Social Media Competitions: Don’t give out your own service as the prize

Chou Note

When you run a social media competition when people submit pictures or videos and one person wins a free prize, DO NOT use your own service as a free price. You want to use something that people already want. Usually these are things like Apple products or cameras. If your service is so valuable that it will incentivize people to submit for a competition, they like your service anyway and for you this “marketing” campaign is redundant – only people who already think you have the best service ever would participate.

Also, don’t give out the prize quietly. Make it the biggest announcement in the world. It’s special.

Get mentored by Yu-kai Chou

Octalysis Prime Gamification

Every week I hop on a conference call to teach, answer questions, and give feedback to members of Octalysis Prime. If you want to take your Gamification practice to the next level, then come join us.

Would you like Yu-kai Chou to work with your Organization?

If you are interested in working with Yu-kai Chou for a business project, workshop, speech or presentation, or licensing deal, please fill out the form below.





4 thoughts on “Social Media Competitions: Don’t give out your own service as the prize”

  1. Thanks for the encouragement!
    An iPad is hot so that’s great for a competition. Did you get a lot of participation? Yea, making a lot of noise for the prize winner will help future participation of these competitions.

  2. Hi Yu-kai,

    What you said is absolutely true. I mean it’s just common sense but most people don’t realize it. Referring to your post, for us, we did the 1st thing right (giving out iPads for the competition in using our service) and the 2nd thing wrong (giving out the prizes quietly). We did shout out loudly about the prizes and the competition itself, but not many people know when someone won other than those involved in the competition. Recently we’ve made changes to fix this.

  3. Thanks Joe!

    That’s exactly my point. Make sure you give out a prize that people have ALREADY thought about wanting in their day to day lives. Hope all is well and take care!

  4. Hi, Yu Kai,

    Really good piece of advice, running a startup we often think that our service is so valuable whereas most of the time, people don’t really care.

You must engage in the conversation!!