Top 10 Tips For Creating A Successful Social Media Contest

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People love all sorts of contests. It’s in our wonderful competitive nature that makes it all fun and exciting! Today, families and friends enjoy the power of social media to participate in contests, raffle draws, and other online competitions.

The word of mouth generated by hosting a creative social media contest can be both phenomenal and beneficial to your business. Many brands have done a great job with social contests to drive interest and traffic to their company websites and pages.

Find out how you too, can do the same by understanding the essential elements of a social media contest and how it can help you reach a specific marketing goal for yourself or your company.

Top 10 Tips For Creating A Successful Social Media Contest

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Related Reading: How To Hire A Great Social Media Manager

10 Factors To Consider In Running A Successful Social Media Contest

1. Define Your Social Media Marketing (SMM) Campaign Goals

Since there are a several reasons to launch a contest, it’s important to identify your marketing objective/s ahead of time. It can be the following:

  • Drive awareness of a new product or service
  • Grow your email database
  • Encourage new participants to use your company’s social networking channels
  • Get new fans and followers
  • Collect a list of interested customers for a particular product segment
  • General brand awareness

The goal you choose will set the tone for your contest theme and strategy.

2. Who is the Target Audience?

Amassing a huge number of fan base is great but not very helpful if they are not your ideal target market. Think about whom your promotion would most appeal to. Are they parents? Millennials? Outdoor enthusiasts?

Knowing this will help you determine the theme and prizes tied to objectives.

Example: free gear for those inclined to outdoors and sports.

3. Social Media Contest Theme

Avoid using a generic name like “Holiday Contest”. Instead, brainstorm on topical/cultural trends to develop a fun theme. Research on contests that popular brands have executed and get theme ideas from them. A fun theme relevant to your contest will interest your target audience thereby creating a favorable impression with your brand.

4. Select the Type of Social Media Contest to Host

Pick one that aligns with your social marketing goals and what your audience would find engaging. It can be a photo/video submission, or a hashtag contest.

There are several types of #SocialMediaContest that you can implement from low effort to high effort for users. Make sure you match expected effort with prize worth.

The higher the effort, the higher the prize value, so don’t make users jump through hoops for a small prize.

5. Get Creative

Here are a few ideas:
– A photo contest related to your product or service- A user-generated content contest to select the best ‘personal experience stories’- A video contest for users to create a new commercial or advertising jingle for one of your products- A product invention contest with a large cash prize

Your contest can be short and offer a small prize, or longer and more involved. But the fun part is, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the type of contests you can launch. A great social media manager VA can come up with different ideas you can choose from.

6. Set a Timeline

Don’t let your contests run for too long. Shorter contests are often more likely to go viral and engage with your customers instead of losing momentum. Choose a timeline that works for you and gives fans enough time to participate.

7. Maximize Social Channels by Sharing

The best part about #SocialMedia Contests is how easy it is to make them viral, encourage participation, and link them into your #socialmarketing activities.

Promote your contest via your company website or blog page, Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media channels, as well as via print, newsletter, or an in-store signage.

People like to play games and join contests together, and they love to share the chance to win a cool prize with friends and family. So, make sure your contests are easily sharable by embedding “share this” links on everywhere that people will come across it.

8. Contest Prizes

Studies show the more prizes you offer the more people think they have a greater chance for winning. Consider the audience you are trying to reach and what would get them really excited to enter, share and try to win.

The prizes don’t have to be one of your products or services, but you can certainly throw those in as another way of marketing your brand.

Also, think about bringing in co-sponsors that are trying to reach your same target market. You can partner with them so you can both help each other cross-promote your business.

9. Writing Contest Rules

You want to be fair and just in dealing with your rules as the last thing you want is for a consumer to cry foul on how you have laid out your contest. Make sure you have planned out what would be the contest rules and make it easy to understand for all who enter.

Tip: refer to the contest section of the platform you are running the contest on such as Facebook Contest Guidelines to make sure you are following their latest.

10. Finish the Contest

Now, everyone anticipates the day that you announce the winner, so make sure you don’t let your contest drag on too long. When the winner is chosen, you publicize it like crazy. Use Facebook and Twitter to promote the winner.

In this way also you will know which people and social channels are talking most about the contest results, then post comments on those sites to drive even more interest in the topic.

1. Promote your contest – Invite your family and friends to share the contest to their friends and followers on social media and post regularly throughout the contest to remind users to participate.

2.  Maximize your email campaign by including prize-related discounts – Once your contest is over, the real work starts: turning participants into customers. You can send an auto-response email as soon as someone converts on your social media contest.

3. Measure the contest – You need to measure the impact the contest had on brand engagement, website visits, conversion, and bottom-line sales. You can use your social media tracking tool to measure all of these success metrics.

Great Post Examples from Successful Social Media Contests

1. Sherpas Cinema (Film and TV Production Company out of Whistler BC.)

Sherpas Cinema

Source: Sherpas Cinema Website via Hootsuite

Sherpas Cinema makes some awe-inspiring videos and they knew exactly who they were targeting when they launched a contest asking Facebook users to ‘like’ their page for a chance to win a 7-day heliski trip with Bella Coola Heli Sports + gear from top sporting brands.

2. Sephora

Sephora is one of the leading chain of beauty stores—and they’re also socially savvy. Last summer, in celebration of their 15 years, Sephora ran their Sweet 15 Sweepstakes on their Facebook page.

They asked Facebook users to complete an entry form to have a chance to win a 5-Day all inclusive trip to Costa Rica, plus a year’s supply of their Surf product.


Source: CouponCousins via Hootsuite

3. Vans Custom Culture

Vans Custom Culture is a national high school shoe customization contest where schools from all over the U.S. can win money for their art programs. The first 1,500 schools that registered came up with their own amazing creations and received four pairs of Vans Shoes. Then, photo submissions are made online and global voting to trim down to five finalists.

Using the hashtag #vanscustomculture, they were able to gain more followers by promoting this contest across all platforms.

Vans Custom Culture

Source: Vans Custom Culture via Hootsuite

4. Qwertee

Qwertee is a limited edition t-shirt producer that sells shirts that are created each day—affordable and awesome designs at $12-$15. They ran a very successful contest on Facebook where visitors had to like their business page and submit their email address for a chance to win. They had a prize of winning 30 free t-shirts when the Facebook page hit 100,000 likes.


Source: business2community via Hootsuite

Hope all these tips work great with your online marketing and social goals! A Social Media Manager Virtual Assistant plays a key factor in improving your company’s social media presence to increase brand recognition and opportunities to convert into sales.

Virtual Assistant Talent provides experienced social media VAs to help improve and manage your brand’s voice and content throughout all social platforms.

We offer free consultation to discuss your business needs with the social media virtual assistant (VA), HR manager, and project manager us. CALL US at 1-866-596-9041 to learn more and what to expect from our social media packages.
If you have questions or any Social Media related success stories, please leave a comment below.


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