Social Media Contests – what you need to know

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Social Media Contests – what you need to know

how to run a social media contest alberta

This social media question came all the way from Grande Prairie (thanks Mariah!)

Businesses & brands participate in contesting for a few reasons:

  1. It’s fun to give stuff away (good PR too…)
  2. Excellent way to engage with your friends & fans.
  3. Fans can help you market via engagement.
  4. Economical way to reach people.

How do you make contests successful?

Have a goal. Know what you want to accomplish with the contest. (e.g.: Are you trying to increase your reach? Get more sign ups? Build lists?)
Understand your fans. Why would anyone be interested in your contest? What value are you offering? What will compel them to take action? (e.g.: If you need to give someone your email to enter a contest, you better make it worth their while!)
Don’t pick a crummy prize. People will just keep scrolling. But also, keep in mind that when you give a great prize make sure it ties back to your business. (e.g.: Many companies will give away iPads but the problem is that people will just enter your contest but have zero interest or loyalty for your company. We know this because people make careers out of entering contests online!)
Choose a contest type that will have traction with your fans. (e.g.: Photography Page running contest asking fans to submit a photo vs. hotel asking people to comment on a photo.) Again – consider what will motivate your fans to enter. Understand the differences between simple contests like Facebook timeline contests vs. sweepstakes (*you’ll need to ensure that you’re operating within the laws that govern your state or province, as well as guidelines from social sites.)
Know your budget. Often people forget to include the value of the giveaway in their total budget. If you’re serious about tracking success, you need to include your prize, creative/visuals & ad spend (before, during & after.)
Track. There’s no formula for contesting other than you need to track what you’re doing in comparison to your goals. (e.g.: if your goal is to get 10 sign ups for a giveaway, make sure you can track and attribute sign ups back to the contest!)

Contest Example:

Win Free Insurance for a Year
Goal: build list of 25+ names
Why: people hate paying for insurance; excellent way to create good PR
Prize: one year of free insurance
Audience: existing fans + targeted audience
Contest Type: Sweepstakes; easy to enter via app
Budget: $2500
Tracking: Google Analytics + Facebook Insights/PowerEditor
This contest was put together for an insurance broker. The key here was aligning the prize with their service. We ran the contest for four weeks and had people enter via an app through Facebook. In addition to being available to existing fans, we used ads targeted specific age groups & locations and tracked through GA and Facebook insights. The result was a list of individuals who would possibly be interested in the services offered by the company.
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data and insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.