Full Service Social Media Marketing

A 6 Point Plan for Running a Social Media Contest

Michelle Zaporojets

October 23, 2016

tips for running social media contest

Let’s be honest - everyone loves free stuff. Whether it’s an appy on the house, or a free trip to Bora Bora (we wish!), there’s no way anyone would deny that offer. And it’s no surprise that many contests nowadays are held on social media platforms, making it ridiculously easy for followers to simply “like” a page or retweet a post to get entered to win.

Companies are getting in on this left, right and centre. Why? Glad you asked. Through contests, companies are gaining more awareness, engagement and likely increasing their follower base. And with social media as their platform of choice, not only are they simple to manage, but results are often easy to see immediately and can amplify VERY quickly - if it’s done correctly!

With these six steps, you’ll be on your way to building a spectacular social media contest for your business and increasing your sales in no time.

Set an objective.

First things first - what are you hoping to get out of this giveaway? Do you want to increase registrations for consultations? Or are you looking increase the awareness of your business? Maybe you're trying to get more customers through your door.

The goal that you choose will ultimately shape your entire social media contest. Think about your short and long-term goals, and choose which one you want to focus on. Maybe your short-term goal is a vital stepping stone for your long-term goals. Pick one objective you want to focus on. Knowing this objective will help you make more knowledgable decisions in the next step as you consider your target market and the bulk of your contest.

Determine the basics.

Now for the bulk of the contest - the what, where, and how.

  • What prize are you giving away? (Hint: To manage your investment, try offering something of value that is low cost to your business. Perhaps something you have in your inventory, something you have a high mark up on or something that only costs your time.)
  • How long are you holding the contest for? What is the entry deadline?
  • Which social platform(s) are you hosting on (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)?
  • What is the method of entering your contest (i.e. retweets, tagging, etc.)? (Hint: Facebook has some rules about how Pages are allowed to do this, and also a helpful walk through on how to set one up successfully. Consider giving it a try.)
  • How will you track entries? Are you creating a specific hashtag to track entries? Or are users simply tagging your business’ social account in their posts and you are tracking notifications?
  • Will you be promoting the giveaway via paid advertising? If so, what’s your budget? (Hint: This is probably a good idea! Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow you to target rather specifically by age, gender, location and interests and allows you to work with a limited budget as well!)

Establish your benchmarks.

Before launching your social media contest, quickly copy down your current numbers for the social platform in terms of followers, likes, average retweets, etc. This is important to note when later analyzing how well your giveaway performed (in case you want to end up running another one and need a comparison). You can (and should) also tap into analytics at the end of your campaign to see how your contest affected your metrics - growth, engagement, profile visits, link clicks, etc. (Hint: Your boss is going to want to see this so you can justify the investment made!)

Post & promote your giveaway.

Finally, it’s time to craft your contest! Let readers know exactly what they’ll be receiving if they win, but also add in descriptive adjectives that makes them excited to win this amazing prize.

Add in a photo that is eye-catching and more or less depicts what the prize is. For example, if it’s an exotic trip to Bora Bora - post a photo of the hotel on the water and the spectacular views. If it’s an outdoor patio set - get a professional photo taken of the furniture staged in a dreamy backyard. With the never-ending social media scroll, it’s hard to attract the attention of millennials, so it’s best to keep photos bright and vivid to make them want to stop and read more. (Hint: The quality of the photo counts, so be sure you either have it professionally done, or you take steps to ensure it's at least almost professional quality. Get some tips on how to do that here!)

On top of that, make your post timely. It’s usually best to release social media contests in the morning, giving individuals a full day to see the post, enter, and share. After all, you want as much air time as possible to ultimately reach as many people as possible! (Hint: Check in with your social media analytics to find out when your particular audience is online the most or see the best engagement and schedule it for then.)

Select your winner!

It’s time! Your contest is over and it’s now the moment of truth - who’s going to win your spectacular prize? Are you choosing based on the best submission, or is it a random draw? Once your winner is selected, contact them through direct message and write them an excited congratulatory message explaining how to receive their prize.

From there, post out to your entire audience announcing the winner. While those who didn't win will be disappointed, they'll also be just jealous enough to stay tuned in for the next contest you run to try their hand again. This will also catch the attention of those who missed the original contest post entirely, and entice them to tune in for another round in the future as well.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask them to share their winning news with their friends to amplify your message even further. (An additional perk post-giveaway!)

Analyze the results. (We promise it's fun!)

Last but not least - remember those benchmarks we had you write down in the beginning of your social media contest setup? Bring those bad boys out! It’s time to go in and compare those numbers to your new post-giveaway numbers. Which numbers increased? What worked, and what didn’t? Did you notice any trends? It’s important to note down this progress because who knows, you probably did a great job and you’ll want to host another giveaway again soon. And the next time, with your lessons learned, you'll be able to do an even better job.

So off you go! With these quick and easy steps, you’ll be gaining traction with followers and increasing your sales in no time!

Have you ever held a social media contest? Got any tips, tricks or methods to add to this?

#socialmedia #contest #marketing #modernmarketing

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