With the rise of social media, many pageants are initiating a People’s Choice at multiple levels of competition. Some pageants use social media to link to the pageant’s website where a vote can cost $1 to raise money for charity while others simply accept Facebook likes on the photo for free.
In this article we cover how to run a success People's Choice Awards campaign for pageant directors AND for contestants. Click below, which best represents you to be dropped to the section of this article that's going to help you.
Cinderella International Tot, Kyla Ledbetter
Here is a step-by-step explanation of how to run a profitable People's Choice program. If you're not familiar, a People's Choice Award program allows the audience to vote for their favorite contestant with money.
In most cases one vote equals $1, but this can vary based on your country's currency.
One state director in the Miss America Organization used this strategy to raise an additional $20,000! Now, while that is not the norm, you can successfully implement a People's Choice Award program to raise an extra $1,000 - $5,000 depending on how many contestants you have competing and the software you use to host your People's Choice Contest.
Step 1: Create a seriously KILLER package that the People's Choice Award winner will receive
While most pageants give the People's Choice winner a guaranteed placement inside of the Top 10 or Top 15, you can go the route of having the winner, win a trophy or donated prize such as a dress, airline tickets or a spa day. In our experience though, guaranteeing a contestant placement is most effective.
Step 2: Run your People's Choice Award promotion online
The longer you can promote People's Choice Award, the better, and leveraging the internet will allow you to do just that. Running an online promotion also removes the geographical barrier to allow distant friends and family members to vote.
Here's how you can host your People's Choice Awards on Pageant Planet at no cost to you:
When you host your People's Choice Awards through us, we send to templated social media posts, emails and even help you add contestants. If you have questions, contact us, and we will help you get set up. Directors who host their People's Choice Awards through us earn on average $4,961.18.
We collect the money, track the votes in real time on your dashboard, handle customer support issues and then we send you the money after the People's Choice Award contest is over.
Princess of America launched their People's Choice Award campaign with a click of a button on Pageant Planet and made over $2,000 within three days. Miss World Canada launched their campaign and within the first two hours it generated over $1,600! Other pageants like Miss America, Miss Universe Iceland, Miss Universe Bahamas, Miss West Virginia USA, Miss Pennsylvania Teen USA, Miss Boston, Miss Las Vegas and many others of used our system to host their People's Choice Awards.
Here's a screenshot of how the contestants and votes are displayed! If you have different age divisions, all of your age divisions are displayed under each tab.
Step 3: How to ask for People's Choice votes at the pageant
Have a person stand or sit next to whoever is taking entry tickets at the doorway of your pageant and ask each guest, "Would you like to vote for People's Choice? The winner gets [insert the prize(s)]."
If they say yes then have the person say, "Which contestant will receive your votes?"
Guest: "Sarah Smith"
People's Choice Collector: "It's $1 per vote (or whatever currency you are charging). How many votes do you want to give?"
Because most of the world no longer carries cash equip the People's Choice Collector with a phone and have them pull up the People's Choice contest on Pageant Planet so audience members can submit their votes without having to go to the ATM.
Depending on the amount of contestants you have competing you might need more than one "People's Choice Collector."
Step 4: Pageant strategy
During the pageant, ongoing promotion is critical. Be sure to announce the Top 5 contestants with the most People's Choice votes and specify how many votes each contestant has during intermission or at the beginning of each pageant. Your audience will start to get competitive and you will be able to generate more revenue.
If you are running an online contest on Pageant Planet, you can have the audience follow the link to see who is winning in real time. This way they can watch for themselves who is winning and continue to vote during the pageant.
Step 5: Deadline
At the deadline, i.e. 7:01 p.m. EST, remove the online feature so you can keep the winner a secret until the announcement of the winner. Again, if you're working with us our software will automatically turn off People's Choice for you, but if you decide not to host your People's Choice on our platform then make sure to have someone who can help you coordinate this.
If you choose not to run your People's Choice Award online then the deadline is not as big of a deal because you can just remove the "People's Choice Collector" and you'll be safe.
Want to learn more about how to host your People's Choice on Pageant Planet? Click here to schedule a time to talk with us.
Getting People's Choice votes can be just as complicated as getting sponsors. You need to be savvy. Often, the People’s Choice winner is voted into semi-finals/finals, so don’t take it lightly. You just might need that boost. So, how do you do it? LaKishia Edwards, the National Coordinator with National American Miss, encountered the People’s Choice phenomenon when her daughter, Laila Simone Edwards, won National Elite Tiny Miss Texas.
Laila Simone then went on to win the National Elite Tiny Miss national crown. Edwards got to experience the other side of pageantry: being a pageant mom and making sure you and your daughter do everything you can to get as far as she can. In the process, Edwards discovered these tips and decided to share for other pageant moms, dads and contestants.
Junior Miss Earth USA 2020 Crowning Moment. Photo: Miss Earth USA
1. Don’t be scared to ask your friends and family to vote for you.
If you are at a family event, hanging out with friends, relaxing post practice or waiting for a ride, ask your friends and family to vote for you and walk them through the process right then and there. Not with them? Send an email or tag them on social media posts asking them to vote.
I know a young lady that once stood in front of 300+ members of the Arizona State University Marching Band and told them about a Miss America local pageant she was competing in the one rare weekend they had off and invited them to come; a few asked about attending and even more asked on Monday how it went. She also told her sorority sisters about it during their weekly meeting and 20 of them were there after a service project that morning. (That was me, by the way!) Think about it, politicians ask thousands of people to vote for them. If they were too scared, they’d never get elected.
2. Share the actual link on any and all social media outlets you have.
Connect the chain! People need the link to know where to go to vote for you. Just saying “Vote for me!” does no good. Cities even supply buses to polling places on Election Day to get people to vote.
When I was in graduate school, I actually stood out in the snow in a pair of Steve Madden heels, a sweater and slacks (dressed more for the office than the outdoors), alongside a table with t-shirts that I wasn’t allowed to leave until they were all gone, helping students tweet their vote for that night’s basketball game promotion. I shouted, “Free T-shirts,” down the oval when classes dismissed. Students came over, I explained the promotion, they tweeted, they showed it to me and they got a t-shirt. My toes were numb until 7 p.m. that evening. You have to lead the horse to water if you want it to drink (or vote). Be active in your campaign – but dress for the weather.
3. Be sure to give specific instructions.
“Lots of people will just like your post and not the actual pic that gives you credit,” Edwards said. This is key! If the votes work by the likes on the picture, it has to be the picture on the pageant’s social media post, not your social media post.
Be sure to clearly explain to your followers that they need to vote for you on the pageant’s page for it to count. Political ads tell you to vote "yes" or "no" depending on the side they are promoting, and there are also big "Register to vote" campaigns before major elections. Election registration forms are even sent in state medical insurance applications and when you apply for a driver’s license; so walk your people through how to vote for you to ensure you get the vote.
4. Do not overdo it with the same post.
Not only will people get annoyed with seeing the same post over and over again, but they will ignore it because they’ve “already seen it” and will scroll right past. Use different tactics. Videos, memes, pictures, even info to get to know you. You can also ask your sponsors and friends to help promote you so it is them asking for the vote rather than just you.
Politicians don't campaign by themselves, they have an entire staff to help them get elected.
5. Be sure to explain why you want them to vote and what they are voting for.
Sound familiar? You’re campaigning just like a politician. Just like you’re going to walk into your interview and prove to the judges why they should pick you, you need to convince the people why they should vote for you. Yes, your close friends and family will vote for you, but everyone else needs some convincing. Tell them why. Use hashtags to help others who are fans of the pageant and your cause to find, follow and vote for you on social media. Be careful of unsolicited contact and inappropriate profiles that may follow you as a result of hashtag use, though.
Side note…Don’t cheat.
This should go without saying, but we are going to say it. Don’t cheat. Don’t buy votes.
“This is supposed to be a fun contest based on likes,” Edwards said. “As our society advances in technology, it is easier and easier to manipulate things online.”
Even though there may be ways to buy votes, please don’t. Do you really want to be the girl that cheated?
“People know and people talk,” Edwards said. “People realize that when your votes jump up 500 plus likes overnight, something is a little fishy. Just don’t do it.”
National Elite Tiny Miss 2017, Laila Simone Edwards. Photo/LaKishia Edwards
You never know, that People’s Choice slot just might get you to semi-finals and into the judge’s hearts. Sometimes the finals judges are different from prelim judges and they may like something about you that they wouldn’t have gotten to see if it wasn’t for the People’s Choice vote. If you don’t win, then isn’t it great to say that you were the People’s Choice winner? So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get the vote! Good luck!
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