Suresh Babu Google+

How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest

Posted in Resources/Guides

User engagement is one of the important factors for social media marketing. You can build a huge community on your social network, but it is important to engage them to help generate leads for your enterprise. A social media contest on your social network would be an amazing way to engage your users.

So if you’re thinking of running a contest or sweepstakes, here are some key considerations.

Start With the End in Mind

Brainstorm on the following questions before you go ahead with a social media contest.

  • What are your marketing objectives? Get a clear and realistic objective to your contest campaign. Are you looking to generate leads or Likes, engage or activate your existing user base or reach a new audience?
  • What is your budget? Yes, social media promotions can be executed at a relatively low cost. But budget considerations should guide your decision on the type of promotion you choose to run and will impact your ability to achieve certain outcomes.
  • Where are you on the consumer engagement pyramid? Assess what type of promotion is right for you based on the level of engagement you expect from your users.

Consumer Engagement Model for Promotions

A great tried and trusted model to start your promotion is the enter-to-win format. Running such a sweepstakes contest can be a quick way to increase number of likes on your Facebook page. This expands your audience and creates an elevator for future promotions.

As mentioned in the various levels of engagement, the higher you reach a pyramid  you will find less number of participants but higher level of engagement.

According to  Forrester’s Social Technographics report, your target audience can be distinguished based on the following levels of engagements for promotion : Spectators, Joiners and Creators

  • Spectators may see a shared link from a friend and click through to your site but their interaction will likely stop there. For these people, you want to ensure you have a well-designed user interface and clear messaging, whether they ultimately choose to engage at the next level or simply leave with your brand top of mind.
  • Joiners are likely to participate in a low-barrier format such as a sweepstakes and may engage further up the pyramid through voting, commenting and sharing.
  • Creators are the people who are the target for any user-generated content contest. The percentage of online users who are content creators is significantly higher now than it was just a few years ago. Still, you must make it as easy as possible for people to participate.
Decide on the type of campaign based on how your audience interacts with you.

Whats In It For Me ?

The above  is the question every individual asks when doing an activity. Your target audience needs to be clearly communicated about the privileges or advantages of participating in the contest. Besides it needs to be brainstormed about how to make this contest attractive. So that your target audience can actually participate and spread the word.


Plan, Prepare and Prepare for the Unplanned

Though you might reap the benefits of a successful social media promotion or viral message, there should always have in place a proper marketing plan.

Make maximum utilization of resources available,  be that social media, paid media or promotional partners. Don’t overlook any opportunities to get the word out.Participation at the outset will generate the ROI that comes from social sharing. And remember that your existing customers are most likely to engage. By targeting them first, you can build momentum that will spread through their social networks.

Lets all hope that the promotion “goes viral,” it’s not something you can bank on. Nevertheless, it’s important to plan for the scenario in which it does. If you’re running a photo contest and plan to moderate all of the submissions, are you prepared to handle the potential volume? If you’re running a contest on Facebook, are you prepared to manage the community dialogue?


The Johnson & Johnson viral contest required “round-the-clock” support

Execution Over Concept

Too much glitter might ruin the art. It is important to keep things simple to focus on the objectives of the promotion.When running a social media promotion, the first rule is ensure that it’s easy to enter and easy to share. It should be creative , yet simple,fun and cool for your audience to share. Avoid complicating the activity when audience comes to visit your promotion.

Listen, Engage and Learn

Running promotions must be part of your overall social media strategy and not approached as a one-off event. Because promotions today are inherently social, take advantage of that to engage and gather target audience insights. Adding a survey question to the entry form, encouraging conversations help you  gather feedback and apply learning’s to future campaigns.

What are your experiences with online contests and social media promotions? If you have questions that you would like to see addressed in a future blog post, feel free to ask them here.