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Get More Mileage Out of Your Social Media Contest Winners with These Tips

by aschmidt

contest_winnersRunning low on social engagement? One of the most useful tools in a marketer’s arsenal for stirring up activity among their target audience is to run a social media contest. While announcing the contest winner is fun and exciting, the benefits don’t stop there. If executed properly, you’ll be able to capitalize on the many opportunities for engagement that can present themselves throughout each phase of the contest. Below are some tips to help you get more mileage out of your social media contest winners, including ways to generate better interaction throughout the entire contest. 

1. Streamline your venue.

Attempting to run a contest across several different social channels, stands a good chance of creating a logistical headache. Instead, select one venue only, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or otherwise, and maximize every aspect of that venue versus spreading yourself, and your followers, too thin.

2. Simplify the entry requirements.

In the spirit of keeping things simple, make sure your entry requirements are easy to follow and understand. People don’t want to feel like they’re applying for a job just to enter a contest, so avoid asking too many questions or requiring too many steps to enter. While there are dozens of variations of entry requirements, here are five of the most popular participation methods:

  • Sweepstakes: Nothing is required of participants besides perhaps getting their name and email address because winners are selected at random
  • Sharing: Entrants are required to share a piece of content in order to enter
  • Liking: Entrants must “like,” “love,” “heart,” etc., a piece of content in order to enter
  • Creating: Participants must create and submit some type of content in order to enter (photos, videos, etc.)

Generally speaking, the more you ask your contest entrants to do, the less people will want to participate. Keep this in mind as you create your contest. If you’re going to ask them to jump through hoops to enter, make sure the prize is worth their effort.

Also, different social media channels have different rules for contests. So before you set anything up, make sure you do the research and find out if you’re within those guidelines.

3. Begin with the end in mind.

Establish the date that you will announce the winner(s), and then work backwards from that date in terms of planning. Create milestones for certain important aspects of the contest, such as the start date for your promotion, the date that the entries will open/close, and other key events in the timeline of the contest.

4. Select a prize that ties into your company or brand.

This is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of planning your social media contest. It’s not ideal to give away a prize that has nothing to do with your brand or core business. For example, if you sell baseball gear, it makes a lot more sense to give away baseball tickets as a prize rather than concert tickets. Try to pick something that all of your followers would like to win.

5. Choose interactive criteria for contest entry.

If your prize is worthy of a little extra effort, try to make entry as interactive as possible. For instance, one way is to solicit your entrants’ testimonials regarding their experience with your products or services. If you’re marketing a weight loss product or gym memberships, you can run a contest asking entrants to share their own weight loss journey, and select the most inspirational story as the winner. These types of actions create a greater sense of engagement versus just entering their email address or clicking a button on the screen, and provide you with some welcome insight into your target audience.

6. Make the winning announcement interactive as well.

Make sure to clearly communicate the date and time that the winner will be announced and encourage your followers to check back on a regular basis. Tag the winner’s name to ensure that they’ll be notified when the time comes. Instead of just making a basic announcement of the prize winner on social media, make it a little more personal and interactive by taking a picture of the winner holding the prize and posting it on the contest page. You can then ask the winner to tag themselves in that particular post as well. If the prize was an experience or event, ask the winner to take a photo of themselves and send it to you so that you can post it on your page. Including small interactive steps like these will go a long way toward making your audience (and especially the prize winner) feel more connected to your brand.

Social media contests are one of the most reliable methods of generating interest and excitement around your brand, but even with this powerful tool at your disposal, you’ll still need to go the extra mile in order to set yourself apart from the competition. If you use the tips listed above as your guide, there’s no doubt you’ll off a successful and highly memorable social media contest.

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