Running a Successful Social Media Contest

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by Allison Loehr No Comments

Online contests are becoming an increasingly popular way to leverage social media to expand your brand’s reach and growing your business’ sales. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to create an effective social media contest. It’s important to engage your fans in a fun and creative way to maximize your success.

You can choose several channels in order to obtain the greatest success for your brand. One route could be a contest ran exclusively through Instagram or another could use a combination of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. These channels require appropriate time and strategy to execute a successful contest.

So…How does it work?

  1. Planning:
    • Set goals for your brand. These should be measurable and have a set timeframe applied to them. Some of these goals could be to increase the number of followers on Instagram but 10% or boost your engagement rates by 5% by the end of the contest.
    • Check out your competition. Look at similar brands and their past contests and look at ways you could improve them or make them unique for your brand.
    • Be creative and tailor your contest to your customer segment. Make sure your contest is fun and unique. Create your engagement plan. How will you respond to “entries” or questions about the contest? Go through and try to poke holes in your own plans to find the weak spots and prepare for them.
    • Decide on a prize that your customer segment will respond to. For example, Orbit could host an Instagram contest and ask their followers to post a photo of themselves with their orbit gum when they need it the most to give them “a good clean feeling.” A potential prize that could make followers more likely to participate is if they win a year supply of their favorite flavor of Orbit gum.
  2. Execution:
    • Be public about the contest. Make the details of your contest very clear and easy to disseminate through any of your social media platforms. It’s also great to encourage engagement from your followers by asking them to share with friends and family.
    • Facebook advertisements are an effective tool to promote your contest to a new audience and generate more engagement. If you want to find out more about Facebook Ads, there’s a guide for that.
    • Send an email blast to your existing customers with a short but sweet message telling them the gist of the contest and why they should enter.
    • Reach out to influential bloggers to write about your contest. Their blogs could potentially reach an entirely new audience and bring in new customers and further your reach.
    • Allow for an appropriate amount of time. If your contest is too short then you won’t reach a large amount of people but if it’s too long then interest will peter out. Make start and end dates very clear.
  3. Follow-up:
    • Choose and notify the winner publicly. All of your followers want to know who won, even if they didn’t. If you’re running an Instagram contest, then ask the winner if you can use the photo they submitted or mention them in your next post. Everyone wants to feel like they’re special. Give them some extra coverage and ask if you can write about them in your blog or in a Facebook post too. The winner will most likely share all your posts with their network.
    • Thank your participants. By doing so, they will feel special and your brand will create a connection with them, making them more likely to participate in your next contest.
    • Go over your contest and analyze your data. Write down what went wrong and what worked for your contest. As a result, your next contest will be more organized and likely to succeed. Analyzing and measuring your sales, conversion rates, and engagement rates is important and will help you with planning your next contest.

photo credit: Richard Elzey via photopin cc

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