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Social Media Contests: Benefits and Tips

If you sSocial Media Contest pend time on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms you may have probably seen contests and tried your luck at one or two. There is something intriguing about entering your name in a drawing, answering a question or liking something if you have the potential to get something out of it! But what benefits do social media contests really bring, especially to brands and businesses? If and when a social media contest is well-executed, it can bring about several great benefits:

  • Increase following When your social media contest has low barriers of entry, people are likely to enter. Someone may not have heard about your business or brand until someone shared the contest they just participated in on their social media page. A contest compels your followers to share details about something they just did with their online community. Have your community do some of your marketing for you by giving them something to promote and talk about.
  • Audience engagement Hosting a trivia contest like the one SocialNicole built for Lifesprk for #NursesWeek can create a fun way for people to engage with your brand in a fun, but relevant manner. The audience got excited about the trivia contest and Lifesprk was able to promote their own workforce development needs aka they are growing and looking to hire more nurses and nurse assistants too.
  • Provide data A social media contest can provide you with a lot of data which is great. But you need a clear sense of the data you want your contest to provide you. While a contest will provide you with the number of people who are engaging with, you can monitor likes, comments, shares and new followers there is other data you may also be able to attain. Depending on what platform you use for your contest, such as email addresses, demographic information, location etc. Planning questions carefully and thinking through what kind of data you want to attain can help maximize your investment in building and running a contest.
  • Raise awareness Whether or not someone is familiar with your business or your brand, a social media contest presents you with the platform to raise awareness. Encourage your followers to share the contest with their following. Offer an incentive, and they are likely to get the word out there. Brand awareness can be incredibly important to building a brand and increasing sales. While many c-suite leaders focus on the immediate sales, contests are often about building brands and bringing people into your circle. Don’t underestimate the importance of building awareness and the power of contests to do this.

Knowing the benefits a social media contest can have for our business or brand is great, but it can still seem like more work than necessary. Here are a few tips to help break it down.

Tips for your social media contest:

  • Consider hiring an expert in setting up social media contests to help guide your process. While hiring an experienced social media agency can add to the total cost of the contest, you will save time and also maximize your results. Make sure you ask any agency for examples of the contests they have created and the approximate cost to create that contest as part of your selection process.
  • Set goals: Determine what you want the outcome of your contest to be. Do you want to just engage with your current audience, increase your number of followers or gather feedback? Having a clear definition of your goals will allow you to determine whether or not your contest has been effective.
  • Pick a platform: Decide what platform you want to utilize for your contest or if you want to enlist the help of a third party app.
  • Pick a prize: Choose a benefit that is reflective of the amount of effort that needs to be put forth in order to enter the contest.
  • Keep it simple: The easier it is for people the enter, the more likely they are to participate.
  • Promote: Use social media ads to promote your contest. Encourage your participants to share the contest. Make it social and interactive.
  • Follow up: When your contest is complete, follow up with those who participated. Thank them and announce the winner.

Hosting a social media contest can seem like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Know your goals and have a plan and the rest will follow. If you have any great tips for hosting a social media contest, or any questions about how to start, let me know in the comments!

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