Through

It’s not enough to organize a contest, push play, and let it ride.  Even if you have another company organizing the effort for you, you must maintain a level of interaction or know-how throughout the contest.  Bottom line:  you can’t have people calling your contestants skanks.  Following up and getting involved in the process will help you participate in your brand, manage outbursts, and step in or even block inappropriate content when necessary.  After all, it’s your name on the line.

Social Media contests are awesome and highly useful in engaging your community, but simply jumping into it can be detrimental to its operation and effectiveness.  Make sure you have a strategy that touches on each of these areas and that your brand is prepared for the contest launch as well as the follow through.

Jim Bell
Another "oops" moment from Chrysler. Great tips that we all have to take into account when planning social media contests. Love the last line in the article..."let Clint Eastwood write all their ads — social media, or otherwise."
Bryan Armstrong
All valid points. I think "Define your Goal" stands out to me. Many believe that Social is about sheer numbers and reach. While that may happen, if the end goal is a sharp spike in followers to employ old-school Push marketing at, it will all be for naught and may actually tarnish your image long-term. Understanding that mot people engaged at that level are going to soon disdain your fraudulent attempt at appearing Social in the long-term anyway.
Jade Makana
Sigh. More fuel for my sweat-soaked, Chrysler-inspired nightmares. Honestly, though, I feel about Chrysler how I feel about Sarah Palin: a mix of horror, pity, and the sinking feeling that as we mock her mistakes, we are all secretly worried we could easily make the same ones. As someone who runs social media contests for a living, I can attest to one thing: they are hard. As with most social media things, it's amazing how what seems like a simple idea quickly snowballs into some incredibly complicated campaign. There are a LOT of moving pieces to even the most seemingly simple social media contest, and a lot going on behind the scenes. You never know how a contest is going to be received, so it's hard to appropriately staff, Facebook promo guidelines are famously complex, strange user errors and functionality anomalies seem to occur out of thin air. It's not for the faint of heart. All I'm saying is,while you're absolutely right that you need to cross your t's and dot your i's, running a social media contest is intense, so while the criticism is warranted, as an insider I do take a more empathetic view. Also, for the record, I didn't know what The Bush Doctrine was either, but I definitely know that "refudiate" is not a word.Great post, Lindsey!

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