One of my favorite ways to engage with a brand is via social media contests. These come in all shapes and sizes but the purpose of them is to foster engagement among your social networks, increase your overall audience, and have your consumers become your advocates. Based on my experience with participating in a variety of social media contests, and winning over $700 in prizes in the last year, below are three key tips to keep in mind when designing a social media contest.
1. Build a decent following first
In order to have a successful contest, you want to already have an established audience size. A contest is no fun when only a handful of people participate because you only have 120 followers. I ran across an insurance company running a Twitter campaign about a year ago. They were locally owned and only had about 100 followers. They were running a contest where each day they would pick one person who both followed them and retweeted their tweet promoting the contest. I easily won a $10 gift certificate to Shake Shack because my competition was slim to none. This ties into my second tip….
2. Make sure the prize matches the amount of effort required
The prize I won from the insurance company wasn’t significant but it also didn’t require a significant amount of work on my part. As the prize grows, so should the amount of creativity, thought & sharing required by the participants. I recently won a contest ran by the American Marketing Association where they were looking for someone to caption a post they put out. The top 3 captions received $75 each. This actually required me to be creative and think about the goals and messaging of the AMA (in addition to liking their FB page), thus a more significant prize.
The most long-term, and well-paying social media contest I participated in during 2015 was the Bodybuilding.com 30 Days of Fitness challenge. For 30 days, BB.com put out a theme (i.e. Flex Friday, Meal Prep Sunday, Swolemate Saturday), and you had to post a photo and caption it with a description and explanation of why that particular aspect of fitness was important to you. It required 15-20 minutes daily of thought, preparation, and posting. So I made it into a game and incorporated props and themes throughout the month to weave my fitness story. Lo and behold, I won one of the daily challenges of $500 and I owe it all to Gizmo!
3. Don’t make it too spammy
The quickest way to turn me off from a social media contest is to make it too spammy. By this, I mean I am forced to tag multiple friends, share a particular post on all my social networks, or otherwise engage in behavior that is solely meant to annoy my connections and followers who may not be interested in the same contest as me. By nature, social media contests, when done well, are intended to drive awareness and engagement. I’m happy to tweet at the brand or include certain hashtags, but don’t force me to include others in it who may not want to be included. If my friends and followers are interested, they will join in on their accord, don’t force me to spam them into it!
On a final note, make sure your contest stays true to your brand and have fun with it! Use them as an opportunity to create user-generated content that you can incorporate into your marketing tactics. You will gain so much insight into who your customers are, what excites them, and how to tailor your offerings to suit their needs. People love it when brands engage with them and listen to them. Contests are a great opportunity to do so!
Additional tips on how to have a successful social media contest? Share below! Don't forget to subscribe to my email list for the latest blogs straight to your inbox.