Social Media

The Right Way to Have a Social Media Contest

Posted by Benjamin Taylor on December 18th, 2013 at 8:54 am

We’re right in the middle of the holiday season and it’s the perfect time to give something away to your devoted customers! Everyone loves getting something for free after all. Having a giveaway or raffle on your social media platform is a great way to both draw in new followers as well as reinvigorate your current ones.  However, there is a right and wrong to go about doing this. A successful giveaway will not only make your customers happy, but it can also help boost your ranking in terms of social media optimization and increase traffic and links to your website, which is great for search engine optimization purposes. On the other hand a failed giveaway will have the exact opposite effect. It may even end up with your business getting penalized by Google or, in drastic cases, the Better Business Bureau. Let’s take a look at some steps to take in order to have a killer social media giveaway.

1. Give away something relevant to your product

This has become a problem recently. I’m sure that you’ve seen some raffles where companies will be giving away an item that does not pertain to what they are selling, for example, this could be some kind of prepaid gift card or random electronic devices. Even though these are extremely popular items that will garner your giveaway tons of entries, it’s important to think about what will happen after your contest. Do you think that all the people who entered the contest will continue to use or follow your website? In the end you’re most likely going to be giving away your prize to someone who doesn’t know and doesn’t care about what you do or what product you offer. The easiest way to avoid this is to give away a product or service that you offer already.

2. Make sure the rules are clear

I can’t emphasize this enough. Make the rules of entry to your contest simple and easy to follow. Speaking of following; requiring all entrants to follow you on your Twitter, +1 you on Google+ or like you on Facebook is a great way to gain followers en masse.  These kinds of rules are very clear and also very common when it comes to giveaways, most people will go into the contest expecting to have to do that. Take advantage of it!

Make sure that you are clear about how long the contest will run, the maximum number of entries and what the prize will be. Your entrants shouldn’t have to spend more than a few seconds to figure out all the information that they need.

3. Follow those rules

This should be obvious; at least I hope it is.  Once you publicly announce your rules you absolutely must stick by them. Trying to lie to or cheat the internet is impossible and more often than not will lead to awful repercussions. Make sure that your drawings are actually random. There are many websites that are just a Google search away that will do everything from draw a random number or pick out a name from a list at random. Many of them will do this completely free of charge.

4. Promotion, promotion, promotion

Once the contest has been announced it’s important that you promote it on your various social media platforms. Do this on a daily basis but try to avoid spamming your customers with hourly updates of the same message over and over again.

Feeling like you might run out of ideas? Another great way to keep the hype up for your contest is to have a countdown widget on your website.  They are a really big eye catcher, drawing new people in to entering while keeping those who already have up to date on when the drawing will be held. If you do this, it is also extremely important to remember to remove the clock from your site after the contest has ended.

5. Mail off the prize

The most important part of any giveaway is the actually giving away of the prize. It’s important that you announce the winner of the prize on your social media platforms and then send the prize to them in a timely manner. Also, encourage the winner to submit a photograph of themselves using the prize and share it with your customers!

Following all these steps will ensure that your next social media contest is a hit with your current customers as well as the ones that you gain in the process. Let me know if I left anything out or some of the strategies that worked for you!

One Response to “The Right Way to Have a Social Media Contest”

  1. This is a solid post. Prizes are a great way to help build an initial community and are a good way to reach new network pools. Good post Ben

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