A gold trophy spilling gold stars over a blue background.

Running a contest on one or several social platforms is a way to increase your followers, your engagement, and your brand awareness. A contest gives your current followers an incentive to engage more with your content and share it with others, and incentivizes others to follow and start engaging. You can also use the contest to drive traffic to your website and generate leads. But where do you start, and how can you make the most of your contest for optimal results?

Determine your desired results.

The first step to formulating and running a successful social media campaign is to determine what your desired results are…

  • Do you want to increase your followers on one or several platforms?
  • Do you want to increase likes, comments, and shares on a specific post or piece of content?
  • Do you want to promote a specific product or service to a wider audience?

Knowing what your goals are will help you outline your contest in a way that is most likely to help you achieve those goals. If your goal is to increase your followers, you might ask your followers on one platform to follow your profiles on other platforms, or tag 3 friends to follow your profile. If your goal is more focused on engagement, encourage your followers to like, comment, and share that post. If your goal is promotion of a specific product, create a fun post or a hashtag and encourage your followers to share that post or their own photo of the product with that hashtag.

Choose your platform(s).

You can run your contest on one specific platform to focus the results to that profile, or you can spread your contest out across some or all social media platforms that you have profiles on. Popular platforms include:

(For more information on growing your brand with social media, check out our blog post!)

If you want to increase your followers or engagement on one specific platform, confine the contest to that one platform and focus the participation/required actions to that platform. If you want to build your following on all platforms, choose the platform with the most engagement or highest following and drive those followers to your other profiles. 

Let’s say you have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You have a lot of followers on Instagram, but your growth on Facebook and Twitter has been less successful. Run the contest on Instagram by making a post that outlines the contest timeframe, reward, and additional details/rules. For an individual to participate in the contest, you could have them like your Facebook page and follow your Twitter, and then leave a comment on that Instagram contest post to state that they have done it. This is a common contest practice to promote your other accounts and increase your follower count on multiple channels.

Important tip: Make sure you pay attention to any rules and regulations that each specific platform has. Each platform has its own set of restrictions to prevent liability issues, so it’s important to ensure that your contest doesn’t violate any rules. These rules are in place to protect both you, your participants, and the platform, and abiding by them will ensure that you can run a contest that delivers a great experience to your followers and the results you desire without complications or consequences.

Outline and run the contest.

Once you’ve determined your desired results, chosen your platform(s), and learned the content rules of each of those platforms, you can outline and run the contest! Your outline should include:

  • Timeframe. When will the contest start and end, and when will a winner be determined?
  • Participation. What action(s) does an individual need to take to participate?
  • Rules. If there are rules determined by the platform or by you that apply to the participant, state them clearly. These rules might include a limited number of submissions, or that the participant is required to live in a certain country or be of a certain age.
  • Prize. The incentive that encourages participation—make it awesome!

Once you’ve outlined the contest so you can plan and run it accordingly, use those details in any posts related to the contest. Your participants will want to know these details ahead of time, and providing them with the details clearly will help avoid any potential liability issues or confusion, protecting you and giving them a great contest experience.

After the contest has been launched, monitor it closely and track your progress and results. If the contest is slow to generate the desired results (or is performing better than expected!) you can consider extending the time frame, increasing the prize, or adding prizes for additional winners. These are great ways to encourage more interest and engagement, and reward more of those who do participate.

Grow your social media audience and get digital marketing results.

If you’re interested in running a social media contest but you aren’t sure what audience to target or what design and brand assets to incorporate, or you’re interested in other digital marketing strategies for your business’ social media accounts, contact us today. Our digital marketing experts will analyze your current audiences and strategize initiatives for you to reach them and turn those audiences into leads and conversions.