A contest is a great way to gain more followers, get your audience involved with your brand and an awesome opportunity to connect with your customers on a personal level. We've done our fair share of social media contests. We've done picture contests, video submissions, and written blurbs, all while learning a little more about what it takes to run them successfully with each attempt. By now, we have a pretty good idea.
Here's what I've learned about hosting social media contests:
Promote - but not too much
When you're hosting a contest, you want to shout the news from the mountain tops to make sure your entire audience is aware. Definitely post clear statuses and tweets about your contest, but don't do it every day. Do it a couple times leading up to the day the contest starts, and a couple times throughout, but there's no need to remind your customers every day that you're throwing a contest. Everyday reminders start to look like spam, and you can almost certainly assume your audience will start unfollowing your posts (decreasing your reach) or unfollow you altogether when you bombard them with news they already know.
The simpler the better
When a lot of creative heads get together to brainstorm for your next big contest, it can be easy to come up with a very complicated, intricate idea. You want to include everyone's input, and you want to cover all your bases, but I've learned from experience that the simpler a contest is the better. If someone doesn't understand the rules to your contest, or doesn't understand what exactly it's about, they just won't participate. The goal is to have everyone who reads about your contest say, "yeah, why not? I can do that." We found that when we just had our customers submit a photo, as opposed to submitting a video, we got a much higher rate of participation. Anyone can snap a photo, it takes a bit more time and energy to make and send in a video.
Celebrate your winner
People love to be featured on company pages. Give your winner their moment in the spotlight. We like to write up blog posts summarizing the contest and why our winner won, as well as a brief bio about the winner and their business. Not only will your winner appreciate the attention, but it's nice to remind your audience for future contests that there is actually a real-life winner who wins a prize.
Main image via Shutterstock