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Viral Campaigns Through Community Engagement & Contests

Thanks to social media, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have made it not only effortless to help promote web traffic, but even fun by introducing new ways to encourage user interaction, centered around a themed contest, for example. Similar to the advertising world, original & creative content can apply to the social stratosphere; triggering the same emotion that will encourage contest participation and further promote your campaign through social media link sharing, ‘likes’, and more.

Whether you’re trying to promote a heartfelt, creative campaign or value-added original content, keep a realistic goal in mind for the end result of your contest. Are you raising awareness about your community services, want engagements to convert to potential leads & future customers, or both?

Depending on budget, not all communities will have the resources available to devote to a giveaway-based contest. However with communities ripe with residents and great activity programming, you’re set to develop a contest based on user-generated content (UGC). Those who take part in your contest will likely promote the content on their own private social media platforms, especially if it involves the need for votes. When sharing across these platforms, it’s also a great tactic to endorse your own brand.

Ideas for similar community-related contests centered around user-generated content may include:

  • Resident Door Decorating Contests (image entries)
  • Art Contests (image entries)
  • Seniors Got Talent (video entries)
  • Short Poetry Essay (text entries)

For example, Senior Living SMART recently developed a Holiday Art Contest that allowed artwork to be submitted from members’ residents during the month of October. Rather than creating an album on Facebook and relying solely on photo ‘likes’ to be counted as a voting metric, instead they took it a step further by leveraging their website to create the ability to have users vote for resident artwork online.

Once the program parameters and rules were outlined, the community participants then took toward social media to engage family and friends to vote on resident artwork.

As a result, it encouraged users to travel from respective social media platforms to the Senior Living SMART website, to take part in the contest. During month of October, web traffic doubled at an increased 50% and, in turn, generated additional interest surrounding Senior Living SMART membership and value-added resources for independent operators and owners. Traffic from social media sources accounted for 40% with that month’s increase.


Increased traffic (in blue), comparing September/October months.

Winners had their artwork featured in November/December holiday cards able to be purchased direct from the SMARTStore. As a bonus, the contest winners received 10% of the holiday card revenue of their respective sales, and were able to donate that amount to a charity of their choice.

Deborah Howard, CEO of Senior Living SMART was excited by the flurry of activity surrounding the contest. “The contest increased awareness in the industry from those who had not previously found us through our educational webinars, blogs and other marketing channels,” states Howard. She continues, “Communities used the contest for their marketing initiatives and promoted it through their social media channels.”

This is just one foray into the many possibilities that could surround a similar contest to help drive traffic, and awareness, to your community’s website. Additionally, you may consider promoting your campaign by creating a unique hashtag for the community to use through duration of content, create social share icons, and even further increase participation with a small Facebook ad campaign.

For more information on how Bild & Company can help advise with digital marketing and strategy, please contact us →

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