Despite being the bottom-placed finisher in the AFC East division last season, the Buffalo Bills have kicked things off on the right note in 2013 when it comes to engaging fans online. The franchise recently held a Twitter competition that gave fans a chance to announce the team's 4th round draft pick at the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Tweeters were required to send in a picture using the #billsdraft hashtag to either the team's official handle (@buffalobills) or that of sponsor Tim Hortons (@TimHortonUS), that illustrated why they were the biggest fans:

Buffalo Bills Twitter Competition Tweet

The response was impressive, with a number of fans tweeting in – some getting pretty creative: 



A week after announcing the competition, the Bills directed fans back to their website to check out some honourable mentions, as well as asking them to vote on the chosen finalists. The winner was announced a day later:

Buffalo Bills #billsdraft Twitter Competition Result Announcement

Here's a graphical depiction thanks to, that illustrates the spike in the use of the #billsdraft hashtag during the competition's duration from April 5th-12th. After only a handful of uses during the fortnight leading up to the competition, the hashtag was used a total of 923 in that seven day period:

#billsdraft mentions during Twitter competition duration

There are a number of reasons why this Bills case study was an effective Twitter competition:

1. Entry for fans was simple – The easier a competition is to enter, the more likely you are to receive a higher number of entrants. In this instance, fans only had to tweet in a photo and use the #billsdraft hashtag for a chance to win. Often simple is best!

2. Promotion was consistent – When plugging a competition or giveaway via Twitter, 1-2 tweets per day is advisable as you don't want to run the risk of losing fans who may see multiple posts as spam. Having a secondary account (sponsor @TimHortons) can be beneficial when it comes to reach.

3. Sponsor incorporation – Getting a sponsor on board and incorporating them directly into the engagement is always a positive move.

4. Competition guidelines were transparent – In addition to posting the rules on their website, the Bills announced finalists and winner were announced through official channels.

Sports Geek discusses NFL Draft on Harf Time

Sean joined Harf this week on Harf Time to discuss how big the NFL Draft is on TV and on digital.

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Expect to see more NFL content on as the season approaches!