How to Successfully Run a Social Media Contest

Social media contests are a great way to boost your brand awareness, attract new followers, and just to get people excited about your brand. I’ll bet you expect the process to be easy, after all, who doesn’t like getting freebies? Sorry to put you down, but many stages of planning and execution await you. Don’t worry, we’ll help you get your priorities straight. Below are the questions you need to ask yourself while preparing your campaign. 





What are your marketing goals? 

After all the hard work and giving out prizes, what’s your reward going to be? You might want to generate some buzz, to attract new Twitter followers, or to grow your email subscribers list. Pick two goals, and make sure to stay true to them while brainstorming contest ideas. If you fail to do so, it will be impossible to determine whether the contest was actually worth something for your brand.

What’s your contest type?

You can go for sweepstakes contests which are easy to enter but don’t drive engagement, or for photo or video contests which usually steal the spotlight. You can try caption and quiz contests as well. Make sure your choice goes hand in hand with your brand image. 

Also, whatever type you choose, make sure the contest is easy to enter. So if you require users to fill in information, try to be concise. Many people won’t bother filling in long forms, even if it means getting a prize. 

How long will the contest run?

There’s nothing as irritating as having entered a contest and not knowing when the winner will be announced.

Try to keep the running time short. According to Kontest, the best time span for your campaign is from 25 to 60 days. The longer it lasts, the more difficult it is to keep your engagement rates up. Plus, it will motivate people to enter, because the prospect of getting the prize in the near future seems more attainable and exciting. Don’t forget to post callouts and countdowns on social media channels days before the contest closes. That will motivate people to sign up right away.

Are the contest rules clear?

Contests can turn into a mess if its rules aren’t clear. And confused entrants will not hesitate to express their outrage in comments and one-star reviews. 

Make sure that the rules are straightforward. That means clearly mention the dates for entry, the steps that entrants need to take, the expected prize, as well as how the winner will be chosen. Be especially careful with the legal side of the matter. Make sure you comply with relevant laws in your area. 

What’s the prize? 

This is probably the part you’ll enjoy brainstorming the most, because it will let you challenge your creativity. Always remember, the best prizes are ones that are characteristic of your brand. So offering an Ipad for every occasion isn’t the best idea. Hundreds of people can be after generic prizes, but are they worth something for your brand? Certainly not. Your goal isn’t to attract contest hunters, but people who are genuinely interested in what you do. Make sure that everything you do aims at strengthening the community around your brand. 

What’s your platform? 

Is it more beneficial for your brand to run a contest on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? My advice is to avoid running the contest on multiple platforms. What you can do, however, is to cross-promote the contest. To do that right isn’t easy in and of itself. Sticking to one platform will help you stay focused and keep you away from misunderstandings and confusions. Moreover, analyzing the results and tracking the benefits will be much easier on a single platform. 

Are you promoting your contest? 

After following the steps above, it’s time to spread the word about your contest. Post it on different platforms with a link to your website. That will make all the guidelines and rules easily accessible. And of course, make sure that your posts are easily shareable.

Also, make sure you use the chance to promote other content while the contest is running. A lot of people will visit your social media pages and website, and that isn’t an opportunity you should waste! Offer a new glimpse of your product or your company culture. 

Are your contest graphics good? 

Your contest has few chances of winning the hearts of your followers without good graphics to support it. You can change your profile picture or make the visuals of your promoted posts stand out. 





Are you engaging with the contestants? 

You should be engaging with your followers regardless of the contest. But of course, it’s a great opportunity to double the conversation. Many of your followers will react to the contest by leaving comments and asking questions. That means they’re interested, so take it seriously. 

Don’t reply generically, tailor your responses individually. It’s a great opportunity to learn about your buyer persona and show how much you appreciate your followers and customers. Talk their language, and gain insight into their interests and behavior. After your contest is finished, you will have plenty of material you can use to update your social media marketing plan.

Are you analyzing the results? 

The number of people who enter the contest might be impressive, but you need to go beyond that in order to measure how good your campaign was. 

Find out how many people have visited your site while the contest was running and where they came from. How much did they stay and which aspects of your website deserved the most interaction? After a thorough analysis, you will end up with a clear picture of what your target market is after. So after the contest is over, don’t relax, you still have a plenty of material to work with. 

Who’s the winner?

Your followers are impatient to get to know the winner. Never delay publicizing the results. Otherwise, you’ll disappoint even the most loyal of your followers and will end up sacrificing your reputation. In the worst-case scenario, people might think your contest was a scam. Feature the winner on your social media channels, your website, and the newsletter. 

Running a social media contest takes preparation and patience. Make sure to go through all the stages, stay on time, and live up to all the promises you gave to your followers. 

Analyze the campaign and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from people who enter the contest. This will build trust and a lasting relationship so you can learn your lessons and move on to the next awesome campaign. 

All the hard work and enthusiasm you spent creating the contest will bring you plenty of prizes in the end! 

Like this article? Get updates by email and get our eBook for FREE

Maria Mkrtchyan on InstagramMaria Mkrtchyan on Twitter
Maria Mkrtchyan
Staff Writer: Maria is a freelance writer who lives and writes outside the box. Honest and casual as she is in person, she is in her writing. She will pen down everything that's challenging, inspiring and has the potential of making the world a more intelligent and sensible place. In her spare time, she loves taking artsy photos, traveling, writing poetry, meditating and just surrendering to philosophical musings. You can follow her on Twitter @mariatheflaneur and Instagram mariatheflaneur

Article Tags:
· · · · ·
Article Categories:
Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Marketing · Social Media
4

Staff Writer: Maria is a freelance writer who lives and writes outside the box. Honest and casual as she is in person, she is in her writing. She will pen down everything that's challenging, inspiring and has the potential of making the world a more intelligent and sensible place. In her spare time, she loves taking artsy photos, traveling, writing poetry, meditating and just surrendering to philosophical musings. You can follow her on Twitter @mariatheflaneur and Instagram mariatheflaneur

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *