We love it when a brand aligns their mission and goals with a great contest. Running a contest is not as easy as just giving something away, but instead requires a bit more thought on the pre, during, and post efforts once the contest period is over. People love to to win things, and the chance to win something from a brand they follow and love means even more to them. Before sharing the Top 5 things you need for a social media contest, we’re assuming a few things first:
- You are active on the social media channel that you plan to run the contest on.
- You have a sizable audience to engage with for this contest (no hard number for this one, but have a small number of community members may make it tough to get initial support).
- You have an ad budget to push the contest out to those who may be interested but do not already like your page (depending on how long you plan to run your contest, amounts will vary, but Facebook has a minimum of $5/day when using Facebook Power Editor).
With that said, here are some key points that you’ll need to keep in mind when running a social media contest.
Often Overlooked Social Media Contest Tips
1. The prize should align with the submission effort requested – Have you ever seen a contest where the brand is asking for a long series of steps to enter, but the prize is very small? It happens a lot, and for many, it may not be worth entering the contest. It’s important to really think about what you’re asking your community to do prior to asking them to enter. Videos are great, but is your audience capable of recording video, editing video, uploading video? If you’re targeting younger audiences, they might be able to do that, but is the prize you’re giving away worth the effort? The philosophy to get the most number of participants should be to have the least amount of barriers to enter. This makes it fun for all.
2. Think of where you are hosting the contest – In some cases you can host the contest straight from any of the social platforms, but depending on how you’re selecting a winner, it may be more work than you’d like to invest. On the other hand, there are a large number of third party tools that plug into various social media channels that simplify the process and save you time as you select your winner.
3. Did you put together Rules and Regulations? – This is a vital legal requirement that outlines ways to enter, the contest period, the prize, media use, and so much more. Planning is required to account for your legal department or representation to review the document, make any necessary changes, and to have posted on your website. The rules and regulations should be accessible to anyone entering the contest should they want to read it. It covers you and your participants.
4. Don’t let your contest run too long – Contest promotion can go through a period of fatigue, and the idea is to create a sense of urgency to enter so that a winner can be announced. Month long contests would likely be the longest we would recommend running a contest, but the prize should be of significant value. In many cases, a two week period seems to be the sweet spot for contest entries. It’s even possible to run a month long contest in two two week chunks and give away two prizes, it all depends on how you want to plan your contest.
5. Have a plan for submitted content – This all goes back to the strategy and long term planning of the contest. If you only asked for name and email, make sure you inform them they are also being added to a mailing list and include them in your future marketing. If they submit photos, testimonials, videos, or any other form of media, be sure you have a way to create some longevity from this user generated content. Think along the lines of graphics, blog posts, and other types of media. If you’re wondering what else submission data is good for, take a look at this amazing article from Social Media Today that discusses The Types of Data Brands are Collecting with Social Media Contests.
These are five things that are often overlooked when planning a contest. We recommend that you take your time to plan the next contest, it will make it more fun for everyone involved. When a winner is selected, remember to highlight them if you can, feature them in a Q&A, photo, etc.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for great tips, news, and ideas that you can use in your marketing efforts. If you need help planning a contest our team can sit with you and help plan, launch, manage, and close out your next promotion.
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