A few nice viral marketing images I found:

5 Great Twitter Contests
viral marketing
Image by Stuck in Customs
The Best of Breed
If you have some more ideas, Tweet me at @TreyRatcliff!

I’ve been asking all my social media pals, photographer-friends, and others about some of the most successful and fun Twitter contests that have been run. I was sitting down with my publisher at @Peachpit, because we need to Give Away a few copies of "A World in HDR". While we thought of a few ideas, I thought we would open it up the Internet to see what we can find!

Frankly, and this might offend some people, I think that straight give-aways are crass and obvious. I think it can get you followers, but I can argue those are ill-gotten followers. You may disagree.

I think there are more fun, engaging, and productive ways to run Twitter contests. So, to that end, I’ve assembled some of the best below. If you have MORE, drop me a note in the comments, and I’ll do a redux soon! 🙂 Also, please, tell me your favorite contest idea and we can try to do something similar for the new book! I’ll probably have @Peachpit run the contests, since I don’t want to Tweet about give-aways once an hour on my personal Twitter account (@TreyRatcliff). Besides, you guys should follow Peachpit anyway, since they are a good company that publishes fantastic books.

1) The Michelle

So named, because it is the idea of Michelle Greer, a clever Twitter user and social media smarty-pants at Rackspace.
We pick a non-photography related blogger who frequently uses pictures in their posts to act as a judge (who’s interested??)
Judge announces a theme for the day (Landscape, architecture, etc) and announces via Twitter. We’ll get that Retweeted widely and repeatedly.
Contestant picks a photo that fits the theme, "Hey @TreyRatcliff and @Peachpit, this #hdr is inspiring (link)." Note this does not have to be MY photo…it can be yours, or anyone’s!
Judge picks the winner and uses it on their blog with attribution. Winner gets a the prize!

Why I like this idea:

People get to find and share great art online
People get to discover new photographers and new sites that feature them
I’m a big fan of Creative Commons (all my work is CC, no Commercial Use allowed without contacting us first). I think bloggers out there should know about all the beautiful photos from photographers that are available. And photographers who believe in creative commons LOVE to be featured on blogs.
Everyone likes eye-candy on Twitter!

2) The Trvial

Thanks to Eugene, a frequent guest on this site!
Send people on a scavenger hunt through a particular website to find something hidden

For example, we could ask, "How many nights in a row was Trey forced to eat borscht cooked by three Russian women in Argentina?"

The contest judge accepts tweets with real, creative, or funny answers.
The winner is selected randomly amongst those that got the right answer in 24 hours.

Why I like this idea

It’s fun and game-like
People get even more engaged in a website and might find some hidden gems
You have 24 hours to play, and you don’t have to be "quick on the draw"

3) The Macleod

A frequent guest of the site, Barbara Youngleson, brought this one up. Thanks Barbara!
This idea appears to have come from Hugh Macleod, the clever cartoonist and consummate cooligan
It works like this (more or less):

Purchase a book by any means, and send the PO over Twitter
A limited number of winners are chosen
Receive a second book, signed, for free. Give one to a friend!

Why I like it:

It is non-pushy
It rewards people that are real-enough fans to buy the book in the first place! Hehe.
Hugh did it, so it must have some coefficient of cool

4) The Threadless

This idea is being successfully executed at Threadless.com
If you see a Tweet you like, you can submit it to the contest
It is then voted on by the Threadless community
The best Tweets end up on T-Shirts and the Tweet author gets sweet cash.

Why I like it:

It’s incredibly fun and engaging.
It’s super-viral. I found out about it because someone nominated one of my Tweets: "If I get another dog, I shall name him ‘ROFL’."
Threadless is cool, and it is fun to be associated with a cool brand.

5) The Moonfruit

Moonfruit (a website buildin’ company) ran a good promotion where you can use the hashtag #moonfruit in any kind of Tweet
They selected a random person every day and gave away a MacBook Pro
It resulted in the #moonfruit hashtag being a trending topic and gaining over 30,000 followers

Why I like it:

It was very easy to enter
It was viral because you wonder why your friends are all talking about Moonfruit!

Today’s Photo
The photo today was taken at an awesome Indian restaurant in San Francisco called "Dosa". The manager was nice enough to allow me to move around and take a few photos after dinner. I was dining with the marketing and PR team from Peachpit (@Peachpit), who is publishing the book. Taking roll-call, we had Scott Cowlin (@ScottPeachpit), Sara Jane Todd (@SaraJaneTodd), and Laura Pexton (@Laura7). We sat around all night talking about having some fun Twitter contests for people to give away books… so here we are, and you get to vote on your favorites!

from the blog www.stuckincustoms.com

Texting Congress 1
viral marketing
Image by afagen
Participants were asked to send a text message to Congress.
Rally for Medical Research supporting investments in medical research and NIH, Carnegie Library, Washington, DC

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True viral marketing
viral marketing
Image by HD41117
Dependent on a country’s chosen methods of electricity generation, I know… but still. The top three fuels used for generating electricity in the UK are

* Coal (37.5%)
* Natural Gas (36%)
* Nuclear (18%)

(Source: Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, UK Energy in Brief, July 2007 ( www.berr.gov.uk/files/file39881.pdf ))

It is interesting to compare the statistics of 2007 to those of 2004 and 1990:

* gas – 39.93% (0.05% in 1990)
* coal – 33.08% (67.22% in 1990)
* nuclear – 19.26% (18.97% in 1990)
* renewables – 3.55% (0% in 1990)
* hydroelectric – 1.10% (2.55% in 1990)
* imports – 1.96% (3.85% in 1990)
* oil – 1.12% (6.82% in 1990)

(Source: Dti, Energy in Brief, July 2005 ( www.dti.gov.uk/files/file10738.pdf ))

Note that the Department of Trade and Industry no longer exists, having recently been replaced by the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

The Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.

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