From the desk of Ben Johnson...
more companies gain their footing in social media, marketers look to find new
ways to engage customers and maximize brand visibility. Social media contests
are a great way to engage your existing fans and followers along with gaining
brand visibility with new ones. Many people are fearful of this type of contest
because they are not sure how to make it effective or that there may be legal
song “Fools Rush In” comes to mind when thinking about how companies have
approached social media contests in the past. Some post a contest and quickly
turnaround and send off a prize. We understand the frustration with those ill
planned contests. From our experience, social media contests need to be
carefully planned to accomplish short-term and long-term brand building goals. The
following tips will help to create a strategic contest that can be implemented
in various situations.
Goal-oriented approach: Setting a measurable goal at the beginning of the contest planning stage helps to align your expectations with the outcome. No one wants to give away a $500 prize and wonder if anyone noticed. Ask these types of questions to align your contest expectations appropriately:
- Does the company want more Twitter followers and Facebook fans?
- Am I trying to drive traffic back to our Website or blog?
- Do I want to highlight a new product or service?
- Am I looking to collect data for a survey?
platform determine your contest structure: Not
every contest works on both Twitter and Facebook. Facebook might be the largest
social networking site, but it isn’t always great for trivia contests. Usually
Twitter is. On the other hand, Twitter can’t grab followers’ attention longer
than a few days and it does not suffice for multimedia contests where customers
Keep your eye on the prize: The prize is the main reason people will be participating in your contest so make it worthwhile. We follow these guidelines when advising clients on what is an appropriate prize:
- Facebook prizes are less frequent, so choose something with a high value
- When doing all day Twitter contests, frequency tends to trump one large prize
- If your company offers a service, contact a company who can donate products in return for free advertising
- Have the prize complement your company and the contest theme
- Giving away your company’s newest products and services makes it easier to give out more without going over budget
Creativity is key: Social media contests are supposed to be a fun way to engage your customers and for that reason, the contest theme should reflect that. The following types of contests are a great start to your next contest:
- A photo contest that relates to your company’s product or service
- Twitter trivia with questions referencing the product or service you are giving away
- Refer-a-friend contest on Facebook
Show me the results: When it is all said and done, the reason to implement a social media contest is to gain brand visibility. So what did it do for you? Before the contest begins record your Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Did you gain any during the contest? Check to see how many times your messages were re-tweeted or how many people commented on your Facebook fan page. If you are advertising a new product, did you see a sales increase or did your Website receive more traffic during and post contest? The results might also give you feedback on if your contest needs to be tweaked or that it should be an ongoing contest with a different theme.