A Social Media Contest That Wins in 3 Steps

Anybody can throw a social media contest. But a successful contest? Now, that’s a different story.

To be successful, you’re going to have to be deliberate in your efforts. From planning to execution, a successful contest requires you to be on top of your game.

1. Know Your Goal

While that may sound overly simplistic, it’s an often overlooked step in the game of social media contests. The more thought you put into your contest before it starts, the less you’ll be kicking yourself later.

At its core, a contest is a marketing strategy. So the question you have to ask yourself is what do I want to accomplish from this contest? The answer to that question should never be to gain more followers. Sure, it’s a goal you can achieve, but what have you got when you’ve got it? Well, you’ve got a bunch of people who don’t really care about you.

Do you want to acquire contact information for potential customers to beef up your email list? Well, have a contest that requires participants to share that information. Do you want to spark more interaction on your social media sites? Then host a contest that asks people to interact with your page in some way.

Take the time to really consider these questions. Your answers will set the tone for the type of contest you host and will ultimately mean the difference between success and failure.

2. Pick the Right Prize

Not every contest needs an uber-expensive prize. In fact, depending on what you hope to accomplish with your contest, a big prize could spell doom.

Let’s say your contest’s goal is to enrich your social media sites with interaction from an audience interested in your brand. You aren’t going to get that by giving away an iPad. What you’ll get is people who just want an iPad and are using you to get it. When the lure of the prize is gone, so are they.

Your choice of prize should be tailored to what your contest’s goal is. If you’re looking to build brand advocates, avoid a third-party prize. Rather, opt for something your brand offers. For example, a massage therapist could offer free massages as a prize. Or a hair stylist could offer a make-over.

The only limit to what prizes to offer is your imagination. Have fun with choosing a prize, but remember what you’re trying to accomplish.

 3. Make Yourself Viral

Unless you’re lucky enough to tap into a concept that instantly goes viral, you’ll have to work for it. The most successful social media contests are the ones that cross promote.

Just because you’re hosting a Facebook contest doesn’t mean you can’t tell people about it through means other than Facebook. Tweet it. Email it. Blog it. Plug it in your regular print, radio or TV advertisements. Add it to your email signature.

Help yourself out by making your contest easily sharable. Embed links in all your promotions that make it easy for people to share with their friends. The more people who see your contest, the more likely you are they’ll start promoting it for you.

And don’t forget to promote the winner like it’s your job.

It’s That Easy

Ok, so it’s not really easy. It’s time consuming, and it will require a lot of your attention. But if you do it right, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Thanks for reading.