Social media contests done right

Social media

It’s Valentine’s Day, and every business with a Facebook page launches a contests: “win flowers”, “win a romantic dinner” or “win an iPad”! A few tips on how not to embarrass yourself with a social media competition.

Keep it legal

Not everything you want to do is legal. Asking people to join your contest by sharing a picture is against the Facebook TOS – if you (or an agency) plan a contest, make sure it complies with the terms of service, or you risk running into legal problems and have your contest cancelled.

KISS (“Keep it simple, stupid”)

Yes, you probably need to write down the terms of participation of your contest. Actually participating has to be as easy as possible though – no one wants to click a link, signup on a website, fill out a captcha and confirm an e-mail address to participate in a contest. Make sure your participation process is quick and uncomplicated.

Think long-term

In any social media strategy decision, your question should be: what is your goal? Do you want to increase your range of potential customers? Do you want to reach people outside of your current fan-base? Do you want to promote your brand image? The reasons to launch a social media contest should be clear before you make the decision to create one. What is your long-term goal? Customer acquisition? Increase of your reach on social media? More sales? Don’t go in blind and create clear campaign goals, which will determine the subject matter and performance metrics of your content.

Be believable

Winning an iPad is something a lot of people would be happy about, but does it really help to promote your brand? Will you see a long-term benefit in giving away someone else’s product? You should have the confidence in your product or service that it takes to offer your fans a price, that they will connect with your company. Flower shops should give away flowers, bookstores books and massage centers massages. Of course you can be more imaginative, but people are much more likely to remember your brand and interact with your company in the future, if your contest is a believable representation of what you do the rest of the year.

Don’t underestimate community management

You created an amazing contest, put a lot if money into promoting it on different platforms and now hundreds of people are liking, sharing and commenting on your post and page. It must be your goal to keep these new fans engaged, even after the contest. Reply to any questions, participate in the conversation, thank new followers for their interest, ask them what they expect from you in the future. Community management is a constant effort, so only boost a contest if you are ready to take the heat from your community!

Think cross-platform

Facebook contests are the classic example, but there are other options. Think about your target group and where you reach it: a photo competition is more suited for Instagram, a video competition can boost your Youtube channel and a haiku competition might resonate best on Twitter.

If you want to create a contest on social media, don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.

Jerry Weyer

Jerry Weyer co-founded Clement & Weyer Digital Communication Consultants in 2014 and consults European institutions in Luxembourg on social media management. He studied European law at Université Robert Schuman in Strasbourg and at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a founding member of Pirate Party Luxembourg and former Co-Chairman of the Pirate Parties International (PPI).

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