13 Creative Ways to Get Votes for Contest Entries – LiveAbout
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.
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 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 one contestant surged ahead in votes overnight.
But it wasn’t cheating. The reason for the big jump? That 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 lots 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 they’re still the best place to start. Your personal contacts are a powerful resource — don’t underestimate them!
You hope that they vote for you but also that they’ll ask their friends for help, too. If they reach out to their own friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, that can add up to a lot of people. Furthermore, they can reach out to their social networks as well.
Overall, this creates a powerful ripple effect. With a network of people on your side, you gain votes more quickly than you think.
2. Make Friends with Other People Who Enter Contests
A great source of votes is people who really understand how much those votes mean — other sweepers. By befriending sweepers, you can get strong allies on your side.
One way to find sweepers to help is to join a sweepstakes club. You can also make virtual friends who can help by signing up for a Facebook page that centers around 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 lets you connect with lots of other people who share your interests, 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.
To be successful with Twitter, don’t be too pushy 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 many 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, for example.
If you play Facebook games like Candy Crush or Farmville, you can even offer to trade in-game gifts for votes.
5. Use Your Contest Voting Link in Your Signatures
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. The same goes for your email signature. How many people do you email each day? Encourage them to vote for you by changing your 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. Note that some contests specifically restrict the use of vote exchange forums.
These vote exchange forums depend on a give-and-take. It’s poor form to join, request a vote, and never return — and you won’t get a lot of votes that way, either.
Be sure to 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.
8. Hold Your Own Giveaway
What’s a good way to encourage people who love giveaways to vote for you? How about running one yourself?
People have generated votes for their contest entries by giving their voters the chance to win a prize. Be careful with this, though, since it’s a tit-for-tat exchange that might legally fall under “consideration”.
Another option is to use a giveaway to simply spread the word about their contest entry, which has sounder legal footing.
Be careful with either of these methods, however. Some contests prohibit the use of giveaways to encourage votes, and will disqualify you for running them.
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 even has specific sections, called subreddits, for contests and giveaways.
If you choose this method, keep in mind that it’s important to use Reddit respectfully. Otherwise, you could be banned from the service. 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. Be sure to add a tear-away area with the contest’s website so people will know where to enter when they get home. Another option is to add 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 entry 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.
For example, you could make a 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.
What Not to Do: Cheating for Contest Votes
There are many shady or spammy ways that people use to try to win voting contests. Some websites and Facebook groups sell them outright. Some people use sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to exchange micropayments for votes. Most contests consider buying votes to be cheating.
And speaking of buying votes, there are plenty of low-quality sites out there that promise to trade votes for money. Avoid these. Your money will be wasted when the sponsor disqualifies your entry for cheating. And it really isn’t hard for the sponsor to identify purchased votes.
Some people try to cheat by taking advantage of weaknesses in the contest’s design, like faking IP addresses or creating fake accounts to vote.
Think carefully before trying any of these sketchy methods of driving votes. Not only do they go against the principles of fair play, but they’re often easy for the sponsors to catch.
Most contests have ways of analyzing the votes their entrants receive, and getting a lot of spammy or illegitimate votes will disqualify your entry. It doesn’t matter how many votes your entry receives if you are disqualified from winning, so be sure to stick to the rules carefully.
How to win or cheat ANY online voting contest – Whole Whale
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of voting competitions, especially ones that are built irresponsibly. That’s why I’ve set out to create the definitive guide on breaking (/cheating) poorly designed nonprofit voting problem with voting competitions is that they pit nonprofits against each other for a prize that usually doesn’t come close to the true cost of the votes that these organizations push to get. What’s more, they run the risk of burning out the supporters of these great organizations.
In the worst case scenario, one organization decides to cheat because the system is designed with flaws by some marketing firm and they see a way to easily game the system to win money for their great cause. I am not justifying or endorsing cheating – I actually believe the only way to win these contests is by not playing. However, in an effort to scare the pants off of people creating these contests I decided to create this Whole Whale does not cheat on behalf of our clients. It is not a service WW offers nor will ever! @WholeWhale just wrote the guide on how to beat most nonprofit online voting contests. Click To Tweet
Step 1: Figure out how it is built
Online voting competitions will use a variety of ways to track votes through a website. Here are the most common building technical:
A Web Form Built with the GET method
This method (low security) means that the form will push the data into the URL and you will see it. e. g. to break: Find that URL and go ham on the refresh button. Hide the cookies and IP address if they are tracking. Post that link anywhere you can and every click will equal a vote. Honestly, no reputable contest will be built this way because it isn’t 2006, but hey, you never know…
A Web Form Built with the POST method
This method (medium security) means that the form will push the data through the body of the request and will not show in the to break: you may be able to use the back button if cookies aren’t being set. If they are being set you can hide cookies with a browser like Chrome with cookies disabled. If they built it correctly you will need a more advanced human assisted tech approach (see step 2 below).
Cookies – contests that don’t require a sign in and allow anonymous votes depend on cookies that may have timers in some cases. To break: clear your cookies, vote, repeat. Use Chrome and a cookie remover to block the cookies of the site, if it still lets you vote you’re all set to click away. The browser has very good privacy protection that will block this type of tracking. Cookie and IP on mobile – if you are using a mobile device you can try switching to airplane mode and using a wifi network to confuse the IP tracking. IP – Some use the IP to determine location voting. You can use a proxy server or a local VPN like Hotspot Account – This will require multiple accounts and a more advanced approach to get enough votes. Depending on how the account is authenticated, it may be not be possible to automate mass confirmation – This is the most common system I see, it requires an email to be confirmed from the inbox with the link to record the vote.
Step 2: Human assisted automation
The following are various tactics which can be combined to break most voting systems with a little help from third party tools. In order to not look suspicious it is important not to show suspiciously large voting counts – I can immediately tell if a distribution of votes is unnatural and violating an expected power law (20% of the contestants getting 80% of the total votes). In one case we spotted this in a contest one of our clients were considering and we advised them not to participate – later we found several articles on the cheating that had Whole Whale does not cheat on behalf of our clients. It is not a service WW offers nor will ever offer.
A macro is a program that you can setup on a computer that goes through a series of clicks and keyboard strokes on a timed interval. If a voting system doesn’t require a captcha or other human test, a macro can be created to go through a voting cycle unabated. Combine these tools with a hotspot shield and cookies disabled on a computer can break most non-email verification process. Some tools:
Macro Express – downloadable software that will let you turn your computer into a bot that is timed to click and enter information as toHotkey – downloadable software that will let you click the heck out of buttons or load pages.
For secure voting systems that don’t have strict email confirmations, there are ways to generate emails quickly. These email hacks can also be used to create accounts for systems the require logins.
Any single Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or normal domain email address can be made into thousands of emails by adding a “+” or “. ” after the name and before the “@” sign. For example, can be and the email will still be delivered to your you own your own domain, you can create a bunch of aliases for one email ilinator – this is a site that will generate emails for you on demand and give you a quick inbox that the confirmation link will be sent to. Using a variety of email domains can help make this look less spammy. This is a list of temporary email domains hosted via mailinator:
For a nominal amount of money, an organization can purchase votes or emails through ‘Vote Brokers’. These groups will do your bidding in the same way they translate audio to text or do other simple outsource tasks for companies. Technically it is against the Amazon Turk policy to pay workers to vote – which is great. However you can still hire someone on a site like UpWork to build a script that could use the above tactics.
A proxy vote traditionally means that a voter transfers their right to vote to a third party. Massive lists of proxy accounts can be managed by a single person simply logging in one by one and voting. Imagine if political staffers could collect permission to vote on behalf of voters in a district in perpetuity — not really the will or action of a crowd, but highly best way to win a nonprofit voting competition is by not entering. Click To Tweet
Finally, for the contest creators
This post is meant to ruin poorly designed voting competitions and to scare anyone thinking about building a nonprofit voting competition. I hate the idea of cheating nonprofits and I think that starts when a contest doesn’t use responsible design.
Responsible Contest Design Questions
Can your online system be quickly gamed by the exploits above? (I beg you not to use GET requests or anonymous voting)Can you use a third party authentication to stop the email hack? Is the prize pool large enough to make an expected value equation make sense for all participants?
Expected Value for Voting Contest = Prize amount * (total # winners / total # charities)
Do the nonprofits involved get to keep the voter data that relates to their org? In the case of emails, do they get them? Is there a way to build this so that every participant wins in some way? Is the time frame limited so there is only a small window of nonsense voting requests? Is there a clever way to design the voting process so that it actually produces some positive impact for the nonprofit? e. g. voters have to submit photos they take of the cause that the nonprofit can have access to later for their photo database. Or they must submit 1 idea that they think would improve their work. you use a threshold voting, where nonprofits need to get to X votes to be considered by a panel? This caps the voting nonsense while still getting a bit of the network effect you are hoping for your brand. This pairs well with a social integration.
I hope these questions will spur some more creative approaches to contest design and will add more value to the nonprofits who Whole Whale does not cheat on behalf of our clients. It is not a service WW offers nor will ever offer. Also, please don’t reach out to us to vote for your contest.
So there you have it – our guide to breaking online voting contests so your nonprofit can win. And more importantly, to bring transparency to this one-sided marketing tactic.
Even more awesome resources
To truly leverage the power of Facebook Fundraisers, you and your team need a clear and easy-to-read view of the data. Sound like a lot of work? Thankfully, Whole Whale’s already done the work for you with this Facebook Google Data Studio dashboard! Check it out!
Facebook Fundraiser Dashboard Template
Plus, download this free, simple checklist to make sure you’re covering all your bases when you set up your next nonprofit campaign!
4 Easy Ways to Get Contest Votes on Facebook – LiveAbout
Use Vote Exchanges and Other Facebook Strategies to Win More Contests
Many contests ask the public to participate by voting for their favorite entry to win. When you enter a voting contest, you need to rally people to vote for your entry to win. But how can you gather votes effectively to help you become a big winner?
Social media is an important tool you can use to reach out to people and ask 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
Leverage Your Facebook Wall to Get More Votes.
David Malan / Getty Images
The simplest way to get votes on Facebook is to simply ask.
Just post a link to your contest entry on your Facebook wall, and ask your friends and family members 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 makes this strategy even more effective. Friends who know how much meaning wins to you are more likely to vote 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, you want to be sure to remind them to enter regularly. But how can you do this without either asking too often or forgetting to make a post?
A social media scheduler like Buffer is a good solution. Buffer lets you schedule posts to appear whenever you want. If you write one post per day or per week for the length of the entry, you can keep your friends coming back and voting without much effort.
Join Facebook Vote Exchange Groups
Facebook voting groups are a valuable way to help each other win.
Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
Vote Exchange Groups on Facebook groups exist to allow people to ask for votes for their contest entries. Usually, you’re expected to “return” votes by helping to vote for the people who voted for you. Be sure to read the group rules before participating.
Before you start asking for votes through exchanges, be sure that the rules of your contest don’t prohibit them. Sometimes you are only allowed to ask for votes from people you know personally. Breaking this rule can result in disqualification!
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.
Hero Images / Getty Images
Creating a group on Facebook is free and easy, and you can leverage a group to drive votes to your contest.
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.
Ask Your Friends to Spread the Word
When you promote your contest, don’t just ask your friends to vote, ask them to spread the word as well. If their friends and the friends of those friends start voting, your votes can rise exponentially.
You have higher chances of getting people you don’t know to vote when your post catches their interest. For example, you might give some background to why you’re entering the contest or tell the story behind your entry. Your post could be funny or tug on heartstrings or just have a really cute picture that goes with it.
With some luck, your vote request could go viral and help you win.
Frequently Asked Questions about how to get more votes
How do I increase my vote on Facebook?
4 Easy Ways to Get Contest Votes on FacebookUse Your Facebook Wall. Leverage Your Facebook Wall to Get More Votes. … Join Facebook Vote Exchange Groups. Facebook voting groups are a valuable way to help each other win. … Create Your Own Facebook Voting Group.May 29, 2021
Can you vote more than once on a Facebook poll?
A Facebook poll is what you would probably expect it to be – a poll that has been created on Facebook. They can be created on personal walls, on pages, in groups, and in messages. … The poll results are then tallied as members vote, and members are able to vote more than once if you allow them to do so.Jan 26, 2021
Why is high voter turnout important?
Significance. High voter turnout is often considered to be desirable, though among political scientists and economists specializing in public choice, the issue is still debated. A high turnout is generally seen as evidence of the legitimacy of the current system.