The Benefits of Entering an Online Voting CompetitionAnita Kirkbride
You’ve seen them, I know you have. “Please vote daily for Jimmy to win a trip.” Or “Don’t forget to support your local crafter to win a coveted title.” There are online voting competitions out there for just about everything. Many of them force you to repeatedly spam your family and friends just to win a title. But some, like the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award, actually have a pretty significant prize up for grabs.
In the 2012 round of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award competition, the ultimate winner was the local, independent coffee shop, Two if by Sea Cafe, who wanted to expand their ethically sourced coffee roastery business, Anchored Coffee. The prize of $100,000 to ramp up that side of the business was enticing for them and many other small business owners with big business ideas.
There are lots of reasons to enter these competitions: ego, visibility, and hey… MONEY! It got me to thinking about the social media benefits of online voting competitions. Here are some of the non-monetary ways in which you could benefit from entering an online voting competition:
Increased Social Media Reach
The potential here is really unlimited. If you have avid, enthusiastic customers and a great idea, those customers are going to naturally want to share your idea with their networks. Two if by Sea Cafe has quite a cult following in Halifax (and outside, thanks to many tourists who visit). So much so that many local social media types were tweeting and posting daily to remind people to “Vote for TIBS”. It became a community thing. Everyone wanted to see Zane win and we all wanted to be part of it. I remember scheduling daily reminder tweets for the entire competition so I wouldn’t forget.
Increase in Basic Numbers
As your social media reach increases, so too will the number of people following you on each of the networks. Numbers are not necessarily the most important metric we have in social media, but an increase is better than being stagnant!
If you’re in a big competition like this, you’ve got tons of content just waiting to be shared. You’ve got something big to talk about every day of the voting. Share pictures of the plans, ask questions, thank people for their support.
A Great Source of Warm Fuzzies
Do you collect your warm fuzzies on social media? Formal testimonials are great, but warm fuzzies are often spontaneous and much more fun to see. Every business owner loves to see someone tweeting a good experience about their business. Your raving fans will do this for you daily and you can sit back and soak up the love. Don’t forget to save it, favourite it, screen capture it, or embed it somewhere for those not-so-warm-and-fuzzy times. Warm fuzzies will be a great boon to your confidence.
Exposure to New People
No, this isn’t redundant. Through your increased social media reach and the increase in basic numbers, you will be exposed to new people. Perhaps these new people will lead you other funding programs, investors, employees, customers, media opportunities, or suppliers. Many of the past finalists of the BDC Award program indicate they developed new relationships that benefited the business because of the increase in exposure through the voting.
So even if you don’t win, you haven’t lost by being part of one of these competitions. Used well, social media can boost your awareness within the local community, bring about new relationships and provide you with great, easy content for a couple of weeks. What are some of the other benefits you see?
This post is sponsored by the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award 2014