8 Steps for Creating a Successful Social Media Contest

Implementing a social media contest is an excellent way to gain new followers, increase engagement and grow brand awareness for any business (and stay ahead of the competition.) There are eight simple steps needed to effectively launch a social media contest—and ultimately, boost brand recognition online. These steps include:

  • Determine Your Goal
  • Select Contest Type
  • Choose Contest Platform and Length
  • Create Contest Rules
  • Target Your Contest
  • Promote Your Contest
  • Post Winners
  • Analyze Your Contest

Determine Your Goal

First, decide the purpose of the contest. Is it to increase the email subscription list or sales? Introduce new products? Grow brand awareness? Increase followers? Determining the goal first will help to achieve the overall objective.

Select Contest Type

There are all kinds of directions a social media contest can go, so understanding the “why” will help determine the “how.” Select a contest type best suited for the desired outcome. For example, to increase engagement and grow brand awareness, a photo or video contest with a specific hashtag is the best bet. The “contestant” would post a photo or video, and then tag the company along with the designated hashtag.

If it’s a contest to introduce new products and increase sales and subscription lists, a caption contest where a user comments with a caption for the posted photo or video to be entered is a great way to go. Referral contests where every entrant who gives their email and refers a friend (with their email as well), is a great option and both can be added to the subscription list too.

It’s important to also consider incorporating an incentive into any contest. Incentives garner more shares, retweets and reposts! This will increase contest exposure and help achieve the business objective. For example, add a post that reads, “Sharing this contest increases your chances by two times!”

Choose Contest Platform and Length

It’s most effective to choose one social media platform for the contest (but promote through other platforms too).  The most successful social contests run on the company’s most successful social networks. By choosing the platform that has the most followers, the contest will reach the greatest audience. Determine the best platform and learn about their rules for contests first – whether its Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another outlet.

Remember to determine how long the contest will run. Based on the goal, it may be a flash, 24-48-hour contest. Or, maybe a longer contest will be more successful? Either way, the length of the contest should be selected before it begins and specified in the post.

Create Contest Rules

To keep things fair and legal, be sure to add contest rules and a disclaimer that is relevant to the type of contest your business is running and the giveaway for the winner(s). Before running the contest, do some research on the rules your social media platform has on contests, to make sure yours complies. For example, Facebook requires that a business owner clearly and prominently discloses any restrictions on the offer (such as expiration date or limitations on redemption).

Target Your Contest

Today, marketers can target an audience on a very granular level. Targeting foodies, crafters, businesses or tech-lovers? It can be done. And one should not forget to make sure the contest giveaway aligns with the target audience and provides a prize that matches the interests of those people. Do the research first and be sure to select a target audience that will provide the most ROI.

Promote Your Contest

The contest is up and running but the work is still not done! To keep the momentum going, remember to continually promote the contest, and as previously mentioned, cross-promote across all social networks. Paid social ads are also helpful in increasing the contest exposure.  Be sure to update the audience along the way with countdowns and prize reminders.

Post Winners

Finally, the contest is over. Now it’s time to post the winner(s) and a thank you to all the participants.

Analyze Your Contest

Measure the results of the contest against the initial goal. Analyze the outcome and determine if a different type of contest would have better fit the goal, or if a different social media platform would have worked better. Did the contest properly align with the target audience? It’s imperative to analyze the results so the next contest can be even more successful!

Interested in launching an online contest and don’t want to do it alone? We can help- talk to us today!