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How to Get More From Your Next Social Media Contest

How to Get More From Your Next Social Media Contest

Home Blog Digital Marketing How to Get More From Your Next Social Media Contest

Running a social media contest can increase brand awareness and enhance consumer identification with your brand. In fact, 52 percent of consumers say that participating in a contest helps them feel more connected to a brand.
But not all social media platforms are the same. To get the most out of your contest, you need to study the ins and outs of each platform and craft a competition that uses the strengths of each one. That way you’re more likely to bring people in touch with your business and its core message.
Not only that, but different types of competitions help you achieve different goals. For example, if you want to increase your customer base, a giveaway is a great option. Whereas contests that ask for user-generated content work wonders to increase brand awareness.
Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media & SmalBizDaily says that, “If you’re a social media hound (and as an entrepreneur, you should be), you’ll notice one way businesses get fans to come back for more again and again is by offering customer contests.”
This post will teach you how to get the most out of each platform, which types of competitions to use to enhance consumer connection, and how to come up with a strategy that will put your brand through the social media stratosphere.

Make the contest itself engaging

People will participate in contests in the hopes of winning something, but if you make the competition all about the prize, you’re missing an important part. If you designed the contest so that people want to take part, regardless of the prize, you can be sure you’ve connected with all the targeted audience, not just the winner.
The goal is for people to remember the contest, whether they win or not. Dove’s Real Beauty Facebook competition asked women to “tell us why your friend represents Real Beauty.” This triggered feelings of affection for friends and loved ones and goes deeper than surface beauty, making the participation itself worthwhile.
This creates a true connection with the brand because it makes the participants (and viewers) feel good.

Create a branded message

Your contest should absolutely reek of your brand, from the language you use to the images you choose to promote the competition. This is a chance to reaffirm your brand’s core message, so don’t miss out.
The Eggo Waffle Facebook contest description is on point and branded, from the colors, to the images, to the “waffle font:”

Make the prize relevant

Everyone (except for Apple anti-fans) will be happy with a new iPhone, and most people will participate in a contest to get one. But just because you got an extra 10,000 people to participate by giving away the latest, sexiest gadget, doesn’t mean you just earned an extra 10,000 customers.
The more relevant the prize is to your brand’s core message, the more connected the participant is likely to be to your brand. But what should the prize be?
If you run a car wash, the prize could be a month of free car washes. If you design websites, you could offer free web design. Don’t sell someone else’s product.
Participants are more likely to stick around after the contest if they signed up because they’re interested in your message or your product in the first place.

Publish across all media

Even if you’re running a Twitter contest, you should publish it on other social media like Facebook, Instagram, and any other pages your brand uses. It will help to grow your following on other platforms by giving incentives for consumers to start engaging with your brand on sites they hadn’t previously used to connect with your brand.

Use other platforms

Consider incorporating other types of platforms into your contest as well. For example, texting contest details can also yield great results. By applying the same principles as you did through social media, designing a branded contest, you can gain new customers and reward loyal ones.
For example, Peta2 used SMS to promote their campaign to stop cigarette testing on animals. By giving away free Peta pins, the campaign got them 25,000 new opt-ins and spread the word about their cause.
Here’s a breakdown of the most popular social media platforms and how to use each to help grow your brand awareness:

Twitter contests

Twitter lends itself to the contests where anyone who enters the competition immediately becomes a follower, allowing you to grow your following fast. Encouraging new followers to share the contest on their pages can substantially increase the amount of views in a short period of time.
Daily tweets can help maintain the engagement of followers and help bring in new ones but the duration of a contest on Twitter should be like tweets themselves: short. One month maximum to avoid people losing interest on this platform which is known for instant gratification.

Instagram hashtags

Instagram is a fast-growing social media platform with 700 million monthly active users, you’re sure to win some new followers by running an Instagram hashtag contest. Participants will post a photo on Instagram and tag it with your chosen hashtag in order to enter.
The best part about Instagram is that it’s linked to another social media behemoth: Facebook. So the images will show up in both places. You can choose a winner either by the number of shares or votes they get, or the winner can be chosen by the company.
In the case of Mindzai Creative, a print designer, they asked participants to enter their best print design. Then they gave away two prizes: one based on Instagram votes and one based on Mindzai staff preferences.

Facebook photos

Facebook is also a highly visual social media platform and a photo contest is a great way to get participants excited about taking part. Not only will they be engaged, but you’ll collect a treasure trove of user-generated content that you can use to promote your brand even after the contest is over.
As always with social media, asking participants to share the contest and their photos with others helps to generate more buzz and more attention for your brand. Provide an incentive by rewarding the participant with the most likes: This can increase sharing exponentially.
Make sure the contest experience is brand-specific, adding even more fuel to the brand-engagement fire.


Video is currently the most powerful marketing platform, with 43 percent of people saying they want more video content from brands. So if you want to make people sit up and pay attention to your business, a YouTube contest is a good choice.
Video really works to engage consumers, with viewers being 10 times more likely to engage with videos by posting, commenting or sharing, than to text-only blogs or social media posts. Starting a video contest takes that engagement and puts it into the hands of the participant.
Since YouTube has 1 billion users and is growing fast, that’s potentially a lot of participants. Also, its main users are the most desirable age demographic for most marketers (18-34 year-olds), so it’s the right place to grow your brand among the young.
Running a contest that asks customers to interact with your brand in a video gives you great user-produced content to work with. Making a video is also more of a commitment than posting a photo or sharing a tweet or hashtag, so the brand engagement rates on video contests are through the roof.
In the case of UGODOG, their brand advocate videos from their competition are still circulating throughout YouTube.

Take advantage of post-contest momentum

You’ve just spent a significant amount of time and effort increasing your customer base and promoting your contest. Now that it’s all over, your next step is critical. Reaching out to your new leads should be done very soon after the contest winner is announced.
A great way to continue the “winning” attitude is to offer a discount to all participants or offer a free trial or an invitation to a VIP event. Include information on upcoming events or newly launched products. Make sure they have links to your website and social media pages so they know how to find out more about your brand.
Take a cue from the brand Native Union, who sent out the results of their YouTube contest with a 15% discount on their cable ranges, information on new and popular products and links to all their social media.

Let’s wrap up

If you want to not only increase sales but grow your brand, you need a clear contest strategy. Contests should be engaging and worth participating, and prizes ideally should be relevant to you brand.
Remember to promote your competition across all platforms and consider the strengths of each to be able to use it to your advantage.
And the final touch: engage those hard-won followers with a CTA in your post-contest message.
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Do you have any experience in running contests? Did they impact your brand? Let us know in comments!

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Alexa Lemzy

Guest Blogger @Mention