One thing you can never find enough of on the internet are opinions.
From long-form leaked missives, quippy ranting reddit collections, super smart gifs about big data to an unrelenting mass of short-form 140 character tweets (or is it 140+ nowadays?), there are a plethora of opinionated (sometimes brilliant) people creating plenty of cringe- or crave-worthy content.
So how can marketers put those opinions to work for your brand/team/community?
We suggest guiding their engagements through a well-tailored data collection fan activator, like a voting campaign. A voting campaign is one of many engaging ways to collect specific customer data to fill in your gaps in exchange for entertainment, incentives or just a visible outlet to voice an opinion.
For example, when a brand asks their social media audiences to offer a vote in exchange for using a social login they give entry into a sweepstakes or send a digital coupon. Before you get into the mechanisms of the vote, make sure you set up a good framework for this most hallowed and Democratic of processes, keeping it focused and on target is paramount for reaching the right outcome.
Below are the 5 steps we use to define and launch a voting program while gathering some good-looking data points about your target market pre, during and post your voting event.
Step 1: State your goals… simply.
This first step is the most important of the five. Spending the right amount of time and using the correct data resources you have collected in your past efforts helps to create a solid foundation for your fan engagement program.
As Steve Jobs once famously said, “Focusing is about saying No.”
What are you wanting to accomplish with your voting (or any fan engagement) program? Try limiting these write-ups to one sentence with a max of two goals for each engagement. It will help eliminate the noise that inundates your busy work lives and will help you say “No” to the things that derail these clearly stated efforts. If it doesn’t work towards your goal say “No”, and have the signed goal statement in your back pocket as your safety blanket.
Step 2: Gather community insight and engage viewers on my broadcast/awards show.
Opening up your voting program to the community, and not having it take place behind closed doors or velvet ropes, creates excitement and elicits fervored involvement (not to say it shouldn’t be targeted to the correct audience). Real-time voting or voting within designated time bands, is a powerful way to share voice with your audience. Create passion pre- and post-event by putting a slice of your brand’s presence on your fans plates.
Whether it’s a small awards show, a huge broadcasted Miss America engagement or anything in between, your voting program should:
- have impeccable up time,
- align voting with how your audience wants to cast their votes,
- incentivize when necessary,
- and gather customer data points unobtrusively and transparently.
Step 3: Create a memorable and shareable sponsorship experience at your venue.
Not many stadiums or conference room seats are as comfortable as the LazyBoy your fan has in their living room – unless the seats you offer come with the added bonus of your team crushing the opponent, a stellar hot dog, good WiFi, neat swag or in-venue ONLY upgrades and experiences. Creating an engaging in-house experience gives your attendees reasons to personally broadcast the time spent with your brand to their families, co-fans, coworkers and friends.
Every vote in these instances should have share capabilities with trackable tags and links (perfect for post-mortem retargeting efforts) that can reach these in-house voters LazyBoy-Entwined cohorts. Vicariously giving those homebodies access to the experience they couldn’t attend, with room for a little friendly gloating to boot.
Step 4: Increase app downloads and app usage.
Running a voting program within your current app can get the downloads, opens and touches/swipes you were hoping for when you bought the app from the friendly development house. Creating engaging moments, your fans can access at a specific time either in-venue or out on the main drag, can limit the infrastructure needs in gathering votes in a multi-channel marketspace. A flexible and responsive framework creates one spot for deployment to any number of places for interaction, on any screen.
Have a specific level you’d like to assign for segmented access to this voting content? Creating exclusivity for participation, like a “Gold-Level” members-only section, can have your most vocal fans eyes and fingers on your most precious content.
Step 5: Capture user generated content, curate entries and showcase for final voting.
Getting buy-in from your audience to spend the time and energy making content for your brand is a tall order. Taller even, is having the internal resources to concept a compelling contest, draft the rules and regs, set up an informational site, prop-up a repository for entries, choose how the content will be grabbed, curate those entries, have yet another site for voting (all the creative, planning, development and support associated with this other site), what the voting paradigm will be, choose and communicate to the winner, notify and thank the other participants, deliver the winners “winnings”, update the voting and informational site notifying the contest is over, setting up the next contest or using the UGC for other marketing purposes, and a multitude of other marketing, fulfillment and other support practices.
It looks like a lot. And it is. Getting the help you need from industry experts that have run 100s of these, as opposed to spinning it up in-house or contracting an agency to build it ad-hoc, will save you highly coveted currency – whether it be time or money or sanity.