2016 Social Media Awards: Facebook | Contests / Games

Winner: Sallie Mae - Good Things Come to Those Who Plan

Sallie Mae’s “Good Things Come to Those Who Plan” contest used social media to reach and engage college-bound students and parents in order to promote the importance of planning for college, to motivate them to start thinking about planning for college, and to encourage them to take advantage of Sallie Mae’s free college planning resources.

In May 2015, Sallie Mae announced the winners of its first $20,000 “Good Things Come to Those Who Plan” contest, which awarded one grand prize of $10,000 and two second prizes of $5,000 each to families building financial plans to pay for college.

Families entered the contest by registering for any of Sallie Mae’s free plan-for-college tools, including the College Planning Calculator and the Scholarship Search by Sallie Mae, and completing a short essay on why they are excited to plan for college. The three winners were selected by a team of Sallie Mae employees, who judged the essays on a combination of statement of purpose and originality. More than 15,000 entries were submitted.

Sallie Mae’s College Planning Calculator is an easy-to-use tool that helps students and families build customized plans based on their individual situations. Users enter the anticipated cost of the school they hope to attend, how many years are left before college starts, and the calculator estimates how much they need to save.

Facebook-specific content for the campaign included a contest landing page on Facebook (and SallieMae.com), cover and profile images for Facebook, and Facebook timeline posts and images.

In all, the contest reached more than 2 million people on social media, and there were more than 1,000 engagements, (e.g., likes, comments, shares, etc.). The contest also generated 3,000 registrations for Sallie Mae’s college planning tools, and 257 student loan applications—significant increases from the average monthly volume generated by social media.

Honorable Mentions:

•             97 Degrees West/United Heritage Credit Union - Summer Showtime

•             Deveney Communication - Windsor Court Hotel's "30 Ways to Give Back"

•             Dixon Schwabl - Frontier Communications Takes a Virtual Road Trip Through the Great 28

•             Hollywood Public Relations - The Original Muck Boot Company  “LifeInMyBoots” Sweepstakes

•             U.S. Bank - #DIYFails Quiz/Contest