Twitter is a great place to quickly scan and see what is going on in the world, or in a particular niche topic. I was looking around at SMS related topics the other day and found many good (and some not so good) articles. But I also found many more pleas for votes from musicians, bands, and even illustrators.
The tweets were from all over the world, and I believe most were for different types of contests or competitions. By that I mean the tweets weren’t all asking for votes for the same reason or contest. Here’s a rundown of what I read and how you could put the same idea to work for your creative community.
Quite a few of the tweets I read were made by radio stations. They were asking followers to send an SMS using the keyword for their favourite song or band. It didn’t appear that the followers would receive anything in exchange other than helping to determine the winner of whatever contest was being run. But it helps keep their audience engaged and primed as well as lets the radio station potentially grow their marketing list.
I think the largest portions of tweets I saw came from individual bands asking fans and followers to cast a vote for them by sending an SMS with their keyword. Sometimes winning a local best band contest is a huge stepping stone to greater visibility. It’s an opportunity for fans to directly show their support.
Maybe it’s because my daughter is an artist and illustrator, I tend to notice contest announcements or related information. She’s entered several contests online, but I had no idea that so many of them asked for voting by SMS. Just like for bands, a single win in an art contest could really boost the career of an artist.
Asking for votes directly via SMS
Using Twitter to ask for SMS votes makes perfect sense. It’s a good way to reach many people all at once. If they are reading social media that is. Often tweets or posts can get lost in a sea of updates. In many cases though, it would be possible for a band or artist to ask for the SMS votes directly using their own SMS campaign. Loyal followers of a band just might be willing to give their mobile number in exchange for updates on new releases or performance dates. Bands could also use it to ask for support in contests or other activities.
My daughter subscribes to many artists on YouTube who have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. If they could get a fraction of those people to sign up to an SMS fan list, they’d probably dominate any contest they entered!
Radio stations, or even concert halls and event centres, can benefit from SMS beyond using it for contests. Once someone votes in the contest, simply ask if they want to be on the SMS list to get notifications of future contests and opportunities. If they say yes, then there’s one more number added to the potential list of customers for SMS marketing.
Other similar examples
One of the towns near my home runs a “Best of” contest each year. Anyone can login to the contest administrator’s website and fill out the survey to vote for their favourite restaurant, hair salon, bookstore, or chiropractor – basically any kind of business or service is on their list. But the survey is cumbersome. You have to make your way through all 250 categories and decide if your favourite place is listed, or even if you have an opinion at all (I’ve never been to a tattoo shop!).
It would be great if they instead let people vote via SMS for the places people really care about. For example, my chiropractor and wellness centre are amazing. Great people who really care, have reasonable prices, and are always willing to go the extra mile. They’ve won their category five years in a row. I feel strongly enough about them I want to vote. But I don’t want to sift through all those pages on the survey to find them (though I do anyway).
Why not let the different places use social media and print adverts to rally their customers to vote for them via SMS? More people would vote that way I imagine, and the results would be more valid because people don’t pick random place on that huge survey for categories they don’t really care about. It would take some changes on the side of the people who run the contest, but in the end it’s all a form of advertising for them anyway (it’s actually an entertainment weekly paper behind it all).
Creative communities and organisations can use SMS messaging to run their own contests to help raise awareness of new artists or promote the best of the best. SMS messaging lets you reach people more directly than via social media and has many other positive possibilities. Artists, musicians, bands, and other creative types can gather their fans on a list too, letting them reach out directly to the people who support them the most.
Have you ever voted in or run a contest for a creative community?