Yesterday, Sonia Marsh sent a congratulatory email. I had won the “My Gutsy Story” writing contest. I broke the record for the total number of votes. After congratulating me, she candidly asked- “How did you succeed in getting so many votes?” I answered her question with two words- “Social Media.” Yes, social media is a definite asset. There is no doubt that social media is a useful tool for getting your “tribe” to follow you. Did I use a social media strategy to win the contest? Yes.
Social Media Strategy
- 1st Tier- Friends and Relatives When the contest started, I reached out to my circle of friends and relatives. I sent emails to my personal contact list. Some were sent in a short-listed email blasts while others were more personalized. A disappointing number responded. Follow up emails and conversations garnered ambivalent comments. “Oh, I’m not sure if I deleted your email” or “Send me another email and I’ll try to read your story.” If I had any chance of winning, I needed to find a stronger base of support.
- 2nd Tier–Social Media “Friends“ Reluctantly, I turned my attention to my social network. I did not want to become one of those obnoxious individuals who hammered away trying to induce people to vote. To avoid being a pest, I sent out personalized notes to the people who had supported me in the past. These “friends” tended to respond favorably. Since I’ve only been involved with social media for a short time, my list was relatively small.
- Support from Inner Circle I asked my husband (Ira), my sons (Josh, Adam, Aaron, & Jordan) and their wives (Rachael & Rachel) and Kayla Garthwaite to lend a helping hand. Each used their social network to promote my story. This created an international presence with Josh and Rachael in India.
- 3rd Tier- Social Media Contacts I reached out to a small group of followers with personal tweets and individual messages. This method was extremely time consuming, but netted some wonderful comments from strangers. Many took the time to read my story and provided positive feedback.
- 4th Tier-Social Media Postings I also posted links on my website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. A number of followers sent encouraging words. I tried to balance my desire to win with the fear of alienating my followers with an aggressive campaign.
- Continually monitoring the results There’s an old saying, “It’s not over until it’s over.” This contest was a perfect example. For days, I kept a comfortable margin of 20-30 votes. With less than 10 hours until the end, my closest competitor took a commanding lead. It was crunch time. I had to revisit all levels of my contacts and ask for more support. I did not anticipate the need for a last minute push or another round of pestering my followers.
- Team Effort My family and a couple of close friends used social media for a final rally. My numbers climbed steadily. When the clock struck midnight, I had more than an 80 point lead.
Gratitude and Thanks
- Thank you Sonia Marsh for the opportunity to participate in the February 2013 “My Gutsy Story” writing contest. I look forward to seeing my story in the next anthology and meeting you one day in California.
- I appreciate the support that I received from my inner circle- Ira, Josh, Rachael, Adam, Rachel, Aaron, Jordan, and Kayla Garthwaite.
- A special shout-out to my 2nd son, Adam. Your followers @BornFitness came through in the final hours.
- Thanks to my close friends for lending a helping hand.
- Thanks to everyone who voted. If you haven’t read- May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, I hope you will soon.
- Good luck to my fellow contestants-Douglas, Diane, and Anne. May your “Gutsy Stories” be read by many.
Closing Thoughts on Social Media and Contests
Last spring, I started my website and then slowly added a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. The learning curve was steep. I was intimidated. I doubted the importance of social media. After using social media to organize my January virtual book tour and then more recently gathering votes for “My Gutsy Story” contest, I can see the value of social media. Social media is a tool that can effectively connect people around the world to focus on an intended goal. It is a quick and an efficient use of time. There is no other way that I could have responded in just a few hours. I appreciate the support that I received from all of my connections around the world. I learned that social media can positively affect the outcome of an online contest.
Please consider supporting Sonia Marsh. She is participating in Toms Ticket to Give. It is her wish to be one of the 50 people who will travel to Honduras Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Argentina to distribute shoes to the needy. If you have a moment, vote so that she has a chance to do this good deed.