NEWS AND TIPS
By Joshua Brennick
Ever run a social media contest or ad campaign to only have it flop and not generate the goal(s) you set out to accomplish with them? Don’t beat yourself up, running a successful contest and campaign is not as easy as it may appear and it’s very common for this to occur if you don’t have much experience in the set up process. When it’s set up correctly, a contest or giveaway can deliver wonders and sometimes even go beyond the ROI you set for it.
Everyone loves free stuff and not much compares to the excitement customers get when winning something all while providing your brand a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Curious how to run a successful social media contest that actually converts? The steps below will cover all the must-follow steps so you can walk away happy with your next contest on social media while also building an exciting rapport with your online followers.
Before we begin, you need to understand why using social media contests are so beneficial.
1. Grow your following
When you run a social media contest, you can ask someone to like or follow you as a way of gaining entry. This can help to grow your following, increasing the percentage of people that might see your content.
2. Generate brand awareness
When people like, comment on and share your content, social media algorithms recognize that and more people are likely to see it and learn about your business. Plus, many businesses will pair with others for giveaways, introducing you to their audience.
3. Increase your email list
One popular method of gaining entries to a contest or giveaway is requesting people sign up and enter their name and email address as a form of entry. As long as you detail what they’re signing up for in your opt-in box and terms and conditions, you can add these entries to your email list.
4. Jumpstart your engagement
Social media competitions are a great way to increase buzz around your page and get your followers engaging with your content. s you can see from the examples above, almost any route to running a contest will lead to your brand getting additional exposure and more audience insight. Be ready to use the boost of interest a well-targeted contest will generate and follow up with additional impactful social content.
How to run a social media contest
Now that you understand the benefits that running a social media contest can have for your business, let’s get to what you have been waiting for.
There are a few steps that need to be taken each time you get started with a new contest or giveaway, so we’ll run through each one so you know exactly how to get started on your own.
Step 1: Set your goals
You know all about setting SMART goals for social media. Putting together a social media contest isn’t much different. There are different reasons to host contests, each one leading towards a different type of social media contest or a different form of entry. So what is the goal here? Determine whether you’re trying to increase social media followers, generate more leads or simply increase brand awareness. Each of those can lead to different types of contests, so you need to start out by knowing what you’re trying to achieve.
Step 2: Determine your contest type
After you know what your goals are, you can base the type of contest on what outcome you’re looking for. If you want to increase your following, request entrants to follow your page or profile to enter. This is especially popular on Instagram. If you want to generate more leads and increase your email list, you can request that people sign up or enter their email before entering. These can be done on a landing page and linked from any platform, or you can create a Facebook tab specifically for your contest. Or if you’re most interested in simply growing your reach and generating brand awareness, you can partner with other companies and both share the giveaway on your profile, or you can ask entrants to tag a friend as a form of entry and spread the word. You can even have a social media photo contest as a way of gathering user-generated content for future use. Check out these Instagram photo contest to gather inspiration. There are many types of social media contests to choose from, but they all depend on your audience and your goals.
Step 3: Pinpoint your budget and prizes
You need to know what your marketing department is willing and able to spend on the contest or giveaway. If you plan on doing these regularly – which is a great strategy to keep your followers excited and engaged – make sure you plan out a budget for the year. Once you know how much you’re able to spend on the giveaway, you can break it up between ads to promote the contest and money to put behind the prize. Decide if you’re going to give away product, a cash prize or something else altogether. Just remember that your prize needs to be something relevant to your specific audience so that you’re not attracting entrants that will never convert to customers.
Step 4: Know your audience
First of all, you need to know who your audience is and where they spend their time on social media. Once you understand this, you’re able to determine which platform(s) you should be focusing on with your social media sweepstakes. Knowing and understanding your audience can also help you determine what type of prize or contest would make the most sense. What would entice your audience to enter a giveaway? What kinds of actions would they be willing to take? Remember that your contests should cater to your customers and target audience, not just potential entrants, so everything you do should stay as relevant as possible. For instance, add labels and familiar language when you’re addressing your target audience. Tech companies might call out for marketers, while clothing companies appeal to “fashionistas.”
Step 5: Test different platforms
Whenever you’re trying out a new strategy, you should always, always, always test it out in many different ways. In this case, you should be testing out different platforms to see which one generates the largest response to your social media giveaways. While there seem to be never-ending options when it comes to social platforms, there’s always a number one when it comes to strategy performance. Figure out if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another platform will generate the best results, then focus on that platform to lead your future recurring contests. You can also skip this step if you already know there’s a social media platform that outperforms all of the rest for your business. You want to stick to what you know works, so don’t waste time testing if you’ve seen proven results thus far.
Step 6: Understand contest rules
Each platform has specific rules for contests that you must adhere to in order to remain in compliance. Make sure that you read, understand and follow each of the rules for the platform you’ve chosen.
Step 7: Run your contest
Congratulations, you’ve made it! It’s time to start that contest. Announce it on your chosen social media platform, run ads to increase your reach even further and cross-promote it on other platforms, your email newsletter and even your website to create more buzz.
Announce your prizes, set the length of your contest and watch as the entries pour in.
Step 8: Measure your results
Once your contest is over, you’ve announced your winner and sent off their prize, it’s time to dig in and check out concrete results. How well did your social media contest actually perform? This goes all the way back to your goal. What were you trying to achieve? You want to measure results based on what your objectives were from the start. Check the report specific to the platform you ran your contest on, pull your trends report to measure hashtag use and review how engagement shows the impact of your contest.
Contests on social media should be all about improving engagement, reach, followers and potential customers, and you want to make sure you’re on the up and up by consistently checking in on your reports and testing new contest types and platforms.
Running contests on social media is a great way to get your audience more involved in your online presence, but you want to make sure that you’re seeing results. Testing different platforms, playing with contest types and alternating prizes are all great ways to see success from your social media contests. You also want to ensure that you’re only promoting your contest and giving away freebies to your target audience.
Follow the above eight steps to create a successful social media contest that converts. Still have questions? Set up a free consultation with JBrand Media to go over your plans!
JBrand Media was founded in 2013 by Joshua Brennick, 2019 recipient of The Nashua Telegraph "40 Under Forty" award, with the purpose of helping educational institutions and businesses utilize digital marketing to achieve their marketing and sales goals. Since the launch in 2013, JBrand Media has provided successful services to many clients and has gained recognition as being considered your outsourced Chief Digital Marketing Officer.