Social Media Contests: Five Do’s and Five Don’ts : MarketingProfs Article

By February 26, 2014Social Media

Social media contests are a great way to promote your company and increase your visibility online. Successful contests can create customers for life, and, by engaging your target audience and customer base in an interactive experience, you’re creating a memorable bond between your brand and your target audience.

But not all companies have successful experiences with social media contests. For best results, follow these social media contest do’s and don’ts for effective marketing.

Five Do’s…

1. Choose the right type of contest

Consider what type of contest best suits your interests and your audience. Sweepstakes are easy to enter, but media (photos, video, essay, etc.) contests give you more content for your site and page. Depends on what would be most suitable and appealing to your audience.

Also take into consideration the way that the winners are chosen. Should the voting be  up to the public, via likes, retweets, etc.? Just one  judge or council of judges?

2. Set boundaries

Define your rules very specifically. Be clear about age limits, entry periods, location restrictions, etc. Place that information in accessible and highly visible areas.

3. Provide clear instructions

Tell people how to enter and when, with easy navigation and application process. All information (rules, restrictions, directions, information on the process, time chart for rounds or voting periods, if applicable) should be easy to find.

4. Outline prizes

Describe exactly what you are offering. Be clear about how many prizes you’re offering, what winners at different levels/places receive, how soon the prize will be delivered, and whether it is exchangeable for an equivalent cash value. If your prize will be shipped to the winner, indicate whether the sponsor or the winner will be responsible for the shipping costs and other fees involved.

5. Regularly promote

Promote regularly. Milestones (the end of a round, one week until submissions close, etc.) is a good chance to give visibility. Post some entries as you receive them as an excuse to get people to “Check this out,” and post more updates and information about the prizes to get people hyped up about it. Don’t make your updates spammy, make them sharable.

Five Don’ts…

1. Break laws or rules

Contests and giveaways are subject to local, state, national, and other nations’ laws. Make sure you check out all of the laws and regulations regarding contests in the relevant areas that you are hosting the contest. Also check with the rules that the various social media platforms set.

2. Be lazy with disclaimers

Cover all your bases and have all your disclaimers written out to further illustrate the more minute details of your contest rules and boundaries.

3. Offer irrelevant prizes

One way to make sure that your entrants are also potential customers is to offer a relevant prize. Everybody wants $100 or a trip to the Bahamas, but not all of the people who want $100 would even consider buying your products or services. However, offering something relevant to your business means that the entrants (who want that prize) are also interested in your other offerings, your products and services.

4. Permit cheating

Tools are available to detect fraudulent behavior. Tracking the IP addresses of entrants and votes prevents much of the most basic cheating methods on the Internet. Make it clear that you are monitoring cheating and that it’s not permitted, and then follow up to make sure it isn’t happening.

5. Make entry complicated

Make people want to enter by making entry as easy as possible. Even if the entry requires effort or time (such as a video or an essay), the process of entering work should not be difficult. Don’t collect more information than you need, don’t ask them to click through a million pages, and don’t make it confusing.

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