How to Run an Engaging Social Media Contest

Now comes the big question: Are social media contests an effective tool for brand marketing? Do the benefits of brand exposure and audience engagement outweigh the (sometimes substantial) financial expenses?

Social media contests allow you to interact with your audience and grow it. Furthermore, people enjoy seeing brands give back to their loyal customers. Social media contests are a great way to touch people’s hearts.

Here are a few of the brand advantages of holding social media contests:

  • Increased engagement
  • Improved brand awareness
  • More subscribers
  • Additional audience data

Now that you know what you can gain from running social media contests, let’s talk about how you can start one. Regardless of the social media platform you choose for your competition, follow these steps to run a great social media contest:

Set your goals for your social media contest

What do you want to achieve with your social media contest? Because you’re running your contest on social media, you can set any of the following objectives:

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Generate leads or sales
  • Increase community participation.
  • Increase the brand’s audience.
  • Improved web traffic

You can have multiple objectives in one social media contest.

After you’ve decided on your goal or goals, it’s time to decide on your objectives. Your goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound).

The more specific your goals, the better.

Your objectives will determine your key performance indicators (KPIs), or the metrics that will help you determine whether or not you are on track to meet your goals in the first place. In our example, your key performance indicators (KPIs) are shares, likes, comments, the number of official contest participants, and reach.

While one campaign might theoretically achieve all of these goals, make sure to choose the one that is most important to your beach resort. You won’t get the engagement you need if you make your contest overly complicated and difficult to enter.

Determine your budget

When determining your budget, keep the prize, advertising costs, and any paid services in mind. It may be intimidating to spend more money on better gifts. You must decide whether the ROI for increasing your exposure and consumer base is worth the expenditure.

Choose your enticing prize

A bad keychain will not entice many individuals to fill out a form, give a narrative about their first experience with your beach resort, or explain why they adore your product. People are more inclined to participate in your contest if you provide a fantastic reward.

If you want to do this on a regular basis – which is a terrific way to keep your fans enthusiastic and engaged – create a budget for the year.
When you know how much money you have to spend on the giveaway, you can divide it between advertisements to promote the event and money to put behind the prize. Decide if you’ll give away a product, a monetary award, or something else entirely. Just keep in mind that your reward should be something relevant to your target demographic so that you don’t attract contestants who will never become clients.

Examples of what you can offer would be a tour of the local sights in your area or an upgrade to a room in your beach resort.

Determine your platform and contest structure

When you’re experimenting with a new strategy, you should always test it in a variety of ways.  In this case, you should experiment with different platforms to see which one generates the most interest in your social media giveaways. 

While there appear to be an infinite number of options when it comes to social platforms, there is always a number one when it comes to strategy performance. Determine whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another platform will produce the best results, and then focus on that platform to lead your future recurring contests.

You can also skip this step if you already know there’s a social media platform that outperforms all of the rest for your business. You want to stick to what you know works, so don’t waste time testing if you’ve seen proven results thus far.

Set the details for your social media contest

The rules of your contest should be determined by the goal of your campaign. For example, if you want to increase the brand’s audience, you could ask participants to follow your account in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

If you want to increase community engagement while also expanding your brand reach, ask customers to post about their experience with your product. This will help spread the word about your brand to their audience, make your fans feel heard and connected to your brand, and provide you with valuable UGC.

To monitor contest submissions under your brand’s unique hashtag, use a hashtag analytics tool like Pixlee’s, or track mentions of your account. Once the contest is underway, automating this process will save you a significant amount of time.

Follow the rules

Before you write your contest rules, familiarize yourself with the guidelines of your chosen platform and laws of the country.

In terms of legal prohibitions, laws differ from country to country and even state to state. When it comes to running contests, different regions have different rules and regulations. Make sure to go over these before creating your contest.

Each social network has its own set of rules for running contests, so read them carefully to avoid violating network policies. Most contests will require that terms and conditions be clearly stated. If you are unable to include these in the contest post, it is a good idea to include a link to them on the contest webpage.

It’s best to consult with marketing and legal experts when creating contest rules to ensure you don’t break any laws.

Consider including the sections below in your contest rules and regulations:

  • Eligibility
  • Sponsorship 
  • Agreement 
  • Entry period 
  • How to enter, Number of entries, etc 
  • Prizes (include if prize is transferable or not)
  • Selection and notification of the winner
  • Rights granted by the contest participant( eg.  automatically give you a right to publicize their work, provided it has the proper credit.)
  • Terms and conditions 
  • Limitation of liability
  • Disputes 
  • Privacy policy
  • Winners list 
  • Social media platform regulations 
  • Affirmation

Have the rules of your contest posted on your website and social media. Make it a requirement for everyone to read the rules before they can participate in your contest.

Promote and engage

Promote your social media contest on the platform where it will be held. The copy you write must pique people’s interest. Use relevant hashtags to increase the likelihood of people finding you, and create your own to track submissions.

However, don’t limit yourself to promoting on a single platform. Cross-promotion across multiple channels is a tried-and-true strategy. While the main contest post is hosted on one platform (say, Instagram), you can then share snippets with a link to the Instagram post on all of your branded social media pages.

You can even look for groups where you can promote social media contests. Facebook, for example, has public groups dedicated to these topics. If you already have a mailing list, send an email to your subscribers announcing your social media contest. You can send multiple emails in the run-up to the winner’s announcement.

Just be careful not to send so many that you annoy your subscriber. 

When it comes to promoting your social media contest, the sky’s the limit. After all, the more people you reach, the more potential participants you have.

Another way to maintain post engagement is by interacting with entrants. Be sure to put aside time each day to ‘like’ and respond to any comments. 

Measure the results of running social media contests

After you’ve announced the winner of your social media contest, your work isn’t done. You must assess the results of the social media contest to determine what worked, what didn’t, whether the cost was justified, and what to include in your next contest.
Monitor engagement, followers, conversions, and reach, but also use the contest content to promote future marketing campaigns and contests.

If you show social users that your fans were excited to participate in your contest, you’ll get even more people to enter the next time. This can be accomplished by resharing visual submissions on your brand’s Instagram account, website, or email campaigns.

Gather information for your social media contest in order to analyze and evaluate it.

Keep track of feedback, likes, and dislikes to determine whether or not the contest was well-received by the audience. General feedback can also assist in campaign evaluation.

The analysis would be useful in determining what worked and what did not. If the activity produced the desired result.

Reach your marketing goals with Beach Resort Marketing. Send us an email or book an appointment here.