The Art of a Successful Social Media Contest



If you take it step by step and develop a solid contest that will resonate with your audience, chances are pretty high that you’ll see a positive return on your investment.

Of all the ways brands can use social media, contests are by far one of the more strategic and engaging options. However, you have to know what you’re doing. A poorly run contest can do more damage than good.

If you’ve never run a social media contest in the past, then it’s easy to get intimidated. But the good news is that there’s really nothing to feel overwhelmed about. If you take it step by step and develop a solid contest that will resonate with your audience, chances are pretty high that you’ll see a positive return on your investment. Let’s check out some helpful tips…

1. Nail the Giveaway

There are plenty of different ways to incentivize a social media contest, but you can’t underestimate the importance of this particular element.  If the incentive is weak or unattractive, then you stand a very little chance of gaining any traction with your audience.

While you’ll see a lot of brands offer nothing more than recognition, it’s much better to go with some sort of tangible prize. If you can find a way to brand that prize, then that’s even better. We suggest something cost-effective like a custom calendar, which is simple to design, affordable, and gives you an additional branding touchpoint.

 2. Set the Time Frame

How long you let a contest run can mean the difference between success and failure. The longer you let a contest run, the more submissions you’re able to receive. However, you also run the risk of losing momentum and audience focus.

As a general rule of thumb, major contests that offer something of considerable value – such as a vacation or large sum of money – can run for weeks at a time. On the other hand, minor contests offering something like a calendar, coupon, or another free giveaway, should only run for a few hours or days.

 3. Give Followers Some Skin in the Game

There’s nothing wrong with a simple contest that asks followers to like and share a post for entry, but the touchpoint between individual followers and your brand is pretty shallow. If you really want to bring people in and grow your brand, give followers some skin in the game.

One way leading brands like National Geographic, Infiniti, and Marc Jacobs do this is by asking for user generated content. Not only does this give your brand free access to quality content, but it increases your reach and ensures contestants give your contest more thought.

4. Create Simple Rules

Rules are a necessary part of a social media contest, but avoid being too strict and structured. We’ve all see those contests that require users to follow an account, like a post, share a photo, tag friends, use a hashtag, etc. At some point, all of these requirements overwhelm people and keep them from signing up.

Create a few clear and simple rules that safeguard the integrity of your contest without discouraging people from opting in. This will allow you to really maximize the value of the contest both for your brand and the end user.

Take Action Today
There are plenty of ways to manage and grow a brand’s social media presence, but few tactics are as high returning as a carefully developed and implemented contest. Study what other brands are doing and be on the lookout for your own opportunities to engage your audience in meaningful ways.

A successful contest could mean the difference between a very average social media presence and one that thrives.

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