How to create a safe public voting award to generate brand buzz

by | Dec 16, 2020 | Feature focus

To include the general public in the decision-making process of your awards program is a powerful way to engage the community and increase your program’s reach, creating buzz around your brand. 

There’s a lot to consider when deciding to run a public voting round: What tool and mechanism should you use to allow people to vote on entries? How will you minimise any abuse of the voting system?

In Award Force, it’s easy. We provide a public voting judging mode that is not only great for brand-boosting but also offers a sophisticated system to securely accept votes from the public. 

A simple configuration gets you started 

Using Award Force to manage an awards program with a public voting component is a cinch!

You don’t have to design your awards voting page or manually update a page with new entries! You also don’t need to be a technical whiz or have special IT skills. You won’t have to host all the assets that come along with your entries, and you won’t have to manage plugins to play audio and video or display images. Award Force does all this for you, automatically displaying all your entries with a user-friendly “Vote” button.  

Voting in Award Force

You’ll have a unique link that allows you to share this voting page with the public.  

Before you do so, you have a wide range of options to tailor your voting to your exact program requirements. This includes:

  • Limiting the number of votes, per voter and by category
  • Provide the user an option to revoke their vote(s) 
  • Options to request users to register before voting (recommended) by email, social media or even mobile number

Score set options

On the voting page, you’ll be able to configure:

  • The layout of entries on the voter page
  • A content block at the start of the voting page if you need to share instructions or guidelines or simply want to welcome your voters with a nice branded video
  • A category filter and the number of entries shown on each page for a comfortable user experience
  • The option to display fields, attachments and entry information

You’ll also be able to set controls on how you want to share the voting page. Public voting is a great marketing tool and you’ll be able to enable social share buttons that allow your entrants to share their entry into your program as soon as they’ve submitted it.  

Voting ease

Ideal to create online buzz

The Other Hundred, a non-profit global photojournalism initiative, used Award Force’s Voting mode to engage the public with their awards program. 

Previously, The Other Hundred ran physical events to showcase entries after the end of their judging phase. But then the 2020 pandemic brought change in the form of social distancing, halting most of their physical events. So, the program shifted to a virtual one. 

“In the past, people put photos in, and the public had no idea what was going on,” said program manager Jaqueline P’ng. “They’d never see a single picture or hear a single story until the results were out. We had exhibitions and events to help market it after the open call. But in this edition, we didn’t have that luxury. The buzz had to come during the open call phase.” 

They needed the public to help create buzz by participating in the judging process. 

This year, their program included a public voting round during the open call phase where entrants were encouraged to share the voting page with their network to create buzz around the program, increasing visibility for their brand, the photographers who entered and the awards program overall.

Other Hundred Healers public voting

“It’s very powerful in terms of running the program creatively and in terms of marketing and publicity,” P’ng said. 

Designed to minimise fraudulent voting

Opening the decision-making process to the public has the potential to propel your program to new heights, but it also can bring concern over vote integrity.  The integrity of your voting process is the lifeblood of your program reputation and should be carefully guarded to ensure your reputation as a fair, transparent and ethical program continues into the future. 

Minimise bot votes

First, there’s the question of bots: software programs that operate repetitive tasks (like voting) on the internet. Without the proper protection, bots can wreak havoc on a publicly available vote. 

Award Force works to minimise voter fraud with sophisticated technology that recognises and blocks abusive voting behaviour. This will ensure minimal impact on your voting process and results and maintain the integrity of your awards. 

Minimise fraudulent voting behavior by humans

A public voting round can sometimes encourage abusive voting from human voters, especially when there is significant prize money involved.

Again, Award Force has several options available to safeguard your program: 

  • Require registration. Asking public voters to register before they can vote will allow you to keep track of voters. You can grant access to view entries without registration, and ask for registration only when people want to vote. This way, you’re still attracting users to your voting page without any barrier. 
  • Hide the number of public votes per entry. Because we recommend this, Award Force uses this setting as default, though it is possible for you to change it and show entries. Hiding this number can discourage any abusive voting behaviours by keeping the vote tallies hidden. For example, if an entrant sees a low number of votes on their entry, they could feel pressured to influence the outcome, possibly in questionable ways. Hiding the number of votes per entry also decreases the chances of bias in voters’ decisions.
  • Consider running multiple judging modes. Public voting offers just one way to find a winner. In Award Force, it’s easy to use a combination of judging modes to ensure fair and balanced review. Use judges to create a shortlist to put forward to the public or use the public to create a shortlist for them! We have four judging modes and the opportunities are endless. 
  • Provide clear terms and conditions and take a hard stance on fraud. The terms and conditions should state any course of action for fraudulent voters, such as disqualification or a revoking of all votes. Taking a hard stance on voter fraud is an important step to ensuring your program credibility remains intact. Ensure voters read the terms and conditions, which can be included in the voter registration form or even on your public voting page in the top content block for maximum visibility.
  • Run an audit. If you suspect voter fraud in your public voting-based awards contest, you can audit votes with an export of all registered users’ data in Award Force. This data allows you to check for repeated or similar IP or email addresses. 

A safe and buzzworthy voting experience

A public voting round is a powerful tool to gather a community around your program. It not only creates enthusiasm and engagement from participants; it also gives more visibility to your brand and awards program.

Award Force provides the tools you need to offer a secure public voting experience, ensuring the integrity of your awards program and your brand as a whole.

It’s a judging mode you can easily configure in just a few minutes with a great potential return on investment: to create positive buzz and excitement around your program!

Want to learn how Award Force can help grow your program? Watch our demo videos, take a self-guided tour or book a call to learn more.

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