Social Media Diary: Valentine’s Day Contest

Everyone loves a competition – especially if it comes with a good prize!

However running an online contest can require more time and effort than you initially think. Even if your community is not that big and you’re not expecting to get too many entries, you still need to plan how you are going to reach, engage and thank people – and afterwards, how to report the results.

At the International Office of Saxion University we’ve decided to run a small giveaway to celebrate Valentine’s Day. After discussing it with the Events Coordinator, we’ve set the main prize (a dinner for two!) and started working on the online material.


We’re currently working on a new blog/social network to better get in touch with our International Students. So instead of placing the contest in our social media accounts we decided to redirect it to this platform, keeping it private to our community – this kind of decision always goes aligned with our online strategic plan.

After the promotion the next steps were the content curation and choosing the winners. For this matter, instead of picking the best pictures ourselves, we’ve decided to give the voice to the International Office team, creating a pool and asking their votes for the pictures they liked the most. This is a simple act, but it brings a lot of value to our communication strategy.

As social media matures, it goes from a marketing tool to a collaboration one. In our team we’re actively using social media; Facebook Groups has been adopted as an official communication channel by Nuffic – the official Dutch organisation for international cooperation; the use of social media by the higher education sector is not only emerging, but it is now a ‘must‘. Engaging your internal team in online campaigns is a good way to provide value to what you do besides the fact that the community management aspect should always start inside the organisations. I like to say that ‘it is worthless trying to create a community of engaged students if our internal team is not engaged itself.

Ready to start making packages!

Ready to start wrapping!

Love is everywhere <3

Love is everywhere <3

And they look great :)

And they look great 🙂

Here goes a quick summary to run online campaigns, by Matthew Barby:

1. Designing the competition structure.
1.1 Choosing a prize.
1.2 Scouting for possible competition partners.
1.3 Deciding the way that users can enter.
1.4 Choosing the competition platform to use.
1.5 Understanding the content requirements.

2. Selecting the advertising mediums.
2.1 Settling on where the competition will be held.
2.2 Creating a list of outreach targets.
2.3 Budgeting for paid traffic sources.
2.4 Reaching out to your targets.
2.5 Competition/Offer websites.

3. Executing the campaign.
3.1 Deciding on the length and start date of the contest.
3.2 Planning a content schedule.
3.3 Tracking results.
3.4 Announcing and following up with the winners.

In the end it was a great week! We hope the winners enjoy the dinner!

Ps: It is not my purpose to discuss the social benefits that online competitions have for brands here, but to share experiences and get inspiration for future campaigns. So if you have also created a good contest for this Valentine’s Day, let’s discuss about it in the comments 😉

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