How to hold a social media contest

How to hold a social media contest

Social media marketing has become a fixture in many small business' advertising initiatives. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and similar sites allow entrepreneurs to connect with fans and generate excitement for their brands. Unlike other marketing channels, social networks allow owners to communicate directly with consumers and interact in real time. No other medium offers these features, meaning that small businesses can use creative strategies to engage social media followers. 

One of the most popular marketing plans is holding a contest and offering unique promotional products as prizes. Consumers love participating in fun competitions because they are different than standard advertisements. Many people may prefer to play a small game and win a reward than read marketing messages on Twitter or Facebook. 

Small businesses must create unique contests to ensure that customers want to participate. Additionally, excitement needs to be generated to ensure that people want to play and have chances to win great promotional items. Entrepreneurs should mind the following considerations so their contests will be successful. 

Pick the type of right contest
According to the Social Media Examiner, there are four different types of games: video contests, photo competitions, text submissions and form sweepstakes. All of these increase engagement, but some require more effort from participants than others. The news source points out that videos and photos are harder for consumers to produce than it is for them to write a few paragraphs or fill out a form. As a result, the first two options might not receive as many entries as the other two. That said, video and photo contests are highly engaging so they may be more fun than the others. 

Entrepreneurs must decide what type of contest they want to run before picking out prizes or announcing the rules. In many cases, sweepstakes will be sufficient for meeting specific objectives. For instance, owners can require consumers to input contact information on a Facebook page to generate new leads. If the goal is to generate excitement for a brand, video might be the best choice because it allows fans to have fun and be creative. 

Have multiple prizes
It may not be enough to only offer one grand prize to a single winner because consumers may think they don't have a chance at victory. While small business owners can't offer multiple versions of the same reward, they can distribute smaller gifts to participants to ensure that customers enter the contests. 

Entrepreneurs should find promotional marketing products to use as rewards for everyone who took part in the competition. Small tokens like promotional pens and wall calendars will likely motivate consumers to participate in a contest and take a shot at winning the grand prize. 

Mashable notes that the grand prize can be intangible. For instance, Roll-On Sushi Diner allowed the winner to name a dish on the menu. This is a cost-effective alternative to finding an expensive reward for the victor. 

Market the contest
Small business owners can't just expect consumers to know about their contests. The social media events have to be marketed heavily so people know that a company is offering special prizes to a few lucky winners. Entrepreneurs should capitalize on all of their advertising channels to find participants for the contests. 

Obviously, social networks are the best places to start marketing fun games. Companies should announce their contests via tweets and status updates to generate excitement. Additionally, small businesses can use promotional marketing products to advertise their contests by emblazoning hashtags on each item. Consumers may be intrigued by the slogans and start researching the rules and prizes before entering. Other advertising tools like direct mail can also be effective for building buzz for a social media contest. 

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