Online contests are an integral part of how most businesses uses their social media accounts. On places like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can't scroll for 5 minutes without seeing a business you follow posting a "like and share!" or "Retweet this post!" contest.
One thing you'll notice about these posts is that, above all others, these are the posts that get shared the most. Not that story about your new shower head you're trying to sell, or pics of the last tradeshow you attended. Nope, in our consumer culture it's really all about winning, and getting free stuff with minimal effort.
That's not a cut at social media contests; I love them! And as a manager of FGmarket's social media accounts, I also know that they get fantastic results when done correctly.
So what do you need to do in order to have a great online contest? Follow these tips.
I’m not writing the next great emo track here. What I mean is, why do you want to do a contest? You probably don't usually just give something away for free without some benefit to yourself. Figure out if you're running a contest to create more brand advocates, get more Facebook likes, more Twitter followers, advertise your business to unreached potential customers, etc.
There are so many different social media platforms out there now, it's hard to pick just one. So...don't! You're not going to reach all your customers on just one platform, so hit them all! Facebook and Twitter are good places to start, but you can also use Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat!
There are a lot of people who stay on social media every second that they can. And there are others who are only on a few times a week. In order to make sure everyone sees the contest, you'll need to promote it through other mediums besides social media. Use emails, handouts, or even the old, reliable snail mail to promote your contest and get people to go online!
Both Facebook and Twitter make it easy to "pin" or "sticky" your post to your page. This just means this post will always be featured at the top of your profile page, and won't get lost in the rest of your posts. That way, when someone visits your page, you can be sure that the contest will be the first thing they see!
Sure, you can take all the people that liked, shared, commented, retweeted and reposted your contest on pieces of paper and drew a name from the hat, but that's really just too much work. That's why we have technology! To make things easier on ourselves. There are lots of great online tools to help you select a winner randomly, such as Random Picker and Woobox. Find the one that works best for you!
Be sure to look at the results of your contest after it's over to measure its effectiveness. You can check things like how many people saw it vs. how many people actually shared it or interacted with it. Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics make this really easy to do. Pinterest also has a way to measure interactions. By measuring the results, you can find out what worked this time and what didn't, giving you a better understanding of what you should try with your next contest.
Social media and online contests are a great way to interact with your customers, because who doesn't love getting free swag from your favorite company?