Running a competition on social media is a popular marketing strategy, but gauging the level of success depends very much on what it is that you’re trying to achieve. The usual format is to offer a prize in exchange for some sort of engagement.
Why run a contest on Facebook or other platforms?
As a way of building brand awareness social contests can be a free (or cheap) way to gain ground. The downside is that you need some followers in the first place to start sharing the content, or to pay for it to be promoted across the platform.
What are you hoping to gain from a competition?
At the absolute root of every business is the need to make sales and therefore money. Deciding the best way to get there is what marketing strategy is all about. Your existing followers may have likeminded friends who will therefore also be interested in your brand. Offering a contest which your followers will share with those friends is good to expand your reach, and raise awareness of the brand.
Types of social media contest
There are different ways to run a competition on social media. They’re all relatively straightforward, and can help to foster a sense of community around your brand.
A classic sweepstake asks people to engage in some way; like the post, share, or comment on it, for example. The winner is chosen at random at the end of the contest.
Photo or video contests ask entrants to submit media – usually with your brand featured prominently. They can be a great source of material, and help to authenticate your brand with real people, not stock images or models.
Caption competitions work in a similar way. It can be anything from getting followers to describe in x amount of words what the brand means to them, or what products they would buy from the range and why, for example. This type of contest really encourages participants to engage with the content you’ve already got out there, as they’re likely to put more research into their answer rather than blindly clicking a button and moving on.
Social media competition rules
Be clear on what entrants need to do for entry into the contest. State the closing date and when results will be announced, and how, for transparency. Any restrictions on age, location, or legal considerations for your region must also be made clear. For example, if the prize is a bottle of gin, entrants must be aged 18 or over in the UK.
What should I offer as a prize on social media?
The prize is almost always something to do with the brand. A free meal for two at your restaurant; a bottle of whiskey from your distillery; two free hours of website design consultation. Remember that it will be more visible than your usual activity if more people are engaging with it in the hope of winning. Extra visibility means it’s an opportunity to show off what you’re about!
How long to run it
There’s no definite answer for how long you should run a contest on social media. It partly depends on how frequently you plan to offer competitions. A series of highly publicised contests might run every few hours to drive a big wave of traffic. Typically competitions should be long enough that people have a chance to engage, but not so far ongoing that their prolonged appearance in newsfeeds turns people off your brand.
How do social media contests pick their winners?
Choosing your winners and notifying them usually feels pretty good! If entrants submitted media or text, then choose the best reflection of your brand. This is because when you declare the winning entry, it’s another opportunity to demonstrate what you’re about in an authentic way.
Using a random number generator (or Google the words ‘random number’) to choose your winner from the list, or select the person with the most followers. Mercenary, but if they announce their win, it’s handy if they’ve got a big audience!
For more help with your social media, contact us for guidance on how we can help you get the boost you want.