Five Lessons I Learned From The BizBreak Contest

For the past two and a half months, I’ve been participating in the BizBreak App contest. While I ultimately came out in 3rd place (darnit), it was a lot of fun to participate in and I ended up learning a lot of surprising things.

Participating in these contests can not only be a lot of fun, they can also bring your business a lot of exposure. I gained tons of new friends, contacts and followers just by having my message spread around. So what were some of the lessons I learned these past couple of months?

1. The power of social media

I never really thought social media could do some of the things it did. I was able to get my message for voting across to over 20,000 people! While I could only get 800 or so votes (see Lesson #5), I was still able to reach people.

Not only that, but I had several people, whom I’ve never spoken to before, recognize me as one of their regular blog commenters. Because of this, they were happy to spread my message out for me.

The real lesson here, is that you can only be in so many places. If you constantly give to your readers and followers, when it’s time for you to need something, they’re always happy to give back!

2. The power of charity

My votes were doing well on their own, but not great. For awhile, I’ve been dying to donate some money to our local animal shelter, but I just haven’t had the extra cash to do it. So I decided that if I won the contest, I’d donate a dollar for each vote up to $1,000. What this did was put my voting on steroids! People then really enjoyed spreading my voting message, because in turn it made them feel as if they were donating themselves and helping a good cause.

It’s important to note though, you should never, NEVER use charity just to win something. You need to be sure you really do want to donate (and that you WILL donate). People can smell liars and fake givers, so don’t be one of those.

3. Online popularity doesn’t guarantee winnings

I wrongly assumed that I would win. I had the most video views. I also had the most Twitter followers, Facebook friends, Linkedin connections and generally more connections on the web than any of the other contestants. what I found though, is that it’s actually harder to have your voice heard online, and your message gets lost in the rest of the noise.

One of the contestants didn’t have much of a presence online. But he was able to get more votes than me by going out to places in person! (And bribing students none the less with extra credit LOL). Since I’m a freelancer who works from home, I don’t know a lot of people outside the online world. It was awesome to learn that the real world can still be as popular, if not more, than the online world.

4.  Everyone loves a good rally

People love to support you if you’ve offered them tons of free stuff before. Free stuff could be your blog, your advice or even your tweets. People also love a good rally. Give them something to believe in and they’ll fight for you to the end.

5. It’s tough to get people to act

Even though my message reached roughly around 20,000 or more people, I only got 800 votes. Why? Because it’s tough to get people to stop, even for a few minutes, to listen to you. We have a lot going on and our message gets lost between the 20,000 tweets a second, 200+ emails a day and the rest of the din of the outside world.

While I was unsuccessful at figuring out how to break through the din, I did learn one important thing: you can’t just stand on your podium, preach and expect your listeners to carry your message entirely. You’ve got to help too.

Thank you to all my supporters

Thanks to everyone, who did vote for me, who retweeted the messages, put them on facebook and held their friends and family at knifepoint until the voted for me (you did do that right?). You’re are the reason I spend so much time on the blog and on twitter. Thanks guys, you rock!

image by » Zitona «