Until recently, video-based contests posed certain problems for both promotion organizers and entrants, particularly at the point of participation in the contest. However, most of these obstacles have been steadily overcome and there are now more advantages than ever to carrying out this type of contest. Videos are, together with photos, the most viral and oft-consumed media content on the social networks. The power of visual content is unquestionable and there is no doubt that its supremacy continues to grow throughout the sphere of online communication.
We are facing an important change in terms of the way we access and consume information. The rapid evolution of smartphones and tablets and their continual improvement mean that people use these devices more and more frequently for the following sorts of activities:
- Accessing the internet.
- As a form of entertainment (especially taking photos or recording videos).
- Taking part in social networks.
These three changes in trends provide us with the perfect environment to ensure that contests, sweepstakes or promotions that contain videos are now working better than ever. And we should add that the most-viewed videos are not those produced by professionals, but those created by ordinary internet users.
Below we suggest a series of ideas to help you run successful video contests:
1. Talent contest
Video is the perfect form of media for staging a talent contest, enabling users to upload videos of themselves performing acrobatics, dancing ballet, singing, doing impressions and so on. There are plenty of people out there who are desperate to share their talent with the world, especially if there is a prize at the end of it as well as fame to be found.
An example: a joke contest, lip syncing, poetry recitals or tongue twisters. Or something more professional, such as inviting participants to record themselves playing an instrument or carrying out a creative cover version of a hit song. A contest by categories can be a great ally when organizing a talent contest involving a series of galas for different communities followed by a national final. If you need a segmented database the ideal situation would be to create a contest by categories so that users can participate according to their age or sex.
2. Sporting events
Make the most of any sporting event. Sport can capture the public’s imagination. Use an appropriate “call to action” that encourages people to show their support for their favorite team or sports personality.
We’re not referring only to the Olympics, the World Cup, Wimbledon or Formula One, which are international events. If you wish to capture the attention of people in a specific geographic location, you can also take advantage of events such as marathons, smaller tennis tournaments or minor soccer league games with local teams.
You can propose a dynamic in which participants have to celebrate a goal in the most original way they can think of; or shout out words of support to their team; or upload a video of themselves crossing the finishing line of a local marathon; or simply film themselves showing what tricks they can do with a soccer ball.
3. Dedications contest
Video is the only media in which images and sound can be combined with text. Without a doubt it’s the form of media which can best move or thrill people. A dedications contest is an easy way of encouraging people to really get involved. Ask them to participate with a message to a family member who lives far away. The message could include a song too. Suggest actions that include a second person; for example, create a dynamic that involves the entrant naming someone in the video (challenging a friend to do something). This person will almost certainly take part, but they will also share the video, boosting the virality and helping the contest to work better.
4. Important dates
For all types of contests it can be very effective to relate them with important dates that are celebrated all over the world. Organize a contest asking entrants to provide gift ideas for Fathers’ or Mothers’ Day. Or, for Christmas you could create a Christmas decoration contest or a tree decorating contest. An option for Easter could be to ask users to submit the most original Easter egg design. If you would like to limit these contests to a specific area you could use local festivals such as Fallas in Valencia, Spain; or country-specific ones like Bonfire Night in the UK. For these types of contests you could ask participants to make a video showing their favorite aspects of their festival.
A common practice in traditional marketing is that known as “seasonal strategies.” This is an effective technique which encourages you to create contests which make the most of the season you’re currently in.
Some examples: You can carry out a social media video contest at the start of the summer in which users must offer tips for taking care of the skin in the sun. This could be a good way for a sun cream manufacturer to boost interest in their product. While a Cava producer could find a date near December for promoting their product by organizing a contest in which users upload photos of themselves raising a glass of cava at parties or family gatherings.
6. Keep up with the trends
Keeping up with trends ensures a greater level of virality. Users filming themselves dancing or singing along to the latest hit song can become viral. It’s also fashionable to post positive quotes. Another option could be to take advantage of the blogger movement by encouraging users to create a video of this summer’s latest fashion trends.
7. Promote events
Events such as premieres, musicals, stage plays or concerts are perfect for this type of contest. It’s important to know how to use the immediacy of social networks. Ask the audience of a musical to upload videos of the photo call or of the part of the play that they enjoyed most. Or if the contest is offering tickets to the event as a prize entrants could be asked to say why they want to go. These positive comments will help promote the event.
8. Hobbies and interests
It’s also possible to organize a contest related to hobbies and interests or to entertainment generally. Without a doubt, the success of certain YouTube users stems from their sharing of experiences with other people who have the same interests. Create a contest in which users propose season endings for a successful TV series; or one in which contestants film themselves playing their favorite videogame. Another option could be a video contest of pets showing their abilities.
10. Fairs, conferences and lectures
Social networks are changing the way we communicate. Thanks to them we are capable of interacting instantly with people from all over the world. This means we can give an event both national and international visibility.
Do you want to broadcast an event in real time? Find a hashtag and encourage everyone attending the event to promote it by uploading a video of the event, or of themselves explaining one of the themes of the lecture or summing up the conclusions of the speakers. In this way, the information can reach people who are interested in the subject but weren’t able to come to the event. Another idea could be to encourage attendees of a trade show to upload a video of the stand they liked most.
11. Products or services
Make the most of these types of actions for promoting your products or services by encouraging people to come to your sales outlet. One example could be to encourage people to upload a short video related to the product that they would most like to take from the store if they win. Or you can take advantage of visits to your restaurant or hotel by incentivizing customers to record videos of themselves recommending your establishment to others.
12. Market study
In many cases, contests can be used as a way of getting to know the opinions and tastes of your consumers. It’s important to prepare and know the terrain before establishing a strategy. And it can also help with brainstorming. Do you need to update your claim? Or would you like people to suggest ideas for your latest ad campaign? Ask users to propose ideas via a video.
You could also ask people to provide their best recipe using a specific product. You could then put the recipes into a cookbook. You could also ask them to help you define the benefits of a product – something that could then serve as part of your sales pitch.
Advantages of using video
Accessibility and immediacy. Almost everyone now has the knowledge and resources to film a video. As we’ve already mentioned, the use of smartphones allows users to record high-quality videos. More and more apps for editing and adding filters to videos are coming on to the market, giving the videos an ever more professional finish. Contests carried out with Easypromos are totally responsive, meaning that taking part in contests with a smartphone is both quick and convenient.
Virality. Social networks are a great ally of videos. Images and videos are the most-shared and most-commented type of content on the social networks. And it is often the more spontaneous and least-professional videos that achieve the greatest level of virality.
Versatility. It is the only type of media capable of combining texts, images and sound, allowing for a wide range of possibilities and permitting more creative actions.
Convenience and simplicity. It’s far more convenient to watch a video than to read a text, especially from a smartphone. The same is true when taking part in a contest: it’s easier to upload a video than to type in a text even if a user has a computer in front of him or her. Who hasn’t looked for a video with instructions for using a product to avoid having to read the manual?
Effectiveness. Online videos generate approximately twice the impact of other formats. 80% of Internet users would rather click on a video than any other type of link. Video is also the form of media that connects with the public best; it enables emotions to be conveyed simply and directly to the public.
Build trust. If it is the participants themselves who present the videos, the perception of the viewers will be more likely to be one of trust. The less professional videos will give a greater impression of truth and reality.
Why not try a DEMO?
See an online demo of a video contest. Get a taste of the user’s experience when accessing the promotion via a smartphone. Remember that via the new Easypromos feature it is now possible to synchronize your video contest with a Dropbox account so that users no longer have to pre-upload their videos to Vimeo or YouTube. Now it’s much simpler: here we explain how to do it.
One last tip:
Allow users to take part via Instagram. Make the most of the more than 200 million users and the chance to record 15-second videos. Easypromos allows you to include them in your Facebook video contests. Here we explain how.
Easypromos CEO and co-funder
Publication date: 2014-06-13