When I ran my community I had a the job of keeping my community interested. And I had to attract new people into the community. I would use contests to help fill both these holes.
The contests allowed me to keep my internal community happy and involved. Externally, I could reach out by submitting to key news to sites to post.
These news posts of the contests on gaming websites and world of mouth sharing was a huge key in receiving free advertising for my large gaming network.
I didn’t have Facebook or Twitter when I was running these contests. I had to use other viral marketing techniques such as: email, forums, refer a friend, newsletters and messengers to spread the word.
Community contests are not a substitute for quality content. The creation of these contests keep your members happy and interested in your brand. Your members should recognize that your trying to do something with them. Its always a good idea to try creative contests.
While you can use your community talent to makes things that your community site needs. Please don’t exploit them too often. Ill explain later, why. Keep evolving your community and don't be afraid to try new things.
Also have a contest suggestion forum or email for feedback. Your members are part of your community because they share the same passion as you. Try to be consistent when you plan contests. Don’t just plan the contests whenever your community numbers are declining.
The contests that are frowned upon are logo or button contests if they are done too often. Yes, you might get a good participation level the first few times.
Unless the reward has a big value, your sending the wrong message by turning your community members into volunteers for your pressing needs. It might be easier to request a volunteer to help with your graphical needs then a contest.
Some Examples of contests are:
Refer a Friend Contests
Screen shot Contests
There are so many creative examples of different contests out there. Above are a just a few of my favorite examples. Not all contests have to have a tangible reward as a prize. As the value of the prize or prizes increases the participation increases. Think outside the box, be creative and have fun. Contests are fun but important to all community models.
This article also appears on my personal page at www.mbhahn.com.
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