How To Outflank Facebook, Google, and Twitter: Run A Global Popularity Contest.

Posted on April 30, 2012

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If I had two million dollars to invest in an idea, this is the idea I would invest in.

The Idea

  • A sales and marketing platform with the appeal of American Idol and the scale of social media. It will leverage existing and future social media, incorporate game elements, and fully integrate into people’s offline lives.
  • American Idol meets Klout meets the American presidential primaries — on a global scale.


The Opportunity for Users

  • Turn your social media influence into a substantial reward for you and and your favorite charity.


The Opportunity for Brands

  • Target and engage proven influencers, their supporters, and be imbedded into the everyday minute-by-minute game of their lives.


The Contest

  • The prize: $100,000 for the individual and $1,000,000 for a charity of his or her choice.
  • There will be two finalists: one male and one female.
  • Men will compete against men and women against women, until the two finalists are identified.
  • The top, say, 100 contestants will be offered jobs or helped to find jobs in the social media industry.
  • Users register either as a contestant or a supporter. Contestants will provide a substantial amount of personal information. Supporters won’t provide as much information but a substantial amount will be required to avoid voter fraud.
  • A set number of contestants and supporters must be recruited before a deadline, for the contest to begin and for the prize money to become available. This will encourage contestants and supporters to recruit other participants and eliminate the risk that the reward will be given away without generating enough interest.
  • Before the contest officially begins, supporters will be able to switch their vote as often as they like.
  • Once the contest begins, a supporter will only be able to switch their votes a set number of times (three, for example).
  • At designated intervals, contestants will be eliminated from the game based on the number of votes they’ve earned and they become supporters. All supporters, old and new, will now be able to switch their votes a set number of times. Early in the game, supporters will be able to switch their votes more often and later in the contest less often. In effect, over the length of the contest, there will be several voting opportunities of escalating importance.
  • New contestants and supporters can enter the contest at any time but once a contestant is eliminated s/he can’t restart as a contestant.
  • Throughout the game, participants earn points by undertaking certain tasks that will also help them get supporters (e.g. start a Facebook page and get 1000 likes, run a Movember campaign and raise $1,000, get 100 supporters to enter a coupon code at a certain site, or check-in to a store and post ten photos of your favorite dresses).
  • Supporters earn points based on the success of the person for whom they’ve voted.
  • As the field narrows, the tasks become more elaborate (e.g. earn points for number of media mentions generated in regional dailies).
  • Contestant and supporters can use the points they earn to buy goods and services from brands that have partnered with the contest.


The User Interface

  • Each contestant will have a simple profile, including a photo, a short blurb, the charity s/he supports, and links to whatever social media s/he uses to recruit supporters.
  • A counter will indicate the number of votes each contestant has, the number of points earned, and the number of points spent. Badges for the the top ten goods or services purchased by the contestant will also be displayed.
  • Contestants and supporters will be able to access basic demographic information about the supporters of the contestant they currently support.
  • The landing page of the site will always feature the top two profiles at any given moment – the male leader and the female leader. The second page will feature the top four and, so on.
  • Supporters will have the option of creating a similar public profile (but won’t be required to). The main difference is that it will highlight the contestant that is supported. It can also be used to help win more supporters for the contestant. It will also show the top goods and services the supporter purchased with his or her points.


I Love This Idea! How Can I Help?

  • Share the crap out of this post, please.
  • If you know someone or an organization already working on an idea like this, please post the details in the comments section below and flip this post their way.
  • Sign up to my social media newsletter, to keep tabs on how this idea develops and on other social media ideas, as they come up.
  • If you have the skills and resources to run with this idea, by all means, get on it. Ultimately, this idea gets money to registered charities, so the more iterations of the idea the better.
  • If you like the idea but are working on another project, check out my CV to see if I’m a good fit for the team. Meanwhile, I will be rolling my pennies.


If you have any thoughts or ideas, please share them below.

Posted in: Social Media