How to Use Google+ for Social Media Contests
Are you looking for creative ways to run contests and giveaways on Google+?
Although there are restrictions on using Google+ for contests, there are ways for you to promote your contests successfully on Google+.
Interestingly, most brands and businesses on Google+ aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity, and they’re missing out.
In this article, you’ll discover how three brands leverage Google+ as a core component of their social contest strategy and the keys to their success.
Google+ Contest Rules
Running contests, giveaways, promotional offers, etc., has become a staple part of online strategy for business owners and marketers.
They’re used to stimulate engagement, build community, encourage user-generated content, create a unique experience and increase brand awareness.
First let’s look at the rules.
Unfortunately, the Google+ platform has specific restrictions when it comes to hosting contests. In fact, Google+’s Contests and Promotions Policy clearly states:
“You may not run contests, sweepstakes, or other such promotions (“Promotion”) directly on Google+ or in a manner that requires use of G+ features or functionality.”
For many people, that’s a show-stopper right there.
The good news is that it’s possible to leverage contests to engage your community on Google+ without violating their contest and promotions policy. The second line of their policy is the most important to pay attention to:
“You may display a link on Google+ to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted so long as you (and not Google) are solely responsible for your Promotion and for compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where your Promotion is offered or promoted.”
With this in mind, let’s have a look at how some brands promote their contests on Google+.
#1: Ask for Compelling Experiences
To engage your audience at a deeper level, asking them to participate with a like, plus or a share isn’t enough. You need to facilitate an experience that excites and motivates them to action.
Google launched an experience-based campaign to drum up excitement around their newest product, Google Glass. Instead of telling people how Google Glass would change their lives, they asked their communities to submit ideas of how they would use Google Glass via Google+ and Twitter using the hashtag #ifihadglass.
As you can imagine, the submissions poured in.
The bait? Selected applicants were offered a chance to preorder their Google Glasses in advance.
Note that submissions using #ifihadglass are carefully classified as “applications” to avoid any conflict with Google’s contest and promotions policy.
The fun doesn’t stop there. After selected applications received their Google Glasses, Google launched the next phase of their campaign and encouraged people to share their unique experience of life through Google Glass, using the hashtag #throughglass.
The phased strategy in this campaign is key because it keeps the campaign momentum and community engagement buzzing as user-generated content and engagement continue to promote their product.
The beauty of this contest is that it tapped into their audience’s passion and brought it to life through interactive experience and participation.
#2: Make Recognition the Prize
It’s common for marketers to rely on dazzling prizes to incentivize participation. However, if you’re hosting a contest solely using Google+, traditional incentives and prizes aren’t an option. It’s time to tap into the power of recognition.
To celebrate the opening of their new Google+ fan page, Converse sneakers launched a creative competition that invited agencies and their community to show off their favorite “creative hack” for their Converse sneakers.
Right off the bat, Converse was smart and stacked the deck by inviting top agencies to participate in advance. As a result, they knew that they would have awesome visual and multimedia content to inspire their community and generate excitement.
Using the extremely creative content submitted by agencies as a springboard, Converse took engagement to the next level and opened up participation to the broader community.
The secret to Converse’s success was leveraging the spirit of their fun, creative and bold brand to launch their Google+ presence. Then, they harnessed the power of Google+ as a platform to encourage and recognize their community’s #chuckhack contributions to the world.
#3: Integrate Contests
Perhaps the easiest way to integrate a contest on Google+ is to incorporate it into a larger campaign.
Remember, according to Google’s contest and promotions policy, it’s acceptable to “display a link on Google+ to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted.”
Pepsi uses Google+ to target and engage fans to participate in their pop-culture #LiveForNow campaign. This campaign promotes multiple contests across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
While the contest is not hosted exclusively (or directly) on Google+, their Google+ presence is almost solely dedicated to promoting and engaging with fans to encourage participation.
This strategy is often underutilized on Google+, mainly because businesses and brands are concerned about violating Google+ contest and promotions policy.
But as you see here, this is a totally acceptable (and effective) strategy for promoting contests and increasing engagement within your Google+ community.
Promoting and integrating contests on Google+ is a great way to elevate your project or brand on Google+. If managed correctly, they boost engagement and set you apart from the competition.
When running contests, remember to create a strong promotion strategy on Google+ to leverage your community there too.
What do you think? Have you considered leveraging contests on Google+? If not, have these examples inspired you to consider integrating contests into your Google+ activities? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.