How to Put Together an Awards Entry That Stands Out

The countdown is on - only a month until the Call for Entries close for the Social Media Marketing Awards.  

Imagine what it will be like to stand in front of the leaders of the Social Media Industry and accept an award.  

I know how it feels to win an award.  In 2010, I won an Australian Exercise Professional of the Year and that moment was life changing.  As soon as I sat down after accepting my award, people started coming over to me and wanting to collaborate.  I was in magazines and in the news  - it really allowed me to gain visibility.   I was invited to speak at conferences. Even though that was 8 years ago and I have changed industries, it still brings me benefits.  

This is why I was passionate about creating an Awards Program exclusively for the Social Media Marketing Industry. 

So with this in mind, I wanted to give you 10 tips to help you put together a quality awards submission: 

1. Know your dates - The key date is April 24th, 2018 and you need to have finalised your entry and paid the fee for entry (if you are not a member of the Social Media Marketing Institute).  That might seem a long way off but it is not as far away as you might think.  Don't put yourself under pressure by trying to put together your Award entry on the due date.  

2. Make sure you understand the judging criteria for the category you are entering.  Look at how the judges will mark the category you are entering and ensure you address them in your entry.  

3. Look at what supporting material you can provide to enhance your entry.  It could be a video, images or screen shots from your social media.  

4. Get permissions if required - if you are from an agency or do social media work for clients,  you will need to ensure you get their permission to enter the campaign.  A joint entry is a great way to celebrate an awesome collaboration.  

5. Put together your entry on a word document and transfer the information into the Awards portal.  I have learnt that this is good practice and a way to ensure you minimise frustrations, especially as you get close to the due date.  We have an excellent Awards portal but computer glitches and even blackouts can cause frustrations and you don't want to perfect that entry to then lose it.  And yes, it has happened to me so I speak from experience.  

6. Check spelling and grammar - This can sometimes be overlooked as you finalise your entry.  Run your entry through a grammar program or ask someone else to proofread your entry.  Sometimes you can read something a dozen times and still miss a simple mistake. 

7. Have a couple of people proof read your entry - If you feel you are ready to submit, ask someone else in your business or agency to read through the entry to ensure you have answered the questions and included the best information to make you entry stand out from the rest. If you work for yourself, ask a business mentor or a friend who really knows your business to give you some feedback.  It is amazing what a fresh pair of eyes can see. 

8.  Make sure any figures in your entry can be backed up - If your entry refers to results achieved by your campaign, these will need to be backed up and judges will ask for them if they are not included in your entry.  

9.   Enter multiple categories - Once you enter your first category and make payment, you will receive a membership to the Social Media Marketing Institute and once a member, you can enter as many award categories at no further charge.  By entering multiple categories you increase your chance to be named as a finalist.  You will also receive a nominee badge that you can put on your website, social media and marketing materials.  

10.   Enjoy the process - This is a chance to put together a great case study for your business so take the time to enjoy the successes you have had and celebrate what you have achieved.  

If you have any questions at all, please email me at or call me on 0412 304 535.  

The Social Media Marketing Awards Gala Dinner will be huge and we look forward to you being a part of it! 

Kind Regards, 

Mireille Ryan
CEO, Social Media Marketing Institute
Founder, Social Media Marketing Awards 

3 New Judges Announced

We are excited to be adding 3 new judges to our judging panel for the Social Media Marketing Awards:

Susan Duong - Client Partner - Ecomm, Education and Professional Services at Facebook 

Tolga Balabaner - Creative Strategist at Snapchat

Angelique Schierz-Crusius  - Head of Social Media at Samsung Australia

So excited to add their experience to the judging panel. 

4 New Judges Announced

4 New Judges #SMMA2018.png

Announcement: 4 New Judges for Social Media Marketing Awards

The Social Media Marketing Awards would like to welcome our 4 new judges: 

Alex Scandurra - CEO, Stone and Chalk

Christy Laurence - Founder @Plann, an Instagram Planning, Analytics and Scheduling app

Kevin Doyle - Director, Advertising Technology and DMP @ Salesforce

Ian Wheeler - Senior Client Partner Twitter

These judges bring a wealth of experience to the judging panel.   

To see all our judging panel, go to  


Judging Panel Announced for Social Media Marketing Awards

Social Media Marketing Awards Jury 1.png

We are excited to announce some of our judging panel for the Social Media Marketing Awards.  

We would like to welcome: 

James Delahunty - Senior Relationships Manager at LinkedIn

Jenny Devine - Social Media Lead at Bank of Queensland

Chris Ledlin  -Director of Social Media at Southern Cross Austereo

Debs Majumdar - Digital Commercial Manager at Fox Sports

Aoife Marie O'Connell  -Digital and Social Media Manager at IAG

Kate McBean (Alison) - Head of Consumer Marketing & PR at Yahoo 7

Miri Rodriguez - Brand Storyteller & Senior Lead Social Media  at Microsoft

Tony Story - Head of Digital and Social Media at National Australia Bank

So excited to have these industry leaders on our Judging panel.  We appreciate their support in recognising excellence in Social Media. 

More judges will be announced shortly. 

Press Release - The Social Media Marketing Awards Issues Call for Entries

SMMA Call for Entries Linked In Banner.png

The Social Media Marketing Awards, has issued a call for entries for the 2017/2018 Social Media Marketing Awards.  The complete details of the competition are available at

The Social Media Marketing Awards are open to individuals, agencies, brands, companies, non-for-profits and organisations that participate in social media marketing.  Entries must have been created and been live on social media in the 12 months up to April 24 2018.  Entries are currently only being accepted from Australia and New Zealand.

Entry is free for members of the Social Media Marketing Institute. 

For those who are not members, the early bird entry deadline, with reduced fees, is 1st December 2017.  The entry fee also includes a membership to the Social Media Marketing Institute. Once a member of the Social Media Marketing Institute, entrants can enter as many awards categories as they wish at no further cost. The final entry deadline is April 24 2018. 

Winners of the Social Media Marketing Awards will be announced at a gala awards banquet on August 16th 2018 in Sydney.

The Social Media Marketing Awards feature 15 award categories.  Entrants may submit any number of nominations to a number of categories which include:

·       Social Media Marketer of the Year

·       Best Emerging Social Media Marketer of the Year

·       Best Social Media Agency of the Year

·       Best Small Social Media Agency of the Year

·       Best Corporate Social Media Team of the Year

·       Best Public Sector Social Media Campaign

·       Best Social Good Campaign

·       Best Social Media Customer Service

·       Best Use of Facebook 

·       Best Use of Twitter

·       Best Use of Instagram

·       Best Use of Snapchat

·       Best Use of Linked In

·       Most Innovative Use of Social Media

·       Best Use of Social Media Data Analytics

The 2017/18 program offers new categories and will be judged by the leaders in social media industry.

The 2017/18 entry kit is available at

About the Social Media Marketing Awards

Proudly presented by the Social Media Marketing Institute, the Social Media Marketing Awards (SMMA) honours and recognises individuals, teams, agencies and organisations, to celebrate excellence and achievement in social media marketing.

It is an opportunity for public and peer recognition for leaders in the social media marketing industry.

Contact Information:

Mireille Ryan

CEO, Social Media Marketing Institute



Social Media Marketing Award Winner - The Warehouse Group

We are excited to chat with Leslie Taylor, Employment Brand Manager at The Warehouse Group in Auckland, New Zealand.  The Warehouse Group won the award at this years' Social Media Marketing Awards for our Industry Category, Education and Employment. 

Tell us about your business? 

The Warehouse Group is one of New Zealand’s leading retail groups with over 20 brands. The core is made up of The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, and Torpedo7. The Warehouse Group employs 12,000 people, has over 240 locations and a 2017 revenue of $2.92 billion.

Why do you use social media? 

The Warehouse Group recognises the importance of raising the profile of our employment brand. Employment Brand has a positive impact on a company’s reputation, awareness, attraction, retention and engagement. 

The purpose of Employment Brand at The Warehouse Group is to: 

- Market Retail as a Career #retailcareers 

- Market each of our brands as a great place to work 

- Build awareness and drive attractiveness for critical & strategic roles  

We do this through a variety of online channels including dedicated careers websites, careers social media and blog channels. We have 12 careers social media channels including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We created and lead the successful hashtag #retailcareers to market retail as a career both in NZ and abroad.

What is Employment Brand?  

Employment Brand indicates an organisation's reputation as an employer. 

A well-known definition of Employment Brand is "the image of your organisation as a 'great place to work'". Employment branding is concerned with enhancing your company's Employment Brand. 

Just as a Unique Selling Proposition is used to define a product or service offer, an Employee Value Proposition is used to define an organisation's employment offer. Likewise, the marketing disciplines associated with brand management have been increasingly applied by the Human Resources and talent management community to attract, engage and retain talented candidates and employees, in the same way that marketing applies such tools to attracting and retaining clients, customers and consumers. 

What is your demographic? 

One of our objectives is to market retail as a career - therefore all of New Zealand (4.6+ million people) is our audience. 

However, we want to build awareness and drive attractiveness for critical & strategic roles therefore we have created personas for each of these target audiences. We target our campaigns and posts to these audiences.

Why is social media important as a part of your overall marketing strategy? 

Our Employment Brand strategy focuses on a range of channels but social media has contributed significantly to the success of our Employment Brand. Our social media channels provide an inside view of what it is like to work at each of our 5 brands and the authenticity of these posts has captured our audience’s attention and helped to tell our story. 

We have created the foundations to enable us to be successful on social media – strategy, defined purpose, tone of voice, key messages for each month, content calendar, Scheduling Tool, persona and reporting.

How do you grow your fanbase? 

By sharing relevant, authentic content that engages our audience we have been able to grow our audience. However, we also engage on internal social platforms to amplify to content and have additionally run campaigns to engage with our critical and strategic role candidates.

What type of content do you post? 

Our focus is on storytelling, and sharing the successes of our team members. The content we post is a vehicle to tell the stories of our people, and at the same time shows our candidates what it is like to work with us. We give our audience a chance to see the faces behind the scenes which establishes a stronger connection with our brand, thus creating content that both our audience and our 12,000 employees want to engage with and share. 

Rather than a traditional marketing team placing their customers at the centre of their content. We place our candidates at the centre of our content. The entire purpose of building a brand is to connect with your customer/ candidate. Behind the scenes videos, stories, or pictures all a great way to add depth to our brand and further connect with people who can relate and understand what we do. For candidates, this demonstrates our open and honest culture. 

We also experiment with a range of content types – photos, infographics, blogs, video, GIFs etc. and post times then use our analytics to understand what our audience engages with. Candidates don’t care about our brand promises, they can about how the message of this brand makes them feel. We use emotive storytelling to connect. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion. 

Just as people don’t buy products, but rather the stories that these products represent, equally people don’t choose a job - they choose a purpose, culture and people they want to work with.

What type of content does your fanbase engage with most? 

Show instead of tell. Emotive storytelling, i.e. our peoples career stories, is by far the most engaging content. As an Employment Brand team, we also see that posts which are supported by people photos/ videos gain the most traction. People want to see people, and hear their stories directly from them. 

We don’t use stock images. Visual content is a cornerstone of almost every branding campaign. We want to humanize our brand - people like to connect with other people. We also largely use ‘user generated content’ from our internal social media channels meaning the stories come directly from our people.

What is next for your social media channels? 

We are currently considering amplification tools and command centres. We are also continuing to focus on experimentation and data led decision making. The future in social media is so unknown, with every new release, new tool and trend we intend to know about it as it happens to make the decision if it is right for our business/ audience.

How important is education in the social media space? 

Social Media doesn’t stay still. To be successful in our industry you need to be a lifetime learner, naturally curious and competitive. It’s important to take every learning opportunity in order to keep moving with the platforms, and with the industry.

Why did you enter the Social Media Marketing Awards? 

To compare our work / channels to others in Australasia. We wanted to benchmark ourselves against our competitors and see if we have been successful enough to win.

Why is it important to win awards for your company? 

Awards are important for our business because they are indicative of our successes. To be able to demonstrate that the work we have done is award winning increases the credibility of our work and can be great source of internal motivation.

Leslie Taylor.jpg
The Warehouse Group logo.jpg


Leslie works at The Warehouse Group – one of New Zealand's largest retailers with over 20 brands, 12,000 people and 240+ sites across New Zealand.  As Employment Brand Manager Leslie is responsible for positioning Retail as a Career and each of their 5 core brands as a great place to work. Leslie’s team are responsible for 12 social media pages including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #retailcareers. Leslie’s role encompasses Brand, Marketing, Communications, Digital and PR applied to HR. She has mentored over 40 Marketing and Communications Interns and Co manages the Auckland Employment Brand Network.  The Warehouse Group brands have won numerous Retail Employer of the year awards and have been recognised as both winners and finalists in the IBM Best Places to Work awards. Connect with her on LinkedIn:

Top 10 Tips for Writing a Winning Entry

Tip 1: Make sure you address all the criteria

Tip 2: Write concise and compelling summaries - you only have limited words in which to address the criteria so make sure you are concise and to the point.  Structure your entry.  Tell a story. 

Tip 3: Articulate the challenge or problem that needed to be solved

Tip 4: Clearly State the Results  - The results are an important part of the judging criteria so be specific.  For example, what was your increase in followers, what was your engagement, what was your reach, what was the ROI, what was your increase in revenue? 

Tip 5: Stick to the Word Counts - Judges have lots of entries to review so please stick to the word count. If the word count is 500, any additional words in that section will not be included. 

Tip 6: Provide the Evidence - If you are entering an award that requires testimonials, campaigns, videos or images, don' forget to include them.  

Tip 7: Have your Entry Proof Read - sometimes you can look at something many times and not see errors.  Ask other people to proof read and offer feedback for your entry. Make sure you allow plenty of time for this process so you do not miss the entry deadline. 

Tip 8: Make Sure You Have Approval From Clients - if you are submitting an entry on behalf of a client, make sure you get approval from them first.  Ensure you have them fill our a Client Permission form and submit it with your entry.  

Tip 9: Fill out your Entry on a Word Document Before Transferring it to the Online Entry Form - you don't want to spend time writing an awesome entry, only to have the web page crash when you submit it. 

Tip 10: Allow Plenty of Time to Submit Your Award Entry - Make sure you have included all your information and evidence. Don't put pressure on yourself and wait until the last minute.  You will not submit your best entry under pressure.