Winning caption by Zelda - Westlake, OH
Last week, the WeAreMedia project discussed and built Module 3: Sharing Your Story Social Media Style. I put the call out for some case studies and Carie Lewis, the HSUS, Social Media Rock Star, took the time to share her story about the success and challenges of LOLseals.
1. What was the LOLseals Photo Caption Contest?
It was a photo caption contest based on the popular LOLcats site where users share photos of Cute Cats with funny captions. The Humane Society's LOLseals Photo Caption Contest offered cut photos of little baby harp seals and asked people to come up with cute, endearing, and funny captions that celebrated the cuteness of seals. The campaign also urged people to learn more about how to protect these adorable creatures and get engaged with the campaign.
2. What was your strategy for getting people to participate?
We learned from a previous photo contest that flopped that if you make it hard for people to figure out how to participate and time consuming, they won't. We provided the photos and an easy way to caption them - so it didn't take a lot of time to participate and it was fun. We also spread the word via social networks and blogger outreach. We have a significant presence built up over the last 18-24 months on major sites like Facebook and Myspace.
3. What were some of the interesting responses? What were some of the challenges?
Some people didn’t “get” the LOLspeak… and they wrote serious captions! The biggest challenge was making it as easy as possible for people to participate. We learned with the Wendy’s campaign that you’ve GOT to make it easy. Before, we asked people to upload their photo and tag it themselves, which meant they had to create a flickr account and know what “tagging” was. In using the API, everything was automatic, tagged, and uploaded without the user having to even touch flickr. We were also able to capture email addresses directly to our CRM this way.
4. What you would say made the campaign particularly innovative?
One – that everything was in one step and two – that we were able to pull off showcasing the “celebrating animals” part of our mission on a very serious issue and three – that we played off a pop culture / internet phenomenon (lolcats)
5. What were some top line results?
We had about 3,000 submissions and it helped get about 2,000 new email addresses.