13 Steps for Running a Successful Contest on Social Media
13 Steps for Running a Successful Contest on Social Media
13 Steps for Running a Successful Contest on Social Media

Are you thinking about running a social media contest? If managed well, they can be a great way to help raise awareness of your brand, increase engagement, generate new followers and much more. However, before you jump in head first and start giving prizes away, there are several things you need to consider. In fact, here are 13 vital steps for running a successful contest on social media.

1. Decide What You Want to Achieve

Take some time to think about what you want your contest to do. For example, do you want it to help you raise brand awareness, collect customer email addresses, or generate more conversations on your social media platforms? Understanding your goals right from the start will help you during the planning stages.

2. Choose a Social Platform

Decide which social media platform you want to run your contest from, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. You could even run it from multiple platforms at once, using hashtags, or tools such as WooBox, Rafflecopter and Wyng (previously named Offerpop).

3. Plan the Contest Type

Make sure you choose the right type of contest for your platform, audience, and objectives. Here are some suggestions:
• Sweepstake
• Photo/video contest
• Poll/questionnaire
• Caption competition
• Pin it to win it promotion
• Hashtag contest
A sweepstake for example is the easiest to enter, so you’re likely to get more entrants. However, it’s not as engaging as a photo contest, where consumers are encouraged to submit user generated content. It’s therefore important to reflect on your goals when choosing the contest type.

4. Think Outside the Box

Lots of businesses are running competitions, potentially at the same time as yours, so stand out from the crowd by being creative. You want to come up with something new, exciting and fun for consumers to get involved in.

5. Set the Timeframe

Consider the length of your contest. If a contest is too short, people may not have a chance to enter, but if it’s too long, you may find that people get bored and entries start to dry up. 1 or 2 weeks is normally a good starting point. You can always try this out and decide whether to increase or decrease the timeframe for your next contest.

6. Pick Your Prize

Choose a prize that will get consumers interested. Make sure you consider your target audience too and set a prize that is relevant to them and your business. Far too often, businesses give away prizes that are not relevant and they therefore end up attracting lots of people who are not interested in the business. As a result, they see a high rate of unsubscribes or unfollows once the contest ends.

7. Set up Your Contest

If you are using a contest tool such as WooBox, Rafflecopter or Wyng, then you will need to sign up for an account and build your contest. Fill in all the relevant information and make sure you test it out, to check it works from both your desktop and mobile. You will also need to create some eye-catching images that can be used in the contest app.

8. Set Your Terms and Conditions

Create some clear and concise terms and conditions. No question should be left unanswered. For example, you will need to outline how many times people can enter, how many words will be counted (for caption contests) and how the winner will be chosen (e.g. the funniest or best quality photograph). You will need to set the dates of your contest, outline copyright rules, explain how to enter and who is eligible to enter etc.… It may be useful to seek advice from a professional, to ensure you are compliant with any laws.

LIKE, FOLLOW and TAG YOUR FRIENDS to WIN. . Are you ready to taste juice like you’ve never tasted it before? Here at realbuzz HQ we think homemade juice is pure that’s why we’re giving away one of these awesome juicers during January. (FYI it’s also awesome if you want to detox). To get your hands on this fantastic prize just like the post, follow us on Instagram and tag your friends. It’s as easy as that to enter. All entries must be submitted by 5pm GMT on the 31st of January. This competition is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram or their partners. Good luck everyone! #competition #win #giveaway #food #healthy #philips #vegan #fitspo #fitness #fit #foodporn #foodie #foodstagram #foodphotography #foodshare #yummy #fitnessmotivation #fitspiration #fitfam #vegetarian #veggies #recipe #cooking #cook #instagood #regram #picoftheday #2017 #juice

A photo posted by realbuzz.com (@realbuzzcom) on

9. Understand Platform Rules

Each platform has their own contest rules and so make sure you familiarize yourself with these before you run your contest:
• Facebook – Page Terms
• Twitter – Guidelines for Promotions
• Instagram – Promotion Guidelines
• Pinterest – Terms of Service

10. Promote Your Contest

Take some time to create social content that you can use to promote your contest. This could include posts that countdown to the start, and posts counting down to the end of the contest. Don’t forget to accompany these posts with engaging and eye-catching branded images.
For extra traffic, you can promote your contest across all your social media channels, not just the one which you’re running it from. You could also include your contest on your email campaigns, blog posts, add a banner to promote it from your website and even run social advertising.

11. Make Your Contest Shareable

If you’re using third-party tools, look to see if they have a sharing option. If so, ensure this is switched on, so it is as easy as possible for entrants to share the contest with their friends and family.

12. Make Everyone a Winner

Once you have announced and awarded the winner, make sure you thank everyone for entering. Instead of leaving most of your entrants empty handed, why not award them too? This could just be something simple such as sending them a free sample in the post or giving them a special offer that is only available to entrants.

13. Learn from Your Experience

Once your contest is complete, it’s easy to just move onto the next one, without learning anything. Instead, review your performance by looking at how many people entered – Was this above or below your expectations? If your contest performed well, you may want to run future ones in a similar way, on a regular basis. If your contest didn’t go as well as you had hoped, think about where the issues were and how you can make positive changes moving forward.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Harmon
Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years’ experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. You can follow her on Twitter @Liz_Harmon or see more of her writing here.

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