Where to start with social media contests

Many of our clients have tried increasing their social media reach and engagement by offering a variety of different contests. Unfortunately, for most of them, they haven’t necessarily gone to plan.

Having spoken to them we’ve found that the most common issue is actually consistency and lack of time. In the vast majority of cases someone has decided, on the spur of the moment, to produce a contest. It’s not been properly thought through or designed, and it’s been thrown out to the masses in the hope that something sticks.

They then spend a few days publicising it every five minutes, and then go quiet.  There’s absolutely no consistency at all – and for the largest part, they’re trying to publicise a page that’s not had much interaction in the first place. So there’s not a lot of people seeing the new content.

Social media contests can be a great way to get attention for existing and potential customers, but you need to do some homework beforehand if you want them to be a success.

Here are some things you really need to consider:

Appeal to your target audience

When you start thinking about a contest you need to decide who it is you really want to target.  Is it going to be men, women or both?  Adults or children? Business owners, employed people or retirees? Will they have a specific hobby, interest or work in a particular industry?

It’s all very well saying you can sell to everyone, but you can’t.  Not on social media.  Pick a segment of your market, and focus on them.  It’s well and good if other people want to get involved, but try to stay focussed in your own thinking.

Tie in with a topical event

A social media contest can be a stand alone event, definitely, but it’s often a good idea to try and tie it in with something relevant. For example, if you sell chocolate, link it in with Valentine’s Day.  If you’re targeting women, what about linking it to a celebration of International Women’s Day?

These things can just help you get more attention and garb people’s interest because they’re already thinking of the same topics you are.

Can you offer relevant items as the competition prize?  A romantic meal for two, tickets to a concert, hospitality tickets to the first game of the season? Remember though, only people interested in winning those prizes will enter.

Choose valuable prizes

Talking of prizes, it’s important you choose something that is of value to your target audience.

Many businesses offer more than one product or service, and it’s important they don’t be too selective in terms of what they are offering as a prize.  As a retailer, you can’t offer a purse, unless you only want women to enter the competition.

Think about what your entrants would want to win and find useful, and select from that.


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