Twitter Contests and Incentives – Do they Work

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of wondering aloud when someone would start offering cash prizes for twitter followers. I had seen people offering physical prizes before, but never cash. A few random people decided to have some fun with me and start saying I was offering cash, so I just decided to run with it.Since this wasn’t a planned event I don’t have the exact numbers but you can see from the graph below I gained about 300 followers

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I offered a $100 prize, and gained about 300 followers which is about $0.30 per acquisition. Right now social media gurus and web 2.0 weenies are tearing the temple robes since I’m referring to twitter followers in a commodity sense, but hey deal with it. I did have some drop off after the contest, but nothing significant, and you can see the slope of  line adding new followers remained fairly consistent, after the event.

I know some people believe this was all some evil plan that I executed to look like an “accident” but really it wasn’t. I opened my mouth said what I was thinking, the opportunity presented itself and I ran with it. I know there are some people who won’t ever believe me, and that’s cool. However if I had thought about this before hand I would have executed it a little better, here are some of the ways I would have improved it:

  • By offering cash I attracted everyone, I would have been better offering something more targeted to my community like a BOTW listing, or SEO Book Membership, or pro SEO Moz account.
  • I would have started the offer earlier in the day and on a day when I could devote my time to pimping it. Sure I could just robo-tweet but scheduled tweets are almost always inferior to live tweets
  • I would have put up a short message and required people to retweet my name to be entered
  • I would have taken out some PPC ads for popular twitter terms and software.
  • I would have scheduled some guest posts on popular social media blogs for that day allowing me to saturate the twitterverse with my presence and the contest

Are twitter contests a viable way of gaining followers … absolutely. However you do have to be aware that many social media purists dislike the concept, so it’s not all unicorns and rainbows, be prepared for criticism. If you take the time to plan beforehand and execute a little better chances are you’ll have even better results than I did.

Lastly less someone think this was just a game and I never gave away the prize, here’s a link to the winner @SteveGarfield, who did the right thing and turned the money around and donated it to charity

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