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Zipcar mounts social media contest on Facebook

Investors may fret that the car-sharing business of Zipcar Inc. could get gobbled up by giant potential rivals such as Hertz Global Holdings, but Cambridge-based Zipcar can says this: It has more than 80,000 Facebook fans.

Zipcar recently tried to mobilize its Facebook fan-base with a social media contest dubbed “The Ultimate Ziptrip.’’

The company asked these folks to explain in 750 characters or fewer what they would do on an all-expenses paid trip to one of the 16 North American cities where Zipcar operates.

Lowell’s own Jack Kerouac, a road-trip poet laureate known for windy prose and a disdain for punctuation, well might have taken a pass. But nearly 5,000 Zipcar fans responded to Zipcar’s call. Zipcar next winnowed the field to 50 semi-finalists, who were then “tasked with creating videos to support their cause,’’ Zipcar said in a press release.

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Three finalist videos were chosen and posted to the Zipcar Facebook page, and after nearly 1,000 votes, Jason and Elizabeth the Hart of Cambridge were determined to be the winning entry of the contest, winning by just a single vote, the company said.

During contest, “The Ultimate Ziptrip’’ Facebook tab was viewed more than 53,000 times, and the contest was shared by more than 2,500 people. By the end of the initiative, Zipcar said it had acquired an additional 9,200 Facebook “likes’’ as it continues to expand its social media network. (Ah, if only Zipcar’s stock shares could gin up more “likes’’ on Wall Street …)

In a statement, Zipcar chief marketing officer Rob Weisberg said: “We know that our members are tech-savvy, heavily involved in social media, and love to travel, and we thought this contest would be a great way to engage with them. Our members went above and beyond in the videos they created, and really showed their passion and enthusiasm for the Zipcar brand. The Harts have been Zipsters since 2006, and we’re excited to award them a trip to zip around San Francisco.’’

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