Social Media Competitions

Social media competitions or contest are a quick fun way of gaining followers on social media and the good thing about it is you only have to part with very little. New businesses use this method to create awareness of their product by offering free goodies to those with the most likes either on a photo or comment or have the most retweets. The catch is that those who want to participate have to like the page or follow the company.
The other advantage to these competitions is that a company is able to generate interested traffic to the site which means increased brand awareness and/or revenue. To however run a successful social media competition, like any successful event, strategic planning is required. A strategy needs to be in place in order to turn the competition into a long term PR and marketing machine.

Social Media Plan
The basic plan requires:
  • A clear goal- What do you want to achieve?
  • Targets- How much traffic do you want to gain?
  • A calendar- How long should the competition run for?
  • A swipe file- how much product information and ideas will you gather?
You also need to know which social media platforms you will use: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+? You can choose more than one platform.
Clear Goal
To make the competition profitable, it is essential to have a clear goal. During a promotion, choose which of the following you would like the competition to achieve and tailor your message accordingly:
  • Fans (audience traffic)
  • Sales
  • PR/Brand awareness
  • Mailing list
 A clear goal helps track performance and knowing if expected targets are being met.
3rd Party Apps
There are free apps that you can use to host competition provided by social media platforms. Aim not to get banned from the platform of choice by reading the terms of services required for running photo contests, sweepstakes, or vote to win competitions. 
Getting the word out 
Marketing plays a role in pushing the contest forward. You can rely on some of the following to get started:
  • Existing social media platforms
  • Blog and website
  • Mailing list
  • Paid print or web advertising
Before taking this step make sure that your website is informative, up to date and presentable. Ensure that there is information about the company, working contacts and current location, all links are working, your brand is clear and information about how people can purchase your product (or explains how and where to get it) is provided as well.

The competition
During the competition, give participants tips on how to increase their winning chances as well as start conversations with them. Also, teach the audience how to share your content and as a company, post relevant content that can actually be shared. Chat with your fans, don’t just like or retweet!
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Follow-up

The most important people after the competition will not be the winners but the people who did not win. Your company needs to find ways to keep them engaged and let them know of future competitions. During this time you could run special offers and post valuable content for the new fan base. Also, to keep users engaged, offer bonuses or special rewards for the most active users.
Build hype and excitement around the competition and begin building your community. Fans will seek out your company for information, not merely read articles and updates you post. Also, your brand will become a trusted leader for resource and information in your niche. 
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