The Colorado River Trail is an 11-county region of LCRA’s service territory that starts up in the pecan orchards of San Saba County and follows the river down to Matagorda County and the Gulf of Mexico. It started about 15 years ago as a way to connect LCRA and local/county parks along the river, and has evolved into more of a tourism region where we highlight all the fun things to see and do.
We do a lot with our Flickr photos on Facebook. We just started this feature where we put up two photos and get people to vote on the one they like best. It will revolve around a theme – like this one was about which sunset photo people liked best. I’ll do one every week from now on.
We do a weekly photo trivia contest on Wednesdays called “Tripod Trivia”. Fans have to correctly guess the location where the photo was taken. I don’t offer any prizes – just braggin’ rights. This one almost always gets great interaction.
One of my favorite things to do is to post a photo of some yummy food I’m about to eat or a scenic place I’ve just visited. Kind of a “don’t you wish you were me” type thing.
I’ recently did a little test of Facebook advertising. I used a photo (with permission) from our Flickr group as the image in the ad. It seems to be working very well so far. I saw an almost 16% increase in the number of fans on my page.
I always announce our Facebook Tripod Trivia feature on Twitter to try to cross pollinate our audiences. I’ll also post the actual photo once the correct location is guessed.
And this is an example of how we’re using my Flickr group in some of the other work we do in our department. This is a slide from a draft presentation we’re working on that will provide economic data for specific regions in the LCRA service area.
We used our dedicated page on our website as the home base for the contest. We did this to avoid paying for 3rd party apps to host the contest on Facebook. We used Facebook and Twitter to promote the contest, but always pointed people to our website and/or the Flickr group for more information. If you have the proper website analytics in place, you’ll be able to track the referring sources to your contest page. More about that in a minute …Contest began April 4th, and the winner was announced May 17thAsked for photo entries in 5 categoriesOutdoor activitiesRiver and lake activitiesFestivals and eventsEntertainmentHistory, heritage, and cultureOffered prizes for each category winner, and the grand prize was offered by the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and SpaPrizes: Day on the Bay kayaking trip from Matagorda Bay Nature ParkLight ‘O the Moon float trip from McKinney Roughs Nature Parkannual pass to LCRA parks, stay in a mini cabin at Black Rock Park, RV site at Matagorda Bay Nature Park Grand Prize:a round of golf for two at Wolfdancer Golf Resort as the grand prize
We used Polldaddy.com to handle our voting. They provide you with a simple HTML embed code that can easily be added to your site.It’s free to use for 200 survey responses/month and up to 10 questions per survey/poll. We pay the $200 annual membership to get 5000 survey responses/month and unlimited survey questions. We primarily use it for the contest, but also have the flexibility to use it for other internal projects if needed.
Once people vote, they get to see right away how their choice compares to the others.
PollDaddy gives you a nice little heads up dashboard of your results.
Once the contest was over, we highlighted the winner on our website, took the opportunity to congratulate the other finalists, and all the while still trying to drive them to our Flickr group.
Flickr has a cool feature that allows you to create slideshows based on a photo’s tag. We used the contest tag (CRTContest11) and created a slideshow that we embedded on our website as well as on our blog.
Lessons learned:The 5 categories were too confusing. Make it simple for people to enter. We wanted to get more photos that matched specific holes in our group. We had lots of great scenery, but very few entertainment, festivals, and history/heritage.The contest lasted far too long. If social media is going to be a component of your contest promotion, people will lose interest after a while. Our contest lasted for a month and a half – that was too long. The public voting period was too long as well.A contest on Flickr has to be nurtured. We chose not to host the contest on Facebook because 1) we wanted high quality photos, and 2) we didn’t want to pay for a 3rd party app to make the contest legal. But Flickr people are active ON Flickr. It’s difficult (but not impossible) to get non-Flickr users to create an account, join your group, and upload photos. Flickr is just not that widely accepted yet. But for us, it’s worth it because this is a channel we are invested in and want to continue to grow. It provides us with an almost unlimited source of content.Because of the inherent difficulties I just described, you have to promote the heck out of it on your social media channels. Encourage contest entrants to share with their friends by adding Facebook share and like buttons and “tweet this” buttons on your website.Talk your goals through with your IT people BEFORE launching your contest. I assumed that the website analytics I needed were already in place. Everyone uses Google Analytics, right? Wrong. Some key data I needed to show whether or not my social media channels drove people to the website just wasn’t there. No one had every asked our IT people for referring sites to a page before, so they weren’t set up to do that (and it can’t be done after the fact). I’ll know better next time.
A Moment in Time:Telling your story using photo contests and
Agree to terms …If you agree to these rules, you can join the groupOnly post pictures to this group for which you ownthe original copyright or are in the public domain.All pictures posted to this group may be used bythe Colorado River Trail in its various publications,both print or online (including social media). Wewill credit you as the photographer on any photothat we use.Only photos depicting the Colorado River Trailregion will be accepted. We reserve the right toreject submissions to our Flickr group displayingcontent we deem to be inappropriate or offensivewithout prior warning. The Colorado River Trailreserves the right to update the Group Rules.
Results:• 107 contest entries (84.5% increase over 2010 contest)• 15.85% avg. increase in Fans/followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr• 12.3% avg. increase in Facebook and Twitter activity (likes and comments)• > 11,000 % increase in inbound traffic to the photo contest web page• Time on site ranged from :58 seconds pre-contest to 4:21 during peak voting Photo: watsoninelgin