Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

In the age of consumer engagement, social media platforms reign supreme. Social media has many wonderful uses. It can update people about the latest news article on your company or share pictures of new products. It is one of the most versatile marketing tools around and can be used to promote just about anything. Social media also allows companies to hold online sweepstakes, raffles, and of course, contests.

Social media contests are promotional tools that engage your customers or followers in order to gain mutually beneficial information. In less wordy terms, contests are fun ways to get your customers excited about your brand and build brand awareness! It’s a proven fact, people love free stuff. Because of this, people are willing to tell you things about themselves to get free stuff! It’s a beautiful thing, especially when trying to do consumer research about your company.

When building a contest there are a few things you need to consider: what is the aim of the contest? Do you want to gain consumer information or generate buzz? Where to you want to hold it? What are the terms and conditions? The list of questions goes on, so that is why you need a way to narrow it down. Here are a few starting points for creating the perfect social media contest:

First, What is Your Ultimate Goal?

Like any promotional endeavor, you have to start by determining what you hope to achieve. A contest is usually used to build excitement around a brand, new product or campaign. It can also be used to gain vital data on your customers and help with consumer segmenting. You have to start by asking yourself what your ultimate goal is for the contest. What information or brand awareness do you hope to attain? What will this contest do for your company? Once you have determined your goals, you are ready to  choose a social media platform.

Now, Focus on a Platform

With so many social media platforms to hold your contest on, you have to begin by choosing a home base. Do you want your contest to be primarily held on Twitter or Facebook? What about Instagram? To determine what platform to start with, you need to review your current promotional efforts. Where does your business have the most followers? What platform has the most activity? What kind of competition you are holding can also determine where you start. If it’s a photo contest, why not start on Instagram? If it’s just a lottery type contest, Twitter could be best. After choosing where to start, next you can formulate a cross-platform contest strategy.

Next, Use Cross-Platform Integration

Choosing a single social media platform is a solid beginning, but to take your contest even farther you need to develop a cross-platform strategy. Having a cross-platform contest will increase your contest awareness and number of potential participants. This is where you have to get creative and build a plan that allows your contest to be promoted across multiple social media channels. If you start a photo contest on Instagram, post submissions to your Facebook page and links to the submissions on your tweets. This is just one option and each contest will have a different strategy, however in order to have a successful social media contest cross-channel integration is key.

Finally, Here are Helpful Resources

Developing a viable social media contest takes planning, creativity and research! Here are some very helpful articles and resources to help you create the perfect social media contest:

13 Ingredients in the Perfect Social Media Contest10 Branded Social Media Contest, and Social Media Examiner  has multiple articles to peruse.

We hope that these resources help you develop an awesome social media contest and share your results with us!


About Jamie Teasdale

Jamie Teasdale founded Propel Businessworks, a small business development company, in 2009. Since then, she has been lending insight and creativity to businesses all over the U.S., giving them the tools they need to plan, promote, and prosper.

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