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Tips for Running a Social Media Contest

Can you name a way to increase a list of email subscribers, drum up enthusiasm for your business, spread information and create more brand awareness all at once? If you said by running a social media contest then you are correct!

Social media contests are a great way to increase exposure for your business across multiple social platforms. They can be fun and interactive while also being relatively an inexpensive way to market your business, depending on the type of prizes you choose to offer.

Here are some tips and ideas for running a social media contest to keep in mind for your next event.

Social Media Contest Tips

  • Determine your goals – Always a good first step! What is the goal of your contest? Do you want more email subscribers? Are you looking to increase followers on social media or gain brand recognition? In the very least each contestant should have to sign up for your mailing list.
  • Select the right type of contest – There is quite a variety of options available from photo contests that rely on fan votes or sweepstakes contests. Pin to play on Instagram, caption contests and quiz contests are also interesting ideas. Really it depends on the social media outlet you are using along with what you feel your viewers will find the most entertaining.
  • Create a Contest Plan – How long will it run? What are the prizes? How many people will win? What types of images and content will be used in the contest? Remember, the contest is a vehicle for your marketing efforts so take the time to make sure things represent your brand well and properly promote your goal.
  • Target the Contest Properly – If your business is all about technology then don’t give away scrapbooking prizes. You need to have prizes that your core demographic of customers will desire. What is the point of adding new subscribers that will have no interest in your business?
  • Fun Factor – The contest needs to be fun, engaging and sharable. The more user engagement, the better the contest will work as a marketing vehicle. Use interesting hashtags that are unique, create fun pictures or interesting promo videos.
  • Recognition – People love to be recognized for achievements. Make sure to promote winners shamelessly and have them do it as well to promote your brand. This can work well for contests that narrow down from a large group to finalists.
  • Promote the Contest – Sadly contests don’t just promote themselves. Along with using your own email list and social media outlets to promote the contest consider using paid advertisements, depending on the size of the promotion and prizes.
  • Entrant Promotions – You can require entrants to comment, re-pin, like, repost, etc to ensure your contest gets further exposure with their friends. Although this reduces the targeting a little bit, you still can pick up new customers based on your branding and fun factor.
  • Bait the Hook and Tug the Line – It is a fact that some people will simply sign up for a contest just for the prize. That is to be expected because you did bait the hook. Now that you have the person and their email address you can target them with some specific, special content. A small coupon, new tips or ideas and even a prevent opt-out offer can help keep people engaged. Also remember that a well-run contest will positively promote your brand even if the fish jumps off the hook.
  • Be Clear about Rules – No contest should have unclear rules or the possibility of errors. Large contests will draw people that look for loopholes and ways to cheat if the prize is big enough. In some cases, that means being very specific about rules and guidelines to prevent confusion. You might need to specify use of legal guardians for underage entries, votes from unique IP addresses and the like.
  • Moderate Entries – You need to keep an eye out for inappropriate material and entries just to be safe. Also by moderating entries regularly you can create a dialogue with entrants that then increase engagement and the fun factor.

Use some or all of these tips for running a social media contest to ensure your next event is a smashing success!



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