Ideas to Win a Contest

How to Get Votes for Your Contest Entries

(Without Breaking Any Rules)

Creative Ways to Get Votes for Your Contest Entries Without Cheating

When you enter contests of skill, like photo, recipe, or writing contests, you might think that once you create an outstanding entry, your work is done and you can simply sit back and find out if you’ve been chosen as a winner.

Think again. 

Many creative contests use voting to help determine their winners. Some use a voting system to narrow down the pack and pick finalists to be judged. Others go the opposite way, with judges picking finalists and a vote determining the winner. And of course, some contests do away with judges altogether, and simply let voters pick the winners outright.

That means that if you want to win creative contests, you need to have a strategy to gather votes. Simply asking your friends to vote for your entry usually isn’t enough.

The Type of Competition You Might Be Up Against

Many years ago, a company called ThePamperedPup sponsored a contest, which took a bad turn for them. The company was accused of condoning cheating when a contestant seemed to surge ahead in votes overnight.

The reason? One of the entrant’s husband was a PGA executive. He sent an email blast about the contest to thousands of people on the PGA mailing list, many of whom voted for his wife. She received a huge number of votes in a short period of time, but they were legitimate.

You might not be lucky enough to have access to a massive mailing list of people you can call on to vote for you, but with some creativity, you can still get a significant number of votes for your contest entries. If you’d like some creative ways to generate votes for your contest, read on.

Before you use these suggestions, make sure you read the contest’s rules. Some contests let you use any available method to get votes. Others specify that you can only ask friends and family members. Some say that you can invite people to vote in the contest in general, but not ask for votes for any specific entry.

Whatever the rules are, be sure to follow them carefully to avoid being disqualified.

1. Ask Your Friends and Family Members to Be Your Ambassadors

Your friends and family members might not be enough to win every vote for you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you.

Ask them not only to vote for you, but to ask their friends for help, too. This can create a powerful ripple effect. With a network of people on your side, you might rack up votes more quickly than you think.

2. Make Friends with Other People Who Enter Contests

Join a sweepstakes club or sign up for a Facebook page about sweepstakes. There, you can meet and befriend people who can support you, and whom you can support in turn.

3. Put Twitter to Work for You

Twitter is a website that lets you connect with lots of other people, which makes it perfect for asking for contest votes. If you take the time to develop a network of friends on Twitter, you’ll have lots of people that you can tell about your contest entry, and ask for votes.

In order to utilize Twitter well, don’t be too commercial with your vote requests. Take the time to follow people who really interest you and who share interests with you. Post about things other than your vote requests, and don’t go overboard with the number of times you ask for help

4. Generate Votes with Facebook

There are a number of different ways to build a network to help you get votes on Facebook. You can join a vote exchange group (note, some contests specifically restrict entrants from using groups like this), remind your friends to vote on your wall, or create your own private voting group.

If you play Facebook games like Candy Crush or Farmville, you can offer to trade in-game gifts for votes.

5. Change Your Forum Signatures to Include Your Contest Voting Link

If you participate in online forums, especially if they are sweepstakes-related, be sure to change your signature to invite people to vote for you.

6. Use Your Email Signature to Get Votes

How many people do you email each day? Encourage them to vote for you by changing your email signature to include a link to your contest entry. That makes every mail you send a little ad for your entry.

7. Visit Forums that Offer Vote Exchanges

Many sweepstakes and savings forums give you the opportunity to request votes for your contest entries when you support other forum members. These vote exchange forums depend on a give-and-take. It’s poor form to pop in, request a vote, and never return, and you won’t get a lot of votes that way.

Be sure to not only make your own post, but to also vote for others, leave a comment that you’ve done so, and leave the link to your contest in the comment to generate maximum votes. Note that some contests specifically restrict the use of vote exchange forums.

8. Hold Your Own Giveaway

Some people have held their own giveaways, either by giving people who vote for them the chance to win a prize or by using them to spread the word about their contest entry.

Be careful, some contests prohibit the use of giveaways to encourage votes, though!

9. Put Reddit to Work for You

Reddit is an online community with a ton of users who could help you win your contest. It’s important to use Reddit respectfully, though, to avoid being banned. Here are some tips on how to get a post to take off on Reddit

10. Print Flyers

Design some funny, cute, and eye-catching flyers advertising your contest and why you should win. Make sure you make a tear-away area with the contest’s website so that people will know where to enter when they get home or a QR code that people can scan with their smartphones. You can use Canva to make professional-looking flyers for little or no money.
Put the flyers up on free notice boards at your grocery store, your kids’ school, your swimming pool, or anywhere else in your community where people congregate and flyers are allowed. 

11. What About Your Workplace?

Talk to your boss about whether your place of business can help you win your prize. Perhaps you could put a flyer up in the break room, spread the word on the company intranet, or even have your contest included in a newsletter.

12. Recruit the Media to Help You

This tip is only likely to work if you are in the running for a very large prize. But if you are, contact your local news organizations. They might enjoy a human interest piece about how a local guy or gal is in the running for a juicy prize and run your story on the radio, on television, or in the newspaper. This could get your whole community voting for you.

13. Turn to YouTube to Get More Votes:

YouTube is a powerful platform for reaching the masses, and with some practice, you could get those masses to vote for you. You could make a simple video describing why you deserve those votes, which you can link to from forums and social media. But if you are feeling a bit more creative, you can try to create a viral video and ask for votes in the annotations.

Viral videos can reach hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of people. If you are lucky enough to have a video take off, having even a fraction of those viewers vote for your contest entry could make a huge difference in helping you win.

3 Easy Ways to Get Votes on Facebook and Win Contests

Use Vote Exchanges and Other Facebook Strategies to Win More Contests

Unlike randomly-drawn sweepstakes, skill-based contests need a system in place to determine which entry is the most deserving to win. In some cases, judges decide on their own, but in many cases, the public’s opinion is taken into consideration through voting.

When you enter a voting contest, you need to rally your friends and acquaintances to vote for your entry to win. But how can you leverage your friends effectively to help you become a big winner?

Social media is an important method of reaching out to people and asking them for votes. Here are some ideas for getting votes on Facebook to secure an edge over your competition.

For some more ideas about how to improve your odds of winning outside of Facebook, check out How to Get Votes for Contests.

Use Your Facebook Wall

Post a link to your contest entry on your Facebook wall, and ask your friends to help you. If not all of your Facebook friends are interested in giveaways, you can use Friend Lists to show your vote requests only to the friends you want to ask to vote for you.

Becoming Facebook friends with other people who enter contests can make this strategy even more effective. Friends who know how much meaning wins to you are more likely to enter enthusiastically and regularly. Visit sweepstakes groups and online forums to find people who share your passion for winning.

If people are allowed to vote more than once, be sure to remind them to enter regularly. You can use a social media scheduler like Buffer to schedule posts every day or every week, to keep your friends coming back and voting for your entry.

Join Facebook Vote Exchange Groups

Many Facebook groups exist to allow people to ask for votes for their contest entries. In most cases, you’ll be expected to “return” votes by helping to vote for the people who voted for you. Be sure to read the rules of each voting exchange group that interests you before participating.

Before you start asking for votes through exchanges, it’s very important to be sure that the rules of the contest that you are participating in don’t prohibit them. Sometimes you are only allowed to ask for votes from people you know personally, and breaking this rule can end up with your entry being disqualified.

Vote exchange groups spring up and disappear regularly. Use Google search and Facebook search to find current groups.

Create Your Own Facebook Voting Group

Starting your own Facebook group can help you draw together people who can help you win votes. 

Creating a group on Facebook is free and easy, and you can set up whatever rules you like to help find willing people to vote for contest entries.

You have several options if you don’t want to set up and maintain a vote exchange group. For example, you can set up a Facebook group for one specific contest, or gather your sweepstakes friends together to form a mutual support group to share winning tips and encouragement as well as votes.

If you don’t know how to get started, see How Do I Create a Group? from Facebook’s support pages.

If you are unsure, ask the sponsor for guidance about how vote requests can be made before you start. It’s better to be safe than sorry when a misstep might get your entry kicked out of the contest.