A Liberty High School junior from Bedford will be treated to an all-expenses-paid VIP trip to Longwood University’s campus after she won an online sweepstakes.

Bobbie Daniels was selected at random from more than 1,600 entries on the Longwood Facebook page. "When I received an email about the sweepstakes, I never thought I had a chance to win," said Daniels. "My mother—a Longwood alumna—encouraged me to enter, saying the worst case scenario was not winning. I’m so glad I was selected and am most definitely going to apply to Longwood!"

The innovative prize package, which includes exclusive lodging at the Longwood Bed & Breakfast, dining and gift cards for gas and apparel, was tailored to engage with social media users who would continue to engage with the university. "A number of other colleges and universities hold sweepstakes where the prize is an iPad or other device," said Dave Hooper, director of web communications. "We took it to the next level—how we can connect with parents and students who have an interest in coming to Longwood, or alumni who want to engage with their alma mater."

Longwood developed the Facebook sweepstakes to drive both page likes and engagement with potential students and their parents. Successful on both fronts, the sweepstakes netted 1,657 total entries and drove more than 800 new page likes—more than quadrupling the average monthly rate of new page likes. Of the entrants, 62 percent were prospective students or their parents.

"The current emphasis on social media that’s in place at Longwood should resonate with people who have just engaged with us," said Hooper. "With the prize package that was put together to specifically target potential students, their parents and others who are interested in Longwood, we aren’t just driving empty likes, we are connecting with people who have a real interest in this university."

The prize package was a VIP trip to campus, including a campus tour led by a Longwood Ambassador, exclusive lodging at the Longwood Bed and Breakfast, dining at upscale Charley’s Waterfront Café in Farmville, lunch in the dining hall, a reserved parking space, a $25 gift card for Longwood items at the university bookstore and a $50 gas gift card. In total, the package is worth nearly $500.

"While we strive to treat all our visitors like special guests, Ms. Daniels will certainly get the VIP treatment during her campus visit," said Sallie McMullin, dean of admissions. "It is not surprising that the contest was successful given Longwood’s growing popularity and the significant increase in the number of visitors to campus."

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