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Creating an Authentic Social Media Contest

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

Running a social media contest is a great way for businesses to engage with their audience, increase brand awareness, and even drive sales. However, many people are wary of social media contests, viewing them as fake or scams. In reality, when done correctly, a social media contest can be a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their customers and build brand loyalty. Here are some specific steps to create a successful social media contest on Instagram and Facebook.

logos for different social media platforms that could be used for contests

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Prizes For Social Media Contest

Before you start your social media contest, it's important to define your goals and the prizes you will be offering. There are a variety of ways in which you can approach the contest. Do you want to increase followers? If so, you’ll want to set a particular target number and a timeframe for when you want to achieve that number. What if you want to drive sales? Then you could create a limited promo code for your store and track the uses of the promo code throughout the campaign. What if you’re promoting a new product? In that case, be sure to center the campaign around the product itself, possibly by offering a large quantity or limited collector's item that in itself, serves as a marketing tool for the product. Once you know your goals, you can determine what prizes you will be offering. The prizes themselves should also be relevant to your business and attractive to your target audience. You can learn more about brand strategy here in one of our other blog posts.

Step 2: Set the Rules For The Contest

Setting clear and concise rules for your contest is essential to avoid confusion and ensure fair play. Make sure your rules include details on how to enter, how the winner will be chosen, and the timeline for the contest. Be sure to also include any legal disclaimers or restrictions. As important as it is to set clear rules though, don’t be too overcomplicated and add too many rules. People get disinterested easily if it takes them an unreasonable amount of time to understand something, so keep it concise while also making the rules clear, allowing a perfect combination of simplicity and trust.

Step 3: Promote Your Social MediaContest

To maximize participation in your social media contest, it's important to promote it on both Instagram and Facebook. Use eye-catching graphics, compelling captions, and relevant hashtags to grab the attention of your followers. You can also consider partnering with influencers or other businesses to promote your contest and reach a wider audience. Another way to go about this is by promoting user-generated content. For example, you could run a photo or video contest where participants showcase how they use your product or service creatively. User-generated content not only creates a sense of community but also serves as authentic and relatable marketing material for your brand. Another important aspect of promotion is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). By leveraging people’s FOMO, narrowing the timeframe (within reason), and offering interesting prizes and experiences, more people will see the importance of signing up for your contest.

Step 4: Monitor and Engage On Social Media

As your contest progresses, it's important to monitor and engage with participants. Respond to comments and questions, and share user-generated content to show appreciation for your followers' participation. An enormous part of promotional contests is getting to know your audience, and making it so they feel like they get to know you as a brand. As more and more people engage with your contest, it’s important to track its performance. Likes, shares, comments, and new followers are all valuable metrics and data points that can show you the progress you’re making with the contest, and can allow you to use these analytics to better understand your audience and build brand loyalty.

Step 5: Announce the Winner and Follow Up After Contest

Once your contest has ended, be sure to announce the winner and follow up with any additional steps, such as delivering the prize or providing instructions for redeeming it. You can also consider offering a discount code or other incentive to all participants to keep them engaged and interested in your brand. This is arguably the most important step, as forgetting to publicly announce the winner can cause significant harm to your brand’s reputation, and loss of trust will inevitably mean loss of customers.

K Cradley & Company assisting a client with planning a social media contest

Running a social media contest can be an effective marketing strategy when done correctly. By setting clear goals, defining prizes and rules, promoting the contest, engaging with participants, and following up after the contest, businesses can create a fun and engaging experience for their audience while increasing brand awareness and driving sales. Be sure to visit our website for more information on running a successful brand, and how you can turn your marketing from good to great!

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