Dobango, an online social gaming platform, offers free games to users as well as free prizes. Recently in a shift to focus on social media, Dobango has rallied an impressive group of followers across several social media sites, including Pinterest. We had the chance to talk to their hard working Social Media Manager, Laura Hulberg, to get the details on how they use social media, specifically Pinterest, and their latest Pinterest contest.
They recently launched, and concluded, their first Pinterest initiative – Dobango’s 4th of July Pinterest Contest! Their contest encouraged users to submit a Fourth of July image that was then uploaded to Dobango’s 4th of July pinboard. Users then voted on their favorite entry by “liking” the pin. This was a very creative way for Dobango to get their users excited and involved with their brand in a very interactive way.
Get Pinterested: Dobango has an impressive group of followers on nearly every social network. Can you tell us a little bit about your overall social media strategy and how you keep your social media fresh, exciting, and engaging?
Laura Hulberg: When Dobango decided in late May to really focus on social media (by hiring me), it took a lot of work to begin the social media snowball effect. In order to get a credible amount of followers so that other interested users would “like” us and follow our pages, we had to reach out to a lot of family members and friends to get the buzz going. After that I began posting on other related pages, pictures, and statuses of other businesses that had strong followings in related fields. Dobango is all about free games that let you win prizes and local coupons/discounts. Our users can play via web, Android, or iOS, so I started with a lot of Droid and iPhone pages, discount shopping pages, and events in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where most of our local prizes are located. This got a lot of attention from unique users!
As far as keeping our content fresh, exciting, and engaging, I try to abide by a few basic principles. 1) Take the “what’s in it for me” angle — 90% of people are thinking about themselves 90% of the time, so if you offer a benefit for them in your posts, you are bound to get more attention. 2) Keep it as visually based as possible — a picture speaks 1,000 words, so we try to add as many interesting visuals as possible! Especially on Facebook, pictures take up more space and are more interesting than statuses on news feeds, so we try to take advantage of that. 3) Keep our messages simple, and maintain brand personality — messages that are quick, easy to understand, and reflect our brand personality have more resonance than other blah, generic ones from the past.
Has your experience with Pinterest, or any social media for that matter, changed the way that you look at your business or how you do your marketing?
LH: Our 4th of July Pinterest contest was the first major project we have done with the site, and it is going phenomenally well. We’ve also been seeing a lot more engagement on Twitter and Facebook. Prior to shifting gears toward social media, Dobango was doing a lot of paid advertising, which has a hard time cutting through the clutter. Our experience with Pinterest and social media as a whole has definitely confirmed what we’ve set out to prove — that social media is far more effective in creating buzz, managing brand messages, and getting people engaged with our company.
What drove you to Pinterest?
LH: We love that Pinterest is light, simple, and visually based, just like our website and business concept. Pinterest also offers great potential for virality, too. The fact that an interesting enough pin (plus its link!) can get repinned all over the site for millions to see makes it an essential tool for any company looking to explode onto the Internet. Also, most Pinterest users are looking for fun, unique, useful things, and we believe that we offer just that.
We see Pinterest as a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their culture and lifestyle. Can you share with us how Dobango uses Pinterest to do this?
LH: It absolutely is. Dobango is all about fun, easy games, and free or discounted stuff. We love to share that by repinning our favorite pins of our followers and followees, especially if they relate to the SF Bay Area or DIYs. We also pin the most cool, unique prizes from our site to show people that we offer tangible benefits.
Since Pinterest is the new kid on the block, is there anything you’ve done or anyone you’ve looked to for help getting started?
LH: We looked to a few major companies for examples of various ways to execute our contest, such as Victoria’s Secret, Ad Age, and Cocobop. We wanted to do something markedly different from contests of the past, though, so we cherry-picked some of our favorite aspects of various contests and made it our own!
Pinterest is a place full of great inspiration. Does Dobango use Pinterest for inspiration for any business ventures? Do you look to your followers for inspiration?
LH: We definitely look to our followers when we are choosing prizes for our national tournaments. Usually if we find something popular from Etsy or another similar site on Pinterest, we’re more inclined to use it as a prize because we already know that our followers like it and would love to get it.
We love Dobango’s 4th of July Pinterest Contest; can you tell us your strategy and thought process behind this contest?
LH: Thanks! We had a few main goals to achieve through this contest and we believe we are right on target with them. The first was to increase our audience and user base for both our social media presence and our actual company. We started this by inviting people to our contest landing page to get more information about our contest and enter to win. When users uploaded an image to our board through our site, they were sent a confirmation email and also automatically got an account on Dobango.com. The confirmation email encouraged contest participants to tell their friends to join in and vote for them, and the Dobango account got a lot of them curious about what our company actually does.
Another goal was to communicate to people that Dobango is all about letting people win free prizes. That one was simple — we did this by offering a prize every day, plus our grand prize of $1,000. The daily prizes were very similar to the type of stuff we give away on a weekly basis, but the grand prize was to help us gain traction and attention.
Our final goal was to do this contest differently than anyone has ever seen it done before. Thanks to our talented team of programmers, we were able to tap into some of Pinterest’s open source API in order to use it to pull information from their site in order to integrate it with our contest landing page. I have never seen a Pinterest contest complete with leader boards and automatic upload, and that was the real kicker that made it unique.
What results do you hope to see once the contest is over? And how do you define success in general when it comes to Pinterest?
LH: We’re hoping to see continued engagement on our social media channels and increased or at least stabilized traffic to and usage of of our website and mobile apps. For us, success with Pinterest means sustaining the audience that we’ve worked so hard to gain over the last couple of weeks, and keeping them engaged. The challenge will be keeping their attention after there isn’t $1,000 on the line anymore, but we have faith in our ability to keep those heads turned!
What kind of content do you think users are looking for on Pinterest from a social gaming platform?
LH: Honestly, that’s one of the things we are still fine-tuning. Most of these users are looking for pins that are useful to them, i.e. prizes, how-to guides, and even anything entertaining. Since Pinterest is primarily for personal use, we try not to let it get so heavy on the advertising and marketing side. I’ve seen a lot of adverse reactions (everything from ignoring or unfollowing to consumer backlash) to blatant marketing on Pinterest, so we aim for the fun, the care-free, and the useful.
We would like to thank Laura Hulberg and Dobango for taking the time to talk with us. If you like playing games and winning free prizes, Dobango is probably the place for you.