How to Create a Social Media Contest as a Promotional Tool


How to Create a Social Media Contest Building your following on social media is an ongoing effort. You need to consistently add new content, communicate with followers, and keep people engaged. If you can perform these simple actions, your following should continue to grow. One method that has continued to work for many years is a social media contest. Most contests offer prize giveaways for something as simple as a like or retweet, or a more taxing contribution like a unique photo or video. Running continuous giveaways will grow stale, so you want to work on making occasional contests as considered, professional, and engaging as possible. So what is the best process for developing a social media contest?

Pick a Contest Type

Sweepstakes will typically get the highest number of participants due to the simple nature of entry. You could get creative, though, by using photo, video, or caption competitions, with entrants developing something specific for the contest. Consider what your ultimate goal is before starting, whether that is to grow your followers and gain leads, create content that can be used for promotion, or to lead into a new product launch. Understanding what you want to achieve will make designing the contest far easier.

Choose a Prize

The best prizes will be related to your niche, only appealing to people who might become customers. While general prizes might increase the popularity of the contest, you will find many of your leads are not interested in any subsequent content. If, for example, you run a cosmetics business, a good prize could include a makeup package, a store coupon, or a free makeover.

Set the Rules

Contest rules can be simple, but they are important for avoiding confusion. Set an end date, decide who is eligible to enter, and add a disclaimer that prevents voter fraud. It is also important to check the rules of each social media site you use to promote the contest as some sites will have guidelines you need to consider.

Consider Using Apps

It is possible to manually run a contest, particularly when you are running a photo or video competition that requires judging. However, apps can simplify the process incredibly, with benefits like automation and social sharing options. Woobox, Rafflecopter, Hootsuite, and Binkd are a small number of established tools, but there are other popular apps that can be considered. Along with the automation, most apps will help you to scale a campaign, so you don’t need to worry about any logistical problems from a successful contest.

Promote the Contest

Ideally, your followers will perform much of the promotional work through sharing. Most apps will offer the chance to request a share after a follower has entered the contest, with the option to build contest entry on sharing alone. Additionally, you will need to have an enticing banner created, while also writing quality copy. Selling the prize can be done in the same way you might sell a product. If you are struggling to gain much recognition, it might be worth investing in some advertising to generate extra interest.

A good contest will add variety to your social media feeds, providing high levels of engagement and an interesting spectacle. Contests might have become commonplace, but not every industry experiences them regularly. Even when they are familiar, the time investment for an entrant is so low that it is hard to become too cynical about the endeavor. Of course, you need to go beyond a simple giveaway for maximum success, planning your marketing, the prizes, and the tools you will use. But the potential results available, including many new leads, means the time and money invested should come back many times over.


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