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Tweet Your Way to New Prospects - 11/3/2009 -

Here's how one association used a Twitter-based scavenger hunt in July to build early awareness and online engagement for its annual convention coming up in January.

By Angela Wijesinghe

TWEET YOUR WAY TO NEW PROSPECTS by trying a scavenger hunt contest. That's what Professional Photographers of America (PPA) did this past July to encourage early online interaction and web traffic for its Imaging USA event coming up in January 2010 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

One of the greatest benefits was the awareness the contest built—for both PPA's new Imaging USA website and its Facebook fan page--driving 11,500 page views and adding 1,000 Facebook fans in a single week.

How did it work? As with any great scavenger hunt, there has to be a prize at the end. So PPA offered a treasure: a free copy of Adobe Photoshop® CS4 Extended. To win, each day of the three-day contest participants had to:

  1. Visit three of the association's websites (http://www.ppa.com/, http://www.ppmag.com/, or http://www.imagingusa.org/) to find the Twitter bird icon. (PPA tweeted three location clues each day.)
  2. Mouse over each icon to read the image title.
  3. Combine the three message snippets from the icons and be the first to tweet it.

Tracking activity with Twitter and Co-Tweet, PPA was able to decipher the first person to tweet the full message (the winner). In addition, everyone who retweeted the message was put into a drawing for another copy of the prize. PPA even had a web form for those who don't tweet—after all, you don't want to alienate any of your members.

While it may sound involved, this contest was actually quite easy to implement. Even so, improvements can always be made. Here's what PPA suggests that associations do if they launch their own online scavenger hunt:

  • Announce the contest early to build awareness.
  • Work with additional member 'evangelists' to simultaneously announce the contest.
  • Encourage people to retweet/share the initial contest announcement.
  • Consider Facebook advertising to reach additional members and potential members.
  • Encourage more tweets and retweets over the course of the contest—possibly stretching it over a longer period.

Remember, the more that a member or potential member interacts with your association, the more 'real' your association feels to them.

(Editor's note: Review PPA's full scavenger hunt contest rules.)

Angela Wijesinghe is a marketing specialist with the Professional Photographers of America, Atlanta, Ga. Association Media & Publishing members interested in learning more great ideas on how to build member engagement through various media (print, online, social media, etc.) will enjoy the upcoming November/December issue of Association Publishing, which is dedicated to this topic.


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