A beginner’s guide to running a successful social media competition

Hosting your own competition is a great way to gain more followers and generate interest in your social media accounts. It also increases the interaction between you and your customer base as well as rewarding them for being a loyal customer. However, you need to be sure that your competition is executed properly otherwise you may end up in hot water and embarrass you or your company in front of a large audience. Here are some valuable points to consider when it’s your turn to run a social media competition.

Have a goal in mind

Once you’ve decided what prize you’d like to give away to your fans, you should also consider what you are hoping to achieve by giving something away. Return on investment is very important for businesses using social media and if you are spending a lot of money on your competition, you should at least have some basic goals in mind. This means you can keep track of how successful the contest has been and take note of what to improve on for next time. Remember to keep your aims appropriate for the size of your business and the type of prize you are giving away. Don’t expect 100 new followers when you are giving away a book voucher, but aim for larger numbers if the winner can expect a brand new car. It also doesn’t hurt to do some research on similar competitions before you start so you can learn from other failures or successes too.

Be aware of the rules

Just like when you are running a social media campaign, there are often strict rules involved depending on which platform you are using. It’s best to read the regulations of each so that you don’t get caught out and face punishment from your chosen social channel. Facebook is known for having particularly strict rules for contest entry. For example – did you know that you aren’t allowed to post the winner of your competition or run your contest directly on Facebook? You are also not allowed to give away prizes in exchange for likes. Instead companies get around these restrictions by posting the winner on their websites and using third party applications. Of course, you don’t have to just pick one social media platform either. If you have the time and resources, you can allow people to enter on their Twitter, Pinterest or any other forms of social media. It’s all up to you. More info – Check out this list of successful Facebook contests for inspiration and read the Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter guidelines to learn about their rules.

Get the word out

This is one of the most important parts of the competition. If you’re a small to middle sized company you probably don’t already have thousands of engaged fans so you need to make the effort to get people involved. Use your marketing skills and contact people on your existing social media platforms, emails and your blog or website. If you really want this competition to gain interest and you’re giving away something particularly great, you might also pay for radio, print or even television advertising. Your competition should have a reasonably low barrier to entry unless the people involved are doing something especially fun and creative. So ditch the multiple page registration forms and make entry to your competition as painless as possible. This will ensure people don’t get put off because entering your competition is too much of a hassle. Remember to make sure your website is up to date, all the links work and it is ready for the increase in traffic you are expecting.  For new customers, your website will be the first impression they receive so you need to make sure it’s a good one.

Keep the conversation going

So now you’ve got everyone’s attention with your creative competition, well what do you do next? Capitalize of course! Keep the buzz about your company going and think of what else you’re going to do to maintain interest and gain new customers.

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