Follow Me and Win a Prize – The Merit of Twitter Competitions

competitions-on-twitter.jpgLately I’ve been witnessing more and more competitions and prizes being offered by Twitter users as a way of increasing subscriber numbers. They usually go something like this:

Follow me on Twitter and you’ll go in the running to win “XXX INSERT PRIZE HERE XXX”.

Each time I see these competitions (and I’m asked to link up to them every 2nd day by those holding them so I see quite a few) I have mixed feelings. I’ll be honest (and I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes) but there are things about these types of competitions that both attract and repulse me. Let me explain (and hopefully in the process of writing this post I’ll actually work out what I think on the topic).

The Positives of Twitter Competitions

As someone looking to find followers a competition can and (in many cases that I’ve observed) does work. I watched with interest @shoemoney and his competition recently and he saw his follower numbers shoot up hundreds (it could be thousands now) almost overnight by offering some pretty cool prizes. If you’re just interested purely in raw numbers of followers then it’s probably a strategy to try.

The flow on impact of lots of followers has some positives to it – particularly if you’re promoting a site, product or service (or building profile). It’s also probably quite good for social proof and recruiting future followers (there’s nothing like having 10,000 followers to make you seem legitimate on Twitter.

The Negatives of Twitter Competitions

The main reason I react against the idea of competitions as a way to build my own follower numbers is that I wonder if it’s actually a good long term strategy for building a profile on Twitter that has focus and will build a network that has value.

Here’s a question:

“Would you rather a follower who followed you because they wanted to win a prize or because they saw something in your Twittering that they thought was valuable or useful to them?”

I think most of us would take the second type of follower – one who decides to follow you because they think you’ve got something to say that might enhance their lives in some way or because they’re interested in the topic you tweet about.

I’m not saying that followers gained from a competition are useless – but I wonder whether going the route of essentially buying followers will end up providing you with a network that is valuable?

The danger of running a competition with a cool prize is that you could end up with a whole heap of followers who have little interest in you or what you tweet about rather than a network of followers who are engaged and actively interested in your topic.

Lets Brainstorm Competitions that Might Work

I’m not totally against competitions – but I wonder if there might be ways to use them that help you to recruit a more focused follower.

Focused Prizes that Attract Focused Followers – One idea that comes to mind is to do a competition that has a prize or giveaway that is strongly related to the topic that you tweet about. I think that the recent Sitepoint giveaway was an example of this. In their promotion they gave away a book called ‘The Art and Science of CSS’ for free.

Now that prize is not as flashy as some of the prizes I’ve seen given away lately (I’ve seen iPods, cameras, laptops etc) – but it will attract a certain type of follower. The book is about CSS and as a result its a promotion that will only appeal to a certain group of people – the type of people that Sitepoint are attempting to connect with on Twitter.

Community Building Competitions – the other type of competition that I think has potential on Twitter is the type that you run FOR your current followers rather than for recruiting new ones. These competitions are where you add value to your follower network by giving something away. You might do this by doing a random giveaway or by asking your followers to enter by submitting a tweet answering a question of some kind. I don’t react as negatively to these types of competitions simply because they are more about increasing engagement with your current follower community than simply attracting the masses.

What Do You Think?

As I’ve said above – I’m in two minds and a little torn on this issue and would love to hear your feedback. What do you think about competitions on Twitter? When do they have merit and when are they too much and even potentially harmful to your twitter profile? What type of competitions have you run or seen others run that you think were worthwhile?

Comments

  • January 27, 2009

    I would prefer someone to follow me on twitter because of who I am than follow me because I’m offerring a prize !!

  • January 27, 2009

    I’ve been thinking this through and my view is that I would much rather have a few hundred followers who are doing so for the “right” reasons, than several thousand who are “bought.” It’s surely much more effective to Tweet a new post to people who have some interest in what you have to say?
    I have used a competition in the way you describe for followers on one of my niche blogs. I tweeted the contest to my followers, it directed them to sign up at the site, and they were entered into the competition, which was for a holiday directly related to the niche. It was very successful in building a good email list in that niche.

  • January 27, 2009

    Like every other type of marketing campaign (and I’m beginning to sound like a broken record to co-workers), a social media campaign needs to begin with ‘What are we trying to accomplish?” If you answer that question first, then the tactics that you employ will all ’suddenly’ fall in line. If your goal is to get as many people to follow you as possible, then this is the way to go, and that may be valid for some businesses/campaigns. If your goal is to build long-lasting relationships with existing customers, then a different tactic that truly adds value (from their POV) would be more appropriate. If it’s something in between, then a different approach is best. Go back to the goals of what you are trying to accomplish, and whether a truly open contest is appropriate will be easily answered.

  • January 27, 2009

    I Think you are right Darren… If you getting non-relevant people around you, Chances are they will soon get bored of your nonsense and You have to start another competition to Increase your Numbers…

  • January 27, 2009

    In the beginning, if it’s all about getting off of Square One, quantity is likely to win out over “quality” of follower. Which is alright if all one wants it to be visible.
    I’m still pretty new to the Twitter process and, at this stage, I’m finding I’m quite happy with the pace at which my network is growing because I’m following people who have something interesting to say – and they aren’t always linked to my industry.

  • January 27, 2009
    Becca
    @beccus

    I think I’m inclined to agree, that the best kinds of followers are the ones that do so because they are interested in what you have to say, that “bribing” (for want of a better word) followers with cool prizes kinda defeats the object.

    I’m not sure that volume of followers is enough to make twitter work either.

  • January 27, 2009

    Interesting points! I’ve seen a few of these competitions myself recently, I may even plug competition into my regular load of monitter.com to see them and see if I win! Though unless it is someone tweeting something of interest or value ‘ll probably unfollow after the competition ends.
    Recently @stephenfry had a competition for his 50,000th follower, not sure what the prize was. He also celebrated 50k of followers with another competition – You had to use 50 L’s in one tweet! Some of the entries were bizarre, not sure he’s announced the winner of that yet, though he’s on 64k of followers barely a week later!!!
    I suppose he is an exception as he is tweeting purely for entertainment rather than marketing purposes.

  • January 27, 2009

    I think competition is a great idea because you can attract many people. During the time of the competition, they can witness what you twit about and then they can decide if they like you or not. (It is marketing 101 I guess… bring them home and let them ask “who are you?”)
    Anyway, if you have a large number of followers it will not be as personal as twitter was suppose to be. You will end to turn your twitter account as an email-marketing tool 2.0

    Both strategies are good. Very specific product like a CSS book will bring plenty of webmaster geek only but a laptop will bring almost everyone. Those people will find out that you are a CSS geek. Maybe they will love to learn more about CSS….

    I guess the best solution is a mix of both …

  • January 27, 2009

    I’m new at Twitter but thinking about a contest and haven’t figured out yet how to do that so am looking forward to the comments you get here. I definitely am of the mind that a contest has to be related to the subject of the blog, as well as the prize be related.

  • January 27, 2009

    I agree and am of the same two minds. It seems somehow disingenuous to rack up followers by such means. However… If tweets are intended to get the biggest bang for your tweet-bucks.. (such as a marketing message) then maybe. I suppose it really boils down to the perceived benefit. You may get them, but will you keep them? Might such tactics leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth?. Maybe like so many things, the positives vs the negatives will be better understood as twitter has reached some magic saturation point and conclusions may be drawn. So, yah… I’m right there with you on that fence. :-)

  • January 27, 2009

    I can see a benefit in a competition if it is going to gain followers for the right reason. However doing so by giving away ipods, and laptops may be a little over the top. Yes you may gain hundreds of thousands of followers, but if you dont provide quality tweet’s that these new followers actually want to read and respond to then in reality you have gained absolutely nothing.
    One potential that could work is as kind of suggest a competition that offers a prize that does not cause people to follow you because of the potential material gain. But more for the potential quality of your tweets.

  • January 27, 2009

    Hi Darren,

    This is a great question you pose in your post. While there’s not necessarily anything wrong with contests if your intent is to just increase the raw number of followers you have, it’s only a short term win. The whole point of Twitter in my opinion is networking with people and having conversations. I’ve been successful in building my network by doing just that. If your goal is to build a long term relationship with a group of followers and friends, contests don’t cut it. Building a large network of Twitter followers requires that you interact frequently with your followers, participate and add value in conversations with people you follow and a large dose of patience as building a follower network takes time.

  • January 27, 2009

    Darren,
    Raw follower numbers are interesting… Many people chase them, and yet the general sense of the comments is that the right followers, rather than raw numbers are best. Chris Brogan asked that the other day, and it piqued my interest, so I had a look at some numbers on the subject.

    Here’s the analysis on preferential attachment in Twitter:
    http://digitalbodylanguage.blogspot.com/2009/01/twitter-chris-brogan-and-black-swans.html

    The conclusion is that all else being equal, having more followers leads to having even more followers. Good content and authentic relationships are key, yes, but preferential attachment makes follower growth more likely for those with large follower counts.

    Interested in your comments on this.

  • January 27, 2009

    Hi Daren, about running competitions on twitter in my point of view its juts how you say, day do it juts to archive users, to have more user, an d it don’t wort because a lot of them its juts to twitterspam you whit promotion of there blog, i thing you say the say, in you post.

    But juts how my mom say there are people for every thing doze that like it some that don’t like it, in Spanish there its a quote that say: entre gustos no hay disgustos, something like when you like something you don’t discos it, so if they like to be in doze competition and might be you receive spam its because the like it, and that don’t dis merit good and focus competitions.

  • January 27, 2009

    I wouldn’t really count the Sitepoint giveaway as a competition/contest. I have seen a few others, though, including the one from namecheap (the enom registrars). That was run for the month of December, and the first 3 correct answers to Christmas questions (simple ones) got a credit for a domain. That was run more to get customers, not for followers. And I’d have to say it was a very effective use.

    I’m also thinking of @copyblogger’s haiku contest. I don’t believe that one was run to get followers. And was fun, although I didn’t enter (not a haiku writer).

    In fact, I won’t even follow anyone that follows me for the purpose of gaining subscribers, unless that person offers value. And it’s easy to check by reviewing their previous tweets. And I certainly don’t feel that having a contest to gain followers is of any benefit. Twitter shouldn’t be a popularity contest.

  • January 27, 2009

    When I first started reading your post I thought I would disagree slightly with you, but once I finished reading the whole post, I do agree with you.

    I think giving away prizes or gifts that have relevance to your company is important. That way you aren’t getting phony followers for the sake of the prize. Competitions are good if relevant. People want to add ‘value’ to their lives/businesses etc and by connecting with people in a proper manner can, in itself, be invaluable.

  • January 27, 2009

    I’m of two minds about it myself. I did run on contest on my site recently and publicized it through Twitter – it doesn’t seem like the results were worth the risk of annoying my followers. There are a few Twitterers I’ve been very close to unfollowing because it seems like all they do is promote contests on their sites.

    I don’t mind at all people promoting their sites or contests on Twitter, but when that’s all that I ever see, that’s when it gets to be too much.

  • January 27, 2009

    I am not a fan of the twitter contests to get followers. If you have a contest to gain followers, what happens after the contest? Do you actually keep them? I do think the number of followers you have can “legitimize” you but I prefer to build my network organically.
    I see some people join twitter and follow as many people as they can off of some list of twits that have auto-follow backs. Within days they have a couple thousand followers but they have only a handful of updates. What type of community is this? I don’t see that as a community, I see it as a list of names. Perhaps I am idealistic, but I think I am building my community and gaining influence one follower at a time. The build up may be slower but it is stronger and more connected. I personally believe a smaller tighter knit community can be better than a mammoth one that is only skin deep.

  • January 27, 2009

    I like the idea of prizes but I think the prize should relate to the business somehow. A product you actually sell or something free from your website. This way your new followers will also be interested in everything else you are doing besides just the giveaway.

    When someone randomly gives away a cool prize it is just like buying followers. Can’t blame the strategy though if its for a company. Getting the word out a lil bit about a new start-up or something. If its done to simply promote an individual I really disagree with that.

  • January 27, 2009
    Matches Malone
    @MatchesMalone

    Speaking as one that has run competitions, I have to say, I’m doing it to build followers. I don’t have any other agenda other than that, as a celebrity in the making, I’m not really selling anything other than myself. I would appreciate visits to my sites, and donations for my current ministry project, however, I don’t necessarily know that the Twitterverse will be open for that.

    Also, I don’t tell anyone what they’re trying to win, I simply say, there’s a prize available for the nth follower. My next goal is 1000. My theory there is that since I have over 500 followers right now, is that if each of them asks one of theirs to follow me, I’ll get there pretty quickly….

    I do suspect that some unfollow, and attempt to refollow @ the appropriate time, however, that’s not my concern. I don’t track my unfollows, either. If after following you don’t find any added value, then by all means, look somewhere else for your intellectual comedy.

    This is a long term experiment, and if you’re following me, you’ve seen me make mention of it. I’m pretty sure that I could survive a massive unfollow, if it ever took place, as I’m Twittering ultimately for myself. Come along for the ride if you so desire….

  • January 27, 2009

    As Murray stated above, I believe that prior to any campaign we need to ask ourselves what our goals are going to be. For many advertising campaigns (whether web based or print media) the goal is simply to get massive blind numbers involved and shoot for a certain percentage to actually benefit from your product or service and continue using it or subscribing.

    I do however, agree that it is an extremely valuable tool for a niche marketer or blog owner to have a controlled giveaway for their followers. Giving away something of value to your subscribers, especially if it is relevant to your site or blog (or Twitter account) is the most effective way to obtain more loyal subscribers through a contest or giveaway. This IS the method I prefer to use, simply because it is more effective for long-term subscribers than giving away something that isn’t relevant to my audience.

    No social media outlet can be truly “pure” in that we prevent the ignorant from using it ineffectively, or the greedy from using black hat methods to obtain huge numbers of followers/subscribers and to continually inundate the platform with advertising that isn’t relevant. Contests/giveaways geared to induce mass amounts of people to subscribe/follow will always be there, and we simply must choose ourselves whether the value of the object being given away outweighs the irrelevant subject matter of the giver. Sometimes, we just have to hit the back button and forget about it.

  • January 27, 2009

    I agree with you that it has both pros and cons, but I think overall when you’re trying to build a brand and a community around that brand it can definitely help in the long run to increase the size of your audience even if a large majority of those people were inclined to ‘join’ because of a prize incentive.

    For example, as a small business owner I setup a booth at a lot of festivals and expos to let people hang out in our lightweight hammocks and get to know our company. I always put out a clipboard with a sign up sheet for our mailing list. Initially I had very few people that would ever sign up at a show. Even the people who loved the company , bought a couple of hammocks and couldn’t stop telling us how excited they were still wouldn’t think to sign up. However, as soon as I put a sign saying that you could sign up and enter to win a free hammock, I get people signing up all day long. Of all those ‘followers’, a large portion of them are initially signing up only because of the potential prize, and a number of them will unsubscribe when they don’t win. But most of the people don’t unsubscribe and I’m then able to use that connection I’ve made to show them what we’re about and turn them into lifelong fans. Those are people that I might never have had a chance to reach otherwise.

    The very same principle applies to Twitter, your follower numbers might grow deceivingly in proportion to how many people really want to hear what you have to say, but when you do have something of value to share then you’ve suddenly been given the opportunity to ‘keep’ those followers and impress them. I agree with what was said that any prize should be in line with what you’re offering, if someone is interested enough to win that prize there’s a good chance they’re also interested in what you provide. If it turns out they’re not interested in the end or you have nothing of value to share with them other than self promotion, your followers will certainly drop off. But, the overall gain can be positive and ultimately it’s still built on the value of what you’re providing which is what Twitter and community building on the web is all about. As I found out with my clipboard, if I just provide good content without any incentives I will get a few quality followers, but it would take me forever to build a community that way and it’s obvious that people in general like a little incentive to get involved.

  • January 27, 2009

    Different Strokes for Different Folks… I really miss that show “What you talking about Willis!” People use twitter for different reasons: branding, building tribes, creating a network, ego, competition, friends, advertising… the list goes on and on. It depends on purpose and again “Different Strokes for Different Folks!”

  • January 27, 2009

    Excellent article Darren!

    Agreed … I really don’t see the point of giving away a big screen TV when my tweets are primarily iPhone related. So I gain hundreds of followers … then what … these “big screen TV” followers grow tired of iPhone tweets and eventually unfollow me. Seems like a waste.

    We do run giveaways similar to those you described in the “might work” section of your article. We secure iPhone app promo codes (which allows the user to download the specified app at no charge) and giveaway these codes to our current follow base. Our followers “win” promo codes by re-tweeting the “giveaway message” we have posted in the Giveaway section of our web site or by answering a trivia question related to our web site or previous article we’ve posted. Giveaways are announced via Twitter and within the Giveaway section of our web site.

    We feel this method rewards and engages our current followers … but at the same time get’s our message out to other non-followers (via re-tweet messages) who might have an interest in iPhones.

  • January 27, 2009

    You know Darren, I have followed two people due to contests. The thing is, I only chose those two because of the value I get from reading their tweets and viewing their blogs. I have seen quite a bit of contests come across the radar, but I don’t see value (well, the prize is value I guess) in following just to get a prize. Nor do I see the value in running a contest just to build followers.

    You said it, “….providing you with a network that is valuable” that is key in social media – no matter what your goals are, if you don’t provide value, and you don’t find value it’s not going to work. I have several blog posts about finding and creating value, whether it is blogging, Twitter or in our unplugged lives. That is the “social” web – creating and recieving value – 10,000 new followers because you’re giving away an iPhone isn’t creating a value network – it’s creating a “suck network” where they suck what they want, in this case a prize, and don’t really care about what you are doing else wise….sure maybe 1-2% might end up being part of the value network. As you say though, what about long term?

  • January 27, 2009

    I did a contest about a month ago. Someone had given me an item to use as a give-a-way and I thought about many avenues to do the contest. I ultimately chose Twitter more for a learning experiment of my own than anything else. I found that it brought many of my regular blog readers onto Twitter. The happy effect of that is the fact that it has broadened that communication channel fo me. Hopefully that will also result in a better connected community. Now I am very small-time, but bigger entities might want to learn from that experience. Believe it or not, everyone isn’t on Twitter yet! Contests or competitions might be a good way to encourage more assimilation onto it.

  • January 27, 2009

    We’ve been running a fun daily game via the http://www.twitter.com/glue_genie account. We haven’t seen 1000’s of new subscribers but that wasn’t the point of our efforts.

    We have been using the games to help teach people about the product and its feature set. Often the game will involve directly interacting with the product in some capacity. We’ve also used the games to bring our community together.

    By giving away a daily book, movie, or music album we’ve been able to achieve a number of goals unrelated to ‘growing our follower’ base. We’ve been happy with the success so far and so has the community.

    Great site by the way. I’ve been loving the posts ever since I subscribed :)

    Fraser

  • January 27, 2009

    I think it would be interesting to also measure how many of these new followers drop out within a day, within a week and within a month after the results of the contest are announced.

    I do like the idea of a providing a relevant incentive for people to at least notice you in the first place.

  • January 27, 2009

    I think one of the key differences in our Twitaway (the SitePoint giveaway), compared to others,was that is wasn’t a competition at all — it was a giveaway. We gave a gift to everyone that followed us, rather than “follow us for the chance to win….”

    The total focus of our campaign was followers, the reason we could be so specific is that we believed that there was already value in our tweets/blogs, we just needed to take it to a wider audience. The proof is in the result, 20,000 followers and we’ve only lost handful that joined as a result of the giveaway (2 month’s down the track).

    We’re also starting to see some negative sentiment around entangling re-tweets as a qualification for the prize. Carsonified recently apologized and admitted that their competition was a bad idea, simply as they asked for a high number of re-tweets. We didn’t require re-tweets for our twitaway, as to me, if felt like we were just trying to overtake other peoples accounts.

    It will be interesting to see how these competitions evolve.

  • January 27, 2009

    It is kinda like in real estate you have an open house and you advertise you are serving food, well the people that come are not going to buy a candy bar let alone your home, yes you did get a lot of traffic to your home but all your traffic disappears and you are left no food. Not the type of people I want.

  • January 27, 2009

    I guess it does not matter much in the long run if you are tweeting purely for recreation.

    But if you are building a following in blogging and social media, then attempting to build a substantial following by holding Twitter contests may not be the best way to go about it. You’ll get all kinds of followers by holding a Twitter contest, not just tweeple interested in marketing, blogging and social media.

    I’m dedicated to blogging and social media as well as marketing. If you are a serious blogger than you are also a marketer, which means you can’t afford to ignore social media.

    Twitter contests are a nice diversion, but if you are trying to build a substantial Twitter following and you want to hold contests on Twitter, you had better take a hard look at your target audience.

  • January 27, 2009

    Great post Darren. Couldn’t agree you more. Having competitions got getting followers doesn’t make sense and in all probability folks who become followers during these competitions may not even look at your tweets. To me the whole benefit of twitter is when you have a quality network and when you interact with your network.

    I recently came across a competition hosted by @stonepayton where he wanted definition of Innovation with a $1000 prize for the best definition those type of competitions add lot of value. In fact those should be encouraged.

  • January 27, 2009

    “Just entered the #superswag contest. To enter follow @SuperBowl2009 and ReTweet. Prizes from @FFanatics and @Hooters_rest “

  • January 27, 2009

    i think you’re spot on with a “focused prize for a focused group.” i think thats the best of both worlds

  • January 27, 2009

    I think putting up a competition to gain Twitter followers is pathetic. My personal Twitter philosophy is to be myself, have an accurate profile and naturally attract followers who share my interests and passions. I don’t even care how many people follow me, or who unfollow me or whatever. I do care that I follow people who engage with me and provide useful information via Twitter.

  • January 27, 2009

    As Shayne mentioned above, SitePoint is generally very happy with how our twitaway went. We don’t pretend to have all of the answers to this question though, and a few of us are watching this discussion with interest. What I will say right now, is that I’m enjoying the discussion, it’s rare to see a subject like this discussed in such a balanced way and not become polarized!

    Maybe this sparks a question for another post? – We’re now working hard trying to figure out how we effectively tweet to our 20,000+ new followers. We never went into this for numbers alone, our intent was to add value well beyond the freebie – but with 20,000 followers almost overnight, we’re now a tad conservative about what we do because we don’t want to blow it! A side effect of our approach perhaps?

    I don’t think it’s a leap to agree that a following based on organic growth built up over time is preferable in many ways. At SitePoint, we felt that we were a little late to the party and we wanted in! Another consideration for a commercial business is cost, and it is less expensive to get started with a promotion.

    However, if the followers we gained through the exercise stick around and find it was worth following us – how much does it matter how they found us? I don’t want to be fooled by the raw numbers either, 20,000 followers can be very different to 20,000 engaged participants. I think it’s possibly much more important what we do next.

  • January 27, 2009

    Competition still works in Twitter because Tweeps are still ignorant about the value of followers, and marketers are taking advantage of the fact.

    That sounds harsh but it’s true. Savvy marketers know their numbers. Like email, they know if they spend $1 for every lead, they are going to make $5.25 back. Perhaps the metrics are not that precise yet for Twitter, but still the contest is a rather cost effective way to attract followers.

    Think about it. Companies have to pay per lead as part of a CPA offer to get zip code, email address, etc. And marketers pay only a handful of prizes for tons of followers. Tweeps who participate should have realized about this. They are an affiliate who work for free without getting paid nicely (unless you sincerely like the marketer and want to promote him/her.)

    In the future, getting Twitter followers are not limited to RT, but also from other media and advertising channels. At this time, people have to start considering the cost of RT just for the sake of winning prizes and giving value to their followers.

    I recall a long time ago that I hit the unsubscription link in every email that did nothing but participated in a huge launch for the sake of prizes and provide nothing in return. Those days are going to come to Twitter, real soon.

  • January 27, 2009

    I’m with those who like contests for those who follow , officially or not. Friends rt can add to your list. I once posted a photo of a landmark site on my blog and asked if anyone know where it was? Impatient as I was for a response, I went into twitter and posted the challenge. We had a lot of fun, and many close guesses, before a correct answer.
    It was both fun and productive.

  • January 27, 2009

    I think you hit the nail on the head with “Focused Prizes that Attract Focused Followers”. I have a twitter account that’s all about t-shirts called @IHeartTShirts, and to get the word out, I created a retweet contest where I gave away 10 t-shirts as prizes. That way, people that took part were more likely to be interested in t-shirts as well, and would follow the account in addition to just retweeting.

    Trying to promote a personal account however is a bit tougher, because there aren’t really any prizes that you can give away that match what you’re likely to tweet about (unless you’ve written your own ebook or something similar) but I still think you can make it work if you think it through and plan the contest to attract relevant sponsors. You just have to make sure not to just jump on the contest bandwagon without first planning what you want to get from the contest, and you’ll do fine.

  • January 28, 2009

    @CoffeeCupNews offers prizes consistig on specialty coffees and coffee-makers. Still, even without the prizes, he’s still a valuable resource on coffee since he also produces videos that teach you the art of enjoying different coffees, reviews varieties and encourages (and helps) you to know more about coffee.
    There’s nothing wrong with giving prizes, as long as the person or company offering this also give you more: a conversation, information, “friendship”.

  • January 29, 2009

    I’ve got a couple hundred followers, I’ve done nothing to try and artificially increase the number of people who do follow me. It has simply taken time, and (I hope!) interesting stuff that I’ve said. I also have a personal blog which has had a positive impact on my Twitter followers.

    I think that organic growth is far better in the long term, because after all, when the prize is handed out – and you weren’t the winner – the first thing you’re going to do is unfollow them.

    What does one gain from having more disinterested followers? Nothing.

  • February 3, 2009
    Wised-up

    I agree with other posts (@jonathandavies, @lexirodrigo) that the race to get as many followers as possible is, well….condescending. To me that’s saying: “I don’t know who you are, what you have to offer or share, and basically, I don’t care to find out first if we even have anything mutually in common because afterall, you’re only a # and a potential client”. And chances are if you’re following 20,000 people, and just as many following you, anything I tweet or comment on is of little relevance to you since afterall, you’re not looking for quality people to engage with, but #’s. By “you” I mean those of “you” who do this, and you know who you are and why so many people are wising up to this mass marketing and aren’t following back.

  • April 17, 2009

    I agree that it must be something related. We are a Christian ministry for those who live with illness but we are also the founders of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and we do a lot of awareness/education and also have a 5-day virtual conference online with 4 guess per day giving seminars at blog talk radio.

    A lot of people are involved with social networks that include others with illness and I’ve been thinking of what give-aways we could do to promote our event in Sept without being tacky. I did actually think of an ipod shuffle. For $50 it would not be too expensive for me to spread the word (better than a $150 press release service) –and a lot of those we serve are on limited income and can’t afford an ipod.

    Plus, our virtual conference last year had 19 seminars and we’ll be doing 20 more this year, which are all available through itunes. So that way we could give people an additional tool to hear the seminars on besides blog talk radio.

    Anyone have an opinion or tips in social media and nonprofit event promotion? I’ve been doing some reading, but right now trying to build a solid base foundation on FB and Twitter.

  • April 27, 2009

    I understand wanting a focused following and wanting followers who follow me bacause they have some sort of interest in what I have to share. That’s where I am.

    I can also see the other side. If someone runs a contest to garner followers, they may gain followers who have no interest in them, but the contest holder has at least the duration of the contest to peak someone’s interest. They’ll probably lose some followers after the contest but they also have the opportunity to gain the interest of some, too.

    This will work best, perhaps, with focused prizes :)

  • July 10, 2009

    Interesting post, thanks.

    Of course attracting followers/fans that are interested in what you’ve got to say (as opposed to what you’re giving away) is preferable. While it’s no replacement for these kinds of followers, it can’t do your cause any harm to huge volumes of unengaged, prize-hunting followers at the same time. Who knows, getting your content in front of them may eventually pique their interest and stimulate them to engage.

  • December 8, 2009

    We’re currently running a contest/giveaway… as of yet, it hasn’t had much success. We’ve had our twitter account for over a year, but it hasn’t been until recently that we’ve began to use it.

    What we’re doing is sending out free product as we reach certain milestones of followers (100, 250, 500, 1,000, etc.) If anyone has done something similar to this, let me know what made it a success/failure for you.

    Thanks!

  • April 9, 2010

    I think it can seem rash but if you believe in your brand then you’ll know that those ‘hooked in’ by competitions will quickly see that you’re sending out some great tweets. If they don’t like you they’ll tell you/stop following.

  • December 18, 2010

    I would rather a follower follow me because they are genuinely interested but I guess having a large number of followers would help

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