Social media contests have quickly become an effective way to boost engagement and brand awareness. So much so, in fact, that sites and services have been created around them in an effort to make the experience as smooth as possible. No matter what kind of contest or promotion your brand hosts, though, there are a few basic elements that you need to keep in mind to ensure that it’s rewarding for your fans and your brand.
Make sure that the prize = the effort put in by fans.
Are you asking for too much from your fans? It’s fine to ask them for photos, videos or other creative entries, but you need to make sure that the prize you’re offering is worth the time and effort they will be spending. For example, if you’re requiring entrants to make a short film, you need to assume that most entrants (at least the ones who will impress you the most) will be putting a lot of time, effort and, possibly, money into their entry. If you only offer them, say, a DVD in return, it will probably sour potential participants to your brand and also lower the quality of the entries that do make it through. If you’re expecting a lot, be sure to give a lot.
Vote once a day to bring people back/enter once a day.
Depending on the style of the contest, you might want to encourage more engagement. If you’re asking for fans to vote on user-generated entries, give them the chance to vote once per day for the run of the contest. Or, if you’re running a sweepstakes-type giveaway, then give contestants the opportunity to enter once per day for the run of the contest. Both approaches give participants encouragement to come back day after day, and it gives them a reason to engage with you more often.
Keep your goal in mind.
Above all else, you need to make sure you have a defined goal and that it gels with the kind of contest or offer you decide to run. Are you trying to raise general awareness of your brand? A sweepstakes might be a good option. Are you trying to build a list of great leads to act on later on? A more involved contest might be the right choice. Are you trying to bring more people to your site and store in the hopes that they’ll return later? Then you might want to set up a Facebook Offer. Regardless of the goal you have in mind, make sure that you’ll be achieving it with the type of contest/offer you choose.
Ready to launch your own social media contest? Check out these must-have social contest tools to make the promotion headache free. Or, if you need more inspiration, check out these great contests from the folks at ThinkGeek, Shout Factory and RiffTrax.