How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest

March 11, 2014
by Kimberly Treacy

    Social Media_Big Red SEOLet’s face it—many of our businesses could use more social media exposure, but often we’re too busy running said businesses to get our feet wet in the social media sphere. Admittedly, creating a space for your business on social media takes a lot of time and effort, but it doesn’t have to be a slog either.

    With a little creativity and a lot of stick-to-itiveness, you can craft an ongoing social media strategy with the potential to draw new customers to your business, and (even better!) turn those customers into reliable advocates for your brand.

    Here at Big Red SEO our team of SEO and content development specialists know that one easy way to gain more exposure on social media is to develop a contest. Giveaways directed toward your ideal audience have the potential to help your business in a number of ways, including building goodwill with your current and potential customers, encouraging brand-customer interaction, and acting as an additional advertising platform, all of which can have a dramatic impact on your SEO efforts.

    Before You Get Started

    Before you rush out to start your first social media contest, you should know that there are more ways to do it wrong than right. Since there’s not much worse than watching your contest flop for lack of participation, we at Big Red SEO want to give you some direction to help you hit the ground running. This article will outline some of the necessary things you’ll want to keep in mind when planning a successful social media contest.

    First, Know Your Audience

    This may seem like “no duh” advice, but you’d be amazed at how often companies will offer prizes in contests based on what they want to give, not on what contest entrants would want. We start with this point, understanding what your ideal audience wants, because if you don’t get this right, the whole machine falls apart before it ever has a chance to get revved up.

    Well then, how can you figure out what your audience wants? The best way to go about it is with some old-fashioned research. Start by combing your followers’ Twitter feeds, Facebook status updates, and other platforms to find out what they’re talking about (if you don’t have any followers yet, make a list of the people you’d want to have follow you and check them out).

    Once you have a good idea of what’s trending in the community you want to reach, you’ll be a step closer to knowing the kinds of prizes that would make people jump to participate in your contest.

    The Finer Points of Prizes

    If you engineer your contest to run on tweets, shares, or likes (i.e., one has to somehow distribute a post in order to enter the contest) and find that nobody’s biting, there’s a likely reason.

    Many first-time contest promoters make the mistake of only offering one prize, the grand prize, and wonder why people aren’t sharing. Think about it from an entrant’s perspective—if part of the contest requirement is to share the fact that the contest exists with others, entrants realize that every share dilutes their chances of winning, and it’s no fun entering a contest you think you don’t have a chance at winning. There are a couple of ways to combat this:

    • Offer more prizes. The more prizes there are, whether they be secondary to the “grand” prize or not, the more likely it is that people will enter.
    • Offer an additional entry for each share, tweet, like, etc. This way, entrants feel like they have a tangible way to increase their odds of winning, and your contest (as well as your company) gets more exposure—everybody wins!

    Start with a “Warm” Network

    The next step in successful contest promotion is understanding how to approach the community network in a way that makes propagation more likely. You don’t want to start out cold, simply announcing the contest randomly and hoping that someone will pick up on it.

    A better way is to look for the community’s influencers, those whom other community members follow, and convince them to enter your contest first. Your contest is more likely to take off if these influencers get behind it—remember, influencers are the faces of authority in their communities, so if you want the community to do something, you’d best get the support of the influencers first.

    Contact Big Red SEO Today at (402) 522-6468!

    Our SEO and content development experts at Big Red SEO hope that these tips give you the knowledge to go out and create contests that give your company the social media exposure it needs to compete. As a full service SEO and web design company in Omaha, Nebraska, Big Red SEO specializes in developing strategies that help our clients increase their exposure on leading search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

    The addition of social media contests to your overall SEO strategy is a great way to give your company a competitive edge, so if you have any questions about implementing this or any other ideas, contact us today at (402) 522-6468!

    Start the Conversation!

    Have a comment or idea to add to this article? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

    Kimberly Treacy

    About

    Kimberly Treacy (Talbot) is an SEO Guru with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude. As the owner of Big Red SEO, she provides companies of all sizes what they need to know to get their business in front of those looking for their services and products. Big Red SEO is one of the few search engine optimization companies that offers ‘industry exclusivity’ meaning we only work with one company within an industry and their market at a time.