How to promote a twitter crowdsourcing contest?


I created a twitter crowdsourcing contest to get some tagline help and raise pre-launch awareness (build a great tagline and get an iPhone). The problem is, I'm new to the twitter world and don't have it figured out yet. I launched the contest yesterday, got a few responses, but it is an attenuated virus at best.

What went wrong? Some ideas:
1) boring contest
2) didn't figure out correct way for people to tell their friends about the contest
3) need to find proper place to announce it

Thanks a ton.

Update: I ran the contest. Lessons learned at

Marketing Contests Twitter

asked Feb 11 '10 at 22:01
Mike Schoeffler
100 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

5 Answers


Twitter is all about who follows you and the retweet. Judging from your twitter account, you don't have many people following you. That's probably why it did not go viral.

It does not sound like a boring contest at all. It's kind of witty actually but the problem will be no one knows about it.

So, it looks like you need to build a following or reach out to someone with a big following. As for the contest content, you probably need to tweet it more with different variants on the theme. You should also use a URL shortener since your site URL takes up a lot of the message and is harder to retweet.

answered Feb 11 '10 at 23:46
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points
  • Thanks for thinking this through. I'm glad the problem is not a dull contest. Not sure how to get the word out, but that problem seems more manageable. My Twitter account is three weeks old. I've picked up 60 followers, but it seems like this is my spam-free pace. I doubt enough will pile up before the contest ends. I'll try reaching out, but most of my friends are just not twitterers. Do any twitterers focus on contests? Your answer made me realize I can RT entries along with "Think you can do better?" – Mike Schoeffler 14 years ago
  • People put contests like yours all the time on twitter. I don't know if anyone focuses on contests but you could look up some keywords or a list. Those are great places to start. One other thing to consider is kind of a play by play of your contest. That gets people a lot more interested. Good luck – Jarie Bolander 14 years ago


Twitter doesn't automatically get your message in front of eyeballs. Only people following you see your messages, and only if they re-tweet does it start to spread.

There's at least two parts of going viral:

  1. Getting a critical mass of people to see your message upon "launch"
  2. Getting people to repeat your message to people they know, then those people do the same, etc.

For #1 you don't have enough eyeballs to get it rolling. For #2 you need a combination of:

  1. A message people want to spread (i.e. it's worth spreading and they become more valuable in their follower's eyes if they do spread it)
  2. A message easy to spread.

I think you have the first of these already -- as Jarie said it's a good idea. #2 is trickier. One thing to do, again like Jarie said, is to shorten the URL so there's more room for people to spread the word and make commentary. Another thing you can do is literally ask them to spread the word, e.g. "Plz RT!"

Here's a longer article I wrote on the subject, with more examples of what specifically you can do.

answered Feb 12 '10 at 01:49
16,231 points
  • You're killing me here. I knew I wanted to stop by Dharmesh's site, but I only got here because I needed a break from reading a huge pile of useful articles on your site. That link is one of the many I had not seen yet. – Mike Schoeffler 14 years ago
  • +1 for Plz RT. That actually works. Someone did a study on that a while back. People do like to help others if they can. – Jarie Bolander 14 years ago


did you try more hashtags?

#contest #iphone #runners Best tagline for our #roadbud app wins iphone + app. Details @ Hits people who have iphones, runners and like contests. Adding the runners hashtag can get some interest. could try #cycling and #jogging as well.

answered Feb 12 '10 at 08:29
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • Sweet - much better tweet than the original. I feel like such a twitter novice. – Mike Schoeffler 14 years ago


Jason Calacanis does this kind of thing all the time and his followers/listeners might be helpful.

His startup show is on Ustream on Fridays. "This week in startups"

answered Feb 12 '10 at 08:01
Tim J
8,346 points
  • And I think my tagline is the best one... – Tim J 14 years ago
  • Listening to Jason Calacanis for the first time now (heard of him many times, but I'm more of a reader). Thanks. Great tagline. – Mike Schoeffler 14 years ago
  • His personality can be a bit abrasive. However, he has an audience and is effective at what he does. – Tim J 14 years ago


In addition to the above great advice, try using a third party platform like to help you facilitate the contest. They run contests on Twitter AND Facebook. The company charges a small fee but on the upside - they take care of all the marketing for you.

answered Feb 16 '10 at 06:33
206 points

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