written by Michelle Murray | December 5th, 2012
Since the dawn of time (or the contest), people have been trying to win money, trips, gifts, cars and whatever else they can find through various means…Counting jelly beans, entering a draw, throwing pies, and nowadays…Tweeting, sharing, and joining.
With Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and many other social applications, it’s easier than ever to host contests for valued and new customers. We love to win stuff and with today’s “share age”, it’s even greater exposure to your company or brand when social savvy people are the recipients of your cool giveaways.
A few weeks back I spent four GLORIOUS hours at the Dirty Apron Cooking School after winning a Twitter contest through Buy Local, Eat Natural – And all it took was a local cooking tip to secure my entry. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the contest until a direct message came through telling me the good news. Four hours in a kitchen cooking, eating local foods with a fantastic chef??? Those were the GREATEST 140 characters (with hashtag) I ever wrote!
So what makes a great social contest? Will it drive traffic to you page or website after all is said and done, and the fun is over? Are these potential clients/customers or super fans?? Do they join for the contest, and stay for the content?
Buy Local, Eat Natural produced a most successful contest because they had a theme, a premise, strict guidelines, and an unbelievable payout. Not only that, a TON of people learned a TON about local foods in BC; so there was also a fantastic educational element in the contest as well.
Step by Step
- The key to hosting a successful contest is to understand what your desired outcome is. If all you want to do is drag followers to your Facebook Page or Twitter account; you may lose them as quickly as they joined (once the contest is over), so you really need to write out a plan to keep people engaged throughout, and after the contest.
- It’s important to know how you are planning to track your results. For the contest to be fair, you really need to figure out how people can enter whether it’s through a Hashtag, comments, online entry form or email – once you’ve decided on how people are to enter the contest, setting up a tracking system should follow immediately. If you’re hosting the contest on Facebook – always check their guidelines to make sure you’re following them correctly.
- Don’t forget to promote your contest. Sure, you’ll have participants sharing the information, but it’s a good idea to post on all your social networks each day, so your contest doesn’t get lost in the feed of information.
- Always be timely with the prize – in both announcing a winner and delivering the prize (whether it’s a gift, tickets, or event). Just as contest participants are eager to share that they’ve entered a contest, they will be just as likely to share if they feel the contest isn’t on the up and up.
- Engage and interact – The more you actively participate and encourage people to share not only their entries, but also their successes (if they win), you’ll keep people active and interested. Your winners will post photos, write blogs (like this one), and cover a lot of social ground with their joy…this will give you a lot of additional awareness.
All in all – a social contest will be as successful as you want it to be – try to think outside of the box when it comes to ideas. Have fun with it – build your database from your entries, and watch how happy you’ll make people.
Have you entered a ‘social media’ contest recently – tell us about it below.