How to run a successful social media contest13 tips for making your next social media contest a success
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How to run a successful social media contest
1. Keep it simple
People’s attention spans are now less than that of a goldfish. As a result, to run a successful social media contest, it needs to be easy to understand and easy to enter. Try to aim for no more than a three-step entry mechanism.
A good example would be: ‘To enter our contest, simply:’
- Upload a photo of you in a silly pose
- Enter your name and email address
- Share your entry on Facebook or Twitter with our competition hash-tag
The easier you make it to enter, the more likely people will be to engage with your contest. Simple.
2. Offer a desirable prize
We’ve run contests in the past where a ski holiday was the prize. While such a great prize may not always be possible, there will definitely be some desirable value that you can either offer your self, or a prize you can invest in.
A good prize is worth its weight in gold if you want people to engage with your contest. If you’re struggling to give enough value, see point 3.
3. Partner with complementary brands
There’s power in numbers. For smaller brands especially, where budgets are often tight, it makes sense to partner with complementary brands.
What prizes can each of you offer? Create an appealing bundle and watch your contest fly! Partnering also lets you spread the cost of promoting your contest and even the time it takes to create it and come up with the idea in the first place.
4. Use a tool to create the contest itself
There is a cost associated with both. For those with lower budgets, ShortStack is a great choice, albeit the contest creation dashboard isn’t that intuitive, in our experience. If it’s simpler, more intuitive design is what you’re after, but at a considerably higher cost – you might like to explore Offerpop.
5. Create a mobile optimised landing page
Mobile usage overtook that of desktops in 2014 and the divide is only going to get greater. Make sure your landing page is optimised for mobile, or you’ll lose lots of potential entrants at the first hurdle – frustrated by the poor user experience.
Creating a landing page on your website, with entry mechanism is key to monitoring engagement with your campaign. Having a dedicated contest URL will also allow you to embed the contest you’ve created in Shortstack/Offerpop/Woobox etc.
Dedicated landing pages will double the data you get. You’ll be able to access the data in ShortStack/Offerpop/Woobox, which will tell you things like vote numbers, entries, desktop/mobile entry split. Secondly – and crucially – you’ll be able to see how much traffic your contest has driven and even whether your contest has made people go on to purchase from you / interact with your site in an additional way.
6. Support your contest with social media advertising
Don’t rely solely on your current followers to enter and share your contest. While have a high amount of followers will give you a head start, there’s no reason why your contest shouldn’t be a success – with the support of social media advertising.
Taking the example of a ski trip as a prize, you could promote your contest, using Facebook and Twitter advertising, to people interested in skiing / ski pages / using ski related searches (and other variables e.g. location, income, age etc.)
You’ll need to invest a decent budget in promoting your contest, but not bank breaking amounts – and the contest success will hinge on how well you setup your advertising to appeal to your audience.
7. Have carefully thought out terms and conditions
Make sure that the terms and conditions cover your brand from any complaints / people trying to ‘beat the system’.
To do this, have a simple entry mechanism, clear prize and be upfront and fair.
Things to think about include:
- Dates when the prize can be claimed and used
- How winner(s) will be contacted
- Minimum age for entry
- Stating your business can change prize at any time without notice
- Stating your business’ decision is final
- Telling people how many entries are allowed per day / throughout contest (creating your contest in an app, such as Shortstack, will allow you to trigger entry limits on and off)
- Informing people that you plan to use their name / photo in promotional activity and by entering they agree to this
- Informing people if they will be expected to attend follow up marketing events / activities
8. Collect data as part of the entry mechanism
You want your contest to facilitate future lead generation opportunities / marketing engagement.
Make sure to collect the following:
- Name (Think if you’ll need first and last name)
- Email address
- Any other information you plan to act on, e.g. age, birthday.
Don’t ask for too much information – around three pieces is ideal in our experience.
A nice touch can be to collect entrants’ birthdays, so you can follow up with future emails, giving them special birthday discounts / well wishes.
9. Promote entries throughout
Keep the momentum and interest going by posting entries throughout the contest, showing people what others have submitted and encouraging further entries.
10. Cross promote on other channels
If your contest is hosted on Facebook, for example – there’s no harm in sending people from Twitter to your Facebook page to enter.
Use all of your resources to market the contest and increase engagement – it doesn’t have to be limited to the channel you are hosting the contest on. Think email marketing, blog posts, and press releases.
11. Use the winner in promotional materials
An effective way to increase the feel-good factor of your contest and encourage people to enter future contests is to use the winner(s) in promotional activities.
Maybe you gave away a stay in a hotel as a prize – don’t forget to take some snaps of the happy winner / do a quick interview with them. This makes for great social media content, blog posts, email content and more!
12. Use data collected in future marketing
Once your contest is over, you’ll have a wealth of email addresses to contact and engage further with.
Make the most of them (without being spammy of course!)… Some of these contest entrants could be future customers.
13. Get inspiration
To run a successful social media contest, you’ll need a lot of inspiration and creativity, check out these 10 amazing examples of social media contests. Alternatively, contact us at GOAT to chat through a tailored social media strategy that will get results against your business objectives.
Have you run a successful social media contest before? How did it go – what would you do differently next time?
We love getting your opinions and questions, so leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.
Thanks for reading.