We’ve all seen them – giveaways on Instagram, random email drawings on Facebook, and so on. It seems like a lot of companies these days are trying to get likes on social media by offering prizes and giveaways. While this is a great way to get traffic and increase brand awareness, there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to run your own social media contest.
What is your goal?
There’s plenty of reasons to run a social media contest, whether you’re trying to increase brand awareness, highlight a new product or service, or merely get more followers on Twitter. However, if you don’t know why you’re running a contest, your efforts will come off as unfocused and won’t drive the traffic you want. Make sure to set a strong goal first.
What is the theme of your contest?
This should come pretty easily after deciding on a goal, but it’s still important to consider. Does your contest tie into a specific time of year or major event (think something like a sports playoff, the beginning of the school year, etc.)? If you are highlighting a new product, will the contest revolve around the functions/features of the product? It’s important to make a lot of these higher-level decisions first before proceeding with the more detailed aspects of your contest.
How will people enter the contest?
This should be the most fun contest for both your audience and yourself! While your options are numerous when it comes to contest entries, most contests tend to fall into one of six categories:
Connect: Like or follow the company’s social media page
Sweepstakes: Nothing required – these are mostly found on Twitter
Like: Like or retweet a specific piece of content
Share: Share/retweet a specific piece of content
Vote: Vote for your favorite option from multiple pieces of content
Create: Develop user-generated content to upload and enter
The type of content you should go with depends on a number of factors. The more you ask your audience to do, the fewer entries you will get – and younger audiences have always been found to be more comfortable creating their own content to enter. Look into the average age of your audience, as well as the audience’s size, before you decide on a format.
What will your prize be?
You might have decided this already, but if not, this should really be where you put the most creativity and effort in. Far too many companies run a generic “Win an iPad” contest, and nobody wants to waste their time with those. The trick is to find something relevant to your business – if you’re a home electronics review website, give away some fun and rare gizmo or merchandise, not a Best Buy gift card.
This could be even more fun if you don’t have a physical product to distribute. If you’re a news magazine or website, maybe your contest could be offering some aspiring writer the chance to visit your office and be a journalist for a day. The trick is always to make sure the prize is relevant and unique to your business – this will both increase brand awareness in user’s minds and make sure your contest stands out among the flood of “win an Xbox!” tweets.
Social media contests aren’t just for the users, either. Studies have shown that up to 85% of users engage further with a brand whose contest they have entered after the contest ends, whether or not they won. So between the low initial investment and the potential return for brand engagement and awareness, running a good social media contest might be just what your business needs.