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  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    Running contests on social media o ers one of the best strategies for getting audiences engaged, earning shares, and generating impressions. Following a careful procedure can increase your contest’s chances of success.

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    On the other hand, not having a plan and a strategy can mean that even the most popular contests accomplish little in the way of marketing goals, while taking resources from other campaigns. Or, worse, the contest can turn into a giant mess that leaves a sore spot on your brand image.

    So, to make sure your contest has the best odds of helping boost your social media marketing performance, use the following 11 steps below. They’ll help you strategize for your contest, plan it out, create a schedule, and follow through on everything in a way that leaves both your participants and your fellow co-workers satisfied with the results.

    1. Decide on a Social Media Marketing Goal

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    Many contests start by thinking of a great promotion, prize or theme. The goals get defined later.

    While this approach feels natural because thinking about prizes or contest themes is exciting, there’s danger in not having a focus from the beginning. Your goals can easily get diluted or intermingled in a way that makes them ineffective.

    For instance, let’s say you are a scuba diving certi cation company. You want people to enter into a contest to win some free gear. If your ultimate goal is to get people to sign up for lessons, then the format of your contest needs to be positioned toward people who have never scuba dived before.

    The problem is that only people with scuba experience may share your contest since they are the only people who know how valuable the gear you’re o ering is. To x the problem, the contest needs to highlight from the beginning how winning your gear set makes it easier than ever to start scuba diving. Without this perspective, you may instead end up pitching the value of a feature-packed diving watch, which will read as “all Greek” to people who aren’t familiar.

    So, start from a de ned goal and let the structure of the contest expand organically from there.

    Common goals include:

    Increasing overall purchases. Increasing brand awareness. Increasing conversion actions like demo signups/free lesson signups/webinar registrations/content downloads. Capturing emails. Increasing site traffic. Earning more page likes/followers.

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    Make sure that no matter what, your contest reinforces your goals. If, for example, you want to earn more tra c, make visiting a landing page on your site mandatory for entry. The landing page should also have a call to action suggesting people browse your content or your products. Similarly, if your aim is to increase purchases, you can make a purchase a necessary part of entry.

    2. Decide on Your Hosting and Promotional Venues The venue you host your contest on can have huge consequences for how your contest is structured and how it will play out over time. Some platforms – i.e., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – have strict rules regarding how contests are held and how they are conducted.

    Eventually, you will need a legal team to review your contest plan before you put it into action. The venues you use to host and/or promote the campaign will a ect their recommendations for what you can and cannot do.

    Note that “hosting” a contest refers to all of the contest activities taking place on that platform. For instance, if you are going to make the entry requirement sharing a post and the prize drawing comes from those shares, the contest is occurring on that platform.

    On the other hand, if you are going just to be promoting the contest on social media and the actual entry and other activities takes place on your own site, that creates a di erent set of conditions.

    Realize that the more channels you have your contest hosted on, the more complex your campaign will become. You can reduce complexity by directing everyone to one point of entry, such as prompting “Enter on Facebook” or “Visit Our Website to Enter!” This strategy makes promoting your contest across multiple channels easier without having to add data-gathering and community management headaches.

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    3. Decide How People Will Enter Your Social Media Contest A few entry requirement options you can consider are to:

    Submit email and other contact information. Require a connecting action, such as “liking” or “following” your page. Require an engagement action, such as “liking,” commenting, or sharing a particular post. Ask people to cast their vote using polling tools on Facebook or Twitter or on your own website. Create and submit user generated content for judgement, meaning the selected best entry gets the prize.

    Direct submissions of emails typically take the least amount of e ort to track, especially if you use a custom form. Requiring people to comment, like or share a post can be similarly easy, although this engagement may not connect meaningfully with the desired goal or conversion action.

    Voting can be another easy entry mechanism, but you may want to steer people to a custom form since many social platforms register votes anonymously.

    Creating user-generated content is an awesome idea since it leads to the creation of marketing assets you can later use while bringing higher levels of engagement to your campaign. However, you will need to review the legal requirements of such a campaign and disclose details like ownership rights and liability to anyone who submits.

    Software tools are available to help you track data such as new page “likes,” so you can di erentiate new entrants from people who already like your page. These tools include Strutta, Shortstack, Wishpond, and Rafflecopter. Of these, Rafflecopter has the best pricing and is singularly dedicated to contests.

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    https://www.strutta.com/ https://www.shortstack.com/ https://www.wishpond.com/social-promotions/ https://www.rafflecopter.com/

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    4. Create a Contest Theme and a Name

    Your social media contest theme should have its own set of branding devices in play. The more vivid your branding, the more excited entrants will be. Well-branded and themed contests also have a way of attracting more attention.

    Remember that the clarity of the theme and also the clarity of a contest title can make or break participation. Shorter names are usually better, especially since space is limited on social posts for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    5. Settle on a Contest Timeline Decide on a date you will make the nal prize announcement. Then, work backward from this date to plot out when drawing/judging will start and end. Going further, decide when entry is closed, when it is open, when promotion for the contest starts, and any other key dates involved.

    Build in the needed time to handle everything, especially if snags or hurdles emerge. You need to give yourself time to plan and design creative elements, get approval from legal, and accomplish other milestones.

    6. Decide on Prizes or Giveaways

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

  • 11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

    You may have already had a prize or giveaway in mind, but you should wait to nalize this decision until you have all the other above elements in place. Holding o prevents you from getting locked into the prize aspect and losing focus on everything else. If you’ve seen the Office episode where Michael Scott auctions o non-existent Bruce Springsteen tickets, you know what we mean.

    As we suggested above, ensure the prize directly ties into your goals, your desired customer path, and your business as a whole. O ering a generically appealing prize like a free iPhone can earn you thousands of entrants, but most of these entrants will not be viable customer leads.

    Instead, think of prizes that connect to your business, your brand, and your most important values. Also, try to think of a storytelling angle so that your prize winner can become a testimonial of sorts, illustrating what makes your company great.

    7. Draft an Editorial and Social Content Calendar Using the timeline you created, plan out ahead of time exactly what types of social media posts and other promotional collateral will be needed and when it will be published. You can always use placeholder content or deviate from your calendar, but the last thing you want to do is promote your contest off-the-cuff with no real approval or planning.

    To help you decide what kind of content will be needed when, think of your social media contest in six discrete phases:

    1. Pre-launch. 2. Launch. 3. Last chance for entries. 4. Closed for entries. 5. Winner announcements. 6. Post-contest promotion and related campaigns.

    11 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

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