People love seeing photos of themselves online. “Selfie” was word of the year for a reason, after all.
But if there’s one thing the Internet has taught us, it’s that as much as people love seeing themselves, they love adorable pictures of animals even more. And if you turn that into their adorable animals, well, that’s a perfect storm.
After several years of running a successful Halloween photo contest that solicited snapshots of dressed up coworkers and decorated offices, Duke’s Office of Communication Services decided to see what kind of response we’d get from organizing a pet-themed photo contest on our Facebook page in February.
Instead of finding the most creative costumes, we wanted to find “Duke’s cutest pet.”
How we did it
We promoted the contest through our Working@Duke social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and on Duke Today, having entries submitted to us through a Qualtrics form in order to easily capture participant contact information and photo submission.
In all, we received 39 photos and tallied nearly 1,200 votes over the course of a week. Winners were determined by public vote, but we also had “judge’s choice” selections to spread the wealth of pet-themed prizes.
We asked that entries try to focus on a Duke-related connection when possible, which included shots of a turtle in “Cameron Indoor Aquarium,” a hamster sitting in a Duke hat and even a dog wearing a Blue Devil cape.
Why we did it
While the goal was to offer a fun way to engage our community, it also benefited our presence on Facebook. All voting was held on our page in the form of likes and people were allowed to share their pictures however they saw fit to drum up support.
With so many people coming to our page to vote, here are some of the stats where we saw increases from January to February:
- 204 percent increase in monthly likes
- 270 percent increase of views of our Facebook page
- 306 percent increase in the number of people clicking on our content
All this was boosted because people were voting in our contest, but even after we announced our winners on Feb. 18, we saw sustained engagement with all our posts through the end of the month, whether it was related to the contest or not.
Should you consider a contest?
Since Facebook changed its terms of service to allow for these types of contests, it seems like a goldmine for potential engagement, if only because you’re creating the opportunity to show off something your fans are passionate about. In our case, their furry (or slimy) loved ones.
Once people submit photos, the heavy lifting is uploading them and their information. Since voting is done through likes on your Facebook page, the platform does the work for you.
Most important, you’re likely to see an uptick in your monthly stats and grow your Facebook fan base. In the months since the February contest, we’ve seen increased engagement to go along with our growing number of page likes.
This is a guest blog post by Bryan Roth, senior writer/producer with Duke’s Office of Communication Services.