I just won another Twitter contest: This is how it was done

The above tweet was part of a daily contest for the month of December by the Oakland A’s. Like all the other daily trivia or question, it asked for a reply and a winner was determined on the criteria of what place the response was given.

After studying and prepping for this (with two years worth of experience), I once again came out victorious in a Twitter contest. (Check out my other Twitter stories.)

A lot of it is strategy and knowledge of how Twitter operates. And like every contest, there has to be a little luck with the variables (other tweeters) that you can’t control.

So how did I end up as a winner? Let me tell you my strategy to win this prize.

UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEST

The A’s had a similar contest last year so I was very familiar with it. With this contest, there were a few things I took note of. The question would be asked at 11AM PT every day. That meant that I had to be on the computer ready to enter my answer at that time. This is the most important thing you have to know in contests like these.

But I had to also pick and choose which prizes I wanted. I didn’t enter every day because golf passes don’t apply to me. So looking at their prize list, I took a note on which days I actually wanted to try. It lowered my chance of winning something, but increased my chances of being happy.

One thing that I made sure I understood was the wording to the questions. There have been times where contests have asked for the “30th reply” versus “30th correct reply” versus “30th fan to reply”. All three mean different things. It’s all about wording and understanding how to respond to these tweets.

PREPARING TO WIN

Taking into account that the A’s were asking for a reply and picking the specific # to it, it made the contest a little harder. But it wasn’t impossible to figure out how I wanted to approach it.

My first task was to go to the A’s Twitter page a minute before the 11AM PT slot. On the left side, I prepped my response with the #31gifts hashtag. The contest didn’t require for me to use it, but I could never be too sure. Adding that in the queue allowed me to be ahead of everyone else. Then at 11AM PT, I started refreshing the page every 10 seconds, waiting for the new tweet to pop up. Take note that whatever I left in queue doesn’t get erased on a refresh. It’s a major time saver.

TWEETING MY ANSWER

Once the question was posted, I saw that they said the 44th correct answer would win. (Notice it didn’t say 44th fan to respond correctly, which is slightly different. Regardless, this helped me prepare for my approach.) The answer was Ryan Cook but I understood that the average fan might need a while to remember that. So I didn’t tweet my response immediately. The response to these don’t come as quickly as ones that ask for an opinion.¬†Instead I waited 15 seconds to tweet my response.

Then I tweeted my response again, but adding a word or a period to make it different. If you tweet something with the exact same wording as the last tweet, it won’t go through. And in the process, I tweeted four times with the same response with different wording.

My intention was not to have all four tweets up. I wasn’t satisfied because I knew one of them would be the one I want with the other three being tweeted at the wrong time. Plus I didn’t want to appear like a desperate fool when tweets were being checked.

FIGURING OUT WHICH TWEET GAVE ME THE BEST CHANCE

This is the part of the contest where the variables come in. Because of the variables, I had to tweet four times. Maybe the fans tweeted answers slower. Maybe faster. So now it was time for me to check how those variables tweeted.

In the search bar on the top right, I searched “@Athletics” because in order for the A’s to check, they needed to be mentioned and all the winning tweets had to have that in it. I did exactly what the A’s would do to check for the winner.

So with that, I searched all the responses to the contest and started to count up with the first response up to the first tweet that I sent in. When I noticed that my first tweet was around the 20th response, I deleted it. When I found my second tweet was around the 40th response, I kept it because that tweet gave me the best chance to win. All subsequent tweets were also deleted, leaving me one tweet that gave me the best chance to win.

That was the one that had the best timing and best placement. I also had to believe that some people might delete their tweets and move my spot around. I have to think that the A’s would check their responses immediately, so I couldn’t leave my multiple tweets up. I immediately decided which tweet worked and got rid of all the others. I believe I left my tweet as the 48th response but a few deletes by me and others moved me right into 44.

I am glad it worked because I do like this prize. I failed in a few earlier ones this month but it’s a gamble and I improved my probability with this approach.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Certain questions will require certain responses. Questions that require a little research will require slower responses if you want to match a certain number in the response line. My best bet is to have two or three Twitter clients open. At times I have my Tweetdeck, browser and cell phone all on my Twitter.

Usually if it’s a response that might require an answer, I don’t do a multiple response approach. If the A’s were doing another contest, I might actually search “@Athletics” to count and see what the responses are. That’s another successful strategy. Check that out to see another Twitter strategy that has worked before.

The key to these contests is to know when they are coming and how to prep for them before the contest begins. Timing is everything. If you’re not on it right from the beginning, the chance to win is gone in a minute.

If you’re ever in a contest that requires a simple retweet or a response with no time sensitivity, there are no strategies to it. Other than that, good luck and I hope this is helpful.

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