How a contest can help with exposure and social media outreach

Can a contest help you increase awareness about your product while also potentially expanding your social media reach?

At William Chris Vineyards, one particular contest has managed to help with engaging current customers, exposure to a new audience, increasing its followers on social media and ensuring each annual iteration of its red blend has a unique label.

October at William Chris VIneyards means it’s time for the Artist Blend Label Contest, which runs through the end of October. During the submission window, which ends Oct. 31, artists upload their original artwork via Instagram for a chance to be featured on the label of the Artist Blend Wine.

Businesses are always looking to increase their reach on social media, and artists interested in submitting must follow William Chris on Instagram, post a photo of their original artwork, tag William Chris Vineyards and hashtag #artistblend2020, while completing the official registration form.

William Chris Vineyards co-founder Bill Blackmon said the contest, which is in its ninth year, has been an effective tool for expanding the brand’s visibility because the number of submissions increases yearly and the quality of the art they receive continues to improve.

“We typically get anywhere from 100-150 submissions, and we get a variety of submissions ranging from oil paintings, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, and even some digital pieces,” Blackmon said. “What makes this such a unique contest is there aren’t many rules. We just ask the artist to express themselves, and make a connection between art and winemaking. 

“Typically, we spread the word by utilizing social media, email marketing. From there, people tell their artist friends and family to submit their work. It’s amazing to see so many people from all over the US join in on this contest.”

Since 2013, William Chris has conducted a “call for an artist contest” where the public has the opportunity for artists to submit their artwork and compete for a chance to be on the next bottle.  “This contest was inspired by the late Mary Ruth Blackmon, my mother,” Blackmon said. “She was an artist who believed in the connection between art and winemaking.”

Once the submission period closes, a panel of judges from WCV will narrow down the artwork submissions to 10-15 finalists. Finalists will be notified via email and must participate in either a virtual or in-person “people’s choice” art exhibit for William Chris Vineyards Hye Society wine club members. Finalists will be notified no later than November 10.

“Then, our very own Wine Club Members vote to select the winner,” Blackmon said.

This year, in addition to being featured on the 2020 Artist Blend label, the winning artist will be able to display or sell their art in a series of artist receptions and showings with WCV’s Hye Society wine club members. The winner will also receive a case of the Artist Blend wine valued at approximately $500 and “industry discounts” on WCV wines for one year. 

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