15 Mar 2011

How I Won an iPad and Influenced People

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For some reason, I’ve been following the Facebook page run by the car dealership where I purchased my car a few years ago. Every time I come across one of their updates, I flash back to that one late-night OCD rampage I had where I needed to decided to “like” every brand I’ve ever interacted with in my life.

The other day I came across a pretty classy-looking post of theirs promoting an iPad giveaway.  Not only was it legit looking, it was completely do-able.

Ooh, classy…
The giveaway called for the following requirements:

  •  You submit a photo of yourself with the car you bought from their dealership
  •  You gain the most Facebook likes on your photo if selected (only 5 are selected from the submissions)

What I found particularly interesting about this giveaway was the confidence I had in the strength of my social networks. My left eyebrow rose as I pondered my ability to rally friends from every corner of the Internet.

Can I Actually Win This Thing?

Let’s talk numbers.

  •  The Collection’s Facebook Page has approximately 2,100 likes at the start of the giveaway The assumption is than an average Facebook page has 4,596 likes*; The Collection having a low amount of likes means less fan-generated content/submissions, which means I’ve got a pretty good chance.
  • The Collection is a local, luxury dealership in Coral Gables, Florida. The assumption is that the market is small and very likely to be able to afford or already own high-ticket items such as an iPad. In fact, this market probably eats iPads for breakfast.

  • I have approximately 6 networks I could choose leverage: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yelp, FourSquare and my coworkers over at BGT Partners. My confidence in each of these networks was strong, but I’d never really leveraged any of these networks for anything but an ego boost.

Overall, I was pretty secure with my chances at winning this thing. My only concern was in ensuring I made it to the top 5 to be in the running for most likes.

The Hustle

With that, my husband picked up his nice camera, I kicked on a pair of red heels, and we drove down the street until we found a nice backdrop for our photo. All the important elements were there: the branding (dealership name is on the car), the local flavor (buildings in the heart of Miami) and the indisputable benefit of being a girl giving a #winning smile.

A couple of days later, they announced me as a finalist.

And so the liking race began.

I started with my largest and most easily leveragable network – my coworkers.

Coworkers, aka, Kings of the Internet

With just one mass email, I was able to gain 56 likes within the hour. I also happen to work at an interactive agency – these coworkers were not only internet savvy, but also massively supportive.

There was zero activity after that, and frankly, things had to start livening up a bit around here. At this point, I called upon what, to my surprise, was the strongest network yet – Facebook.

Facebook aka, I guess people like me.


I have about 480 Facebook friends and the second I posted my cry for help on Facebook, the likes jumped up to over 100. Not only were these friends surprisingly loyal (I mean, these are the people who wish me a “happy birthday” every year despite having relationship where neither of us would even say hi to each other on the street). After all, if so many people are willing to take the time to send me a Farmville or Give Someone Herpes app invite, they may as well vote for my thing, yes?

At this point, I was comfortably in the lead for several hours, but the guy behind me was gaining traction at a steady pace. Time to hit up Twitter.

Twitter, aka the not particularly engaged.

Now, I don’t have a huge Twitter network (177 followers), but I feel there is a higher visibility that comes when someone chooses to read your 140-character empty complaints on a daily basis. Boy, was I wrong.

I was unable to pull a high volume of new likes, but more effective in reminding those I already told via Facebook. Overall, not very fantastic results. I’m pretty sure I got skimmed by my friends using their phones (afterall, we’re looking at 62% of Twitter peeps who read their newsfeed on their phones*, probably moreso on a Saturday night). The Twitterverse was simply going to let my tweet die a lonely, lonely death.


Tumblr was a fail, however, it was to be expected given the Twitter results.  At 136 followers, and given the nature of Tumblr users (impatient, full of ADD and looking for immediate gratification) there wasn’t much convincing I could do. I calculated I pulled 2 likes from here. Seriously.

Let’s be realistic, my post was probably sandwiched in between a picture of someone riding a bike with a storm trooper helmet on and a funny video of a cat taking a nap, so forget that.

Despite my competitor getting a handful more likes over the weekend, and the failure of my smaller social networks, I managed to continually maintain a 20 like lead. Facebook continued to be my most devoted network, with a variety of Facebook friends campaigning for me on their own profiles. Ain’t that nice?!

Over the weekend, I became bored. My main competitor clearly gave up, but my desire to win grew paranoid and maniacal.

I had nightmares about my closest friends voting for my opponent, and even dreamnt he would rally a 50-person crew in middle of the night to like his photo while I slept.

The Final Push, aka, I Got This.

Before I went to bed the final night, I posted one last time on Facebook. Apologetic about spamming and offending these newly great buddies of mine, I pushed my message during prime time TV – The Oscars were in full effect, and the Knicks were beating down the Miami Heat. Commercial breaks and DVR fast-forwarding breaks were perfect times for liking my photo, I mentioned.

Surprisingly, I was able to juice about 30 more people from this thing! Facebook friends are worth their weight in gold.

I still slept with one eye open.

I Got This.

The following morning, The Collection was up and at ‘em and announced me as the winner. My lovely Facebook friends all liked the announcement and filled their page with positive comments. All was well in the world. Even my competitor congratulated me. I felt guilty about making him out to be this incredible super villain in the confines of my paranoid mind.

So, that’s that. I won an iPad and learned a heck of a lot about my social circles. They don’t just act like real-life social circles – they are real-life social circles. When you reach out to your friends for support you really learn who’ll help in your time of need, and who will blow you off (I’m looking at you, Tumblr.)

What did The Collection get out of this?

It depends. Giveaways are definitely a quick and easy way to gain likes quickly. The hard part is in keeping these new people and getting them to become engaged.

Interestingly, three weeks after the competition ended I noticed several of my friends were regularly liking and commenting on future posts. This surprised me. Was I really able to help be a brand evangelist? Did I really help them put a price on my friend’s heads?

I don’t believe my friends will decide to buy a car just because they’ve been exposed to the brand, but I do think that if and when they decide to buy one, they’ll be able to recall The Collection’s name at the drop of a dime.

Sources: http://www.sysomos.com/insidefacebook/, http://blog.twitter.com/2010/09/evolving-ecosystem.html



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