The 6 Simple Steps to Hosting a Successful Social Media Contest


July 7, 2021

5 minutes to read

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If you’re looking to increase engagement on social media pages, running a contest can be a great way to start the process. Not only can you develop an following, but also build awareness of your brand while rewarding followers for their support of your business.

And the list of benefits is long. Consider these possible goals (aka KPIs, or “KPIs”) that you can achieve by running a social media contest:

• More views of messages. Ask people to like and comment on the contest posts so more people can see them. Add a boost to these posts for even more visibility.

• Brand awareness. As more and more people see your content, they will become more aware of who you are and what you have to offer. Partner with complementary businesses and influencers to be introduced to their followers as well.

• Growth of the mailing list. In addition to requesting entries on Social Contest posts, you can also request an entry through their name and email address. (A proven incentive is to tell subscribers that, while optional, this step earns them additional entry.)

• Buzz around your brand. With an interesting offer, you will generate buzz and increase the chances of gaining new subscribers.

Creating a successful social media contest is pretty straightforward, if you take the following steps, which are designed to be completed in about a week:

1. Decide on goals

In addition to the KPIs described above, you can set goals based on overall business goals. Maybe you are looking for more lead generation or clicks to a website, or you want to reach a million Instagram followers. Whatever these goals are, you can design your social media contest around them.

Make each goal specific and measurable, so that you can properly formulate the language of the competition. For example, if you want to increase the number of subscribers, you can ask people to follow your page and share the post as a condition of entry.

2. Create a budget

While a contest doesn’t have to be expensive, you will still need to consider certain expenses associated with your contest, such as:

• The human power necessary to create competitive positions. Whether you use an internal resource or outsource the work, there is a cost to creating and running any contest (someone will need to organize the images and write the captions, for example).

• The cost of donating a product or service. Giving something costs money, although you can make up for it by generating new business.

• Publicity. You might want to pay to promote your contest on social media. It can be as simple as boosting contest posts for a few dollars a day, helping to reach a target audience you define.

• Costs of influencers. Are you going to pay your influencers or negotiate with them? Many, especially smaller names, will promote a contest in exchange for free goods or services. It is the same if you work with complementary companies; most of them will be happy to promote a contest with the understanding that you are also promoting their brand.

Related: What Bernie Sanders & Charli D’Amelio Can Teach You About Influencer Marketing

3. Clarify the rules of the contest

Each platform has its own rules for contests and giveaways. For example, Facebook’s rules specify that promotions such as contests can only be administered from pages, groups, events, or within apps on Facebook, not on personal calendars. Follow each platform’s rules when writing entry rules to make sure you stay in compliance, and be sure to inform subscribers of all terms and conditions.

4. Run it!

Generate buzz in the days leading up to the contest. Let your followers know you’ll announce it on a certain date, then create a series of posts beforehand. You can reveal a different contest clue each day or shoot quick promo videos to build excitement. On launch day, use each platform’s built-in tools to spread the word. In addition to posting to your timeline, you can go live and use stories (and Instagram reels) to share contest posts. Also cross-promote in your email marketing and on your website.

Remember to include the rules in each message as well as a reminder of the registration deadline.

Related: 5 Tips for Creating a Strong Influencer Program

5. Announce the winner

Pick a winner at random. (How Picker and Social Comment & Like Winner Pickers from Woobox are some good tools available to simplify the process). Make the announcement and contact that person to let them know they’ve won, then arrange to hand out their prize. Make sure to thank all of the participants for participating in the fun and tell them to come back for future contests. Then start planning your next one, so you can keep the momentum going!

6. Analyze the results

Browse the analytics to see how you’re doing with your KPIs. Did you get the subscribers you wanted or the clicks you needed on your website? Use these numbers to determine if anything needs to be changed next time. This is also the time to nurture newly acquired prospects or subscribers. Give them a reason to stick around so they don’t unsubscribe!

Once you’ve run your first social media contest, you can repeat the process over and over again to keep driving results. Your goals can shift from one to the other, but the process outlined above should be kept consistent.

Related: 4 Social Media Tweaks to Make a Big Impact on Your Marketing



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