April 3, 2015 Michael Bickerton
Each and every one is vying for attention from consumers. However, how do we get consumers to become potential customers? More importantly, how do we take those potential customers, and turn them into brand advocates? It’s actually quite simple… Through social media and contest marketing! Both social media and contests have become such an integral part of the way we market to consumers, so why not use them both to receive the attention you deserve from consumers?
In this article, we will discuss twelve smart and innovative ways to run a successful social media contest, and more importantly we will explain why contests are such a great medium to incorporate into your marketing mix.
Set Your Goals
The first thing you should ask yourself before running a contest is what are you trying to gain from running one? Are you tying to get more subscribers to your newsletter? Do you want expose certain products? Gain brand recognition? Grow your Facebook fans? Whatever your goal, make sure its clear before moving ahead.
Choose the Type of Contest you Want to run
Sweepstakes are the easiest contests to enter and have the lowest barrier of entry. Photo and video contests with the option to vote get more engagement. Once you run a contest, do you can randomly choose winners? Pick them yourself? Organize a panel of judges to select who should win? Facebook has “Share to Win” contests, Pinterest has “Pin it to Win it” and so on. The type of contest will depend on many things that you must decide on.
Decide on the Contest Length
Consider running shorter contests more often for more engagement. For example, for a contest with a voting system, having several rounds helps draw attention and get fans engaged with your contest and your brand. Shorter contests, sometimes running only for a day or two can help get huge amounts of traffic, and gain followers who are interested in your brand.
Choose a Platform
Decide where you are going to run your contest. Consider running a contest primarily on one social media site, while cross-promoting your contest on other websites. There are many different tools online to help run an online contest for you as well – such as Rafflecopter or OfferPop, which have premade templates you can use.
Plan Your Artwork
Make sure you create some appealing and creative artwork for your contest. You want people to see your contest and enter, so it would be wise to hire a graphic designer or art director who knows their stuff and who can create art that will appeal to your target.
Target the Contest
Many businesses ask you to join their email list before make a contest entry. This is where you can potentially lose people. Make sure you gain quality followers by ensuring your offer closely mirrors what product or service you offer. Offering a popular prize, like an iPad or gift card, can get a lot of interest, but they could be minimally engaged.
Make it Stick
Motivate people to share your contests. For example, by offering people more entries if they share it through social media, it increases the “stickiness” of your contest. Make it fun and engaging, even for those people who don’t win. Keep in mind no one wants to share a boring contest. Overall, an interesting contest will always get more engagement; regardless of any incentive you can offer.
Promote Your Contest
Simply put, your content won’t promote itself. As a business owner, you may want to consider using paid options to help spread the word. Paid advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other platforms can help get your initial message out, while encouraging consumers to follow your brand.
A smart idea is to hashtag your contests’ name across various networks, but make it easy and fun to do so. You can ask people to post a picture with your product and hashtag the contests name.
Click here for a Promoting Contest Checklist
Keep People’s Attention With Content
No matter how good your contest is, people can still opt out as soon as the contest is over, so it is essential that you keep them interested in your brand even after the contest. On the other hand, if the contest is organized well, people will be exposed to a bit of your brand throughout the process. This gives you a chance to engage consumers and turn them into customers.
It is a great opportunity to incorporate your brand messages into the contest. There’s many ways to accomplish this, from mixing product information into posts and contest branding, to posting messages with knowledge about your products or services.
Make Clear Rules
Make sure that your contest rules are clear and fair to all entrants. For example, if the contest is for the number of Facebook likes a photo receives, make sure to specify that multiple votes from the same IP address can be discounted. Consider if you`d like to reuse images submitted as part of a contest, be sure to clearly state that in the contest rules. It will save you a lot of time later!
Keep it Legal
Make sure you keep everything legal. You’ll need to disclaim the platform that you’re on, stating specifically they don’t sponsor the contest. This will be found in the terms of service of whichever platform you’re posting on. Also make sure to research rules for individual social media platforms when creating your contests, to make sure you meet all requirements.
Moderate your entries. Make sure that you are approving every image that is being posted on social media before it is posted, to make sure that it is appropriate material that portrays your brand in a good light. Many platforms have tools to moderate content, allowing you to ensure a proper brand image.
You can engage many people if you just take a little time to properly plan and execute your contest, so that it becomes a great success among your target audience.
Thinking of starting a contest? Here are some Contest Marketing Ideas!
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd. March 2015