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Creating a Social Media Contest Strategy to Boost Engagement

Creating a Social Media Contest Strategy to Boost Engagement

Statistics say that 98% of people have at least one social media account. To get noticed by them and increase sales, you need to be on social, too. 

However, social media marketing is not all about creating a few social media profiles and sharing promotional posts

You need to use these channels to put yourself in front of the right audiences and keep them engaged. 

This is exactly where social media contests step in. They can boost your brand’s online presence in multiple ways, from boosting your email list rapidly to maximizing brand awareness and encouraging brand loyalty.

Here are a few key steps to take when creating a social media contest.

Get to Know your Target Audiences

Today, uniform marketing tactics don’t work. Modern customers expect you to provide them with highly relevant and personalized experiences. According to some recent studies, most of them are eager to share their personal information and even pay more to get customized deals.

Therefore, instead of casting your net wide, you need to determine your target audiences and adapt your social media contest according to their needs. Every aspect of your contest strategy, from the choice of the rewards to selecting the right promotion channels, depends on your customers’ preferences.

For starters, you should create a buyer persona. This is a semi-fictional representation of a certain customer group that should guide you when developing your contest strategy. When building a buyer persona, you need to consider any piece of information that is relevant to their preferences, including their:

  • Demographics – their gender, age, annual income, location
  • Background – their education, employment status, job title marital/relationship status
  • Hobbies and interests 
  • Goals – what they want to achieve using your product/services.
  • Their biggest challenges and problems your product/service may solve.
  • Their major fears you could address.

Choose Relevant Incentives

The incentives you choose depend on numerous factors, such as the type of the contest, your target audience’s preferences, your budget, etc. However, you want to pick something that will encourage your target audiences to connect and engage with your band. Most importantly, the prize needs to reflect your brand personality and increase people’s awareness of your brand. 

If your budget is limited, then start with some simpler prize ideas, such as discount coupons, gift cards, or free tickets to relevant events. Giving away personalised mugs, backpacks, or power banks may also be attractive to your audiences. These are some smaller prizes that should lead up to the grand prize. This could be anything, from a free premium product, free product upgrades to consulting sessions and an exotic vacation – whatever works for your audiences.  

Finally, if you’re not sure what kind of rewards work for your customers, why not ask them directly? Create a brief survey or a social media poll and use their answers as inspiration. This is an amazing way to engage your audiences and show that you care about their preferences.

Pick the Right Form of Contest

It is immensely important to choose the right type of contest for your audiences. Here are a few options that may serve as your starting point:

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  • Video contests – video is more engaging than text-based content. By encouraging contest participants to create videos featuring your products and sharing them, you will grow your brand reach and virality.
  • Photo contests – similarly to video contests, this is an amazing opportunity for you to generate lots of qualified leads and, above all, collect mountains of user-generated content. Photos created by your customers will make your brand more trustworthy and attract new customers.
  • Sweepstakes – users enter their names, location, and email addresses to enter the contest and the winner is chosen randomly.
  • Voting contests – they are particularly engaging because people love to compete. For example, you offer multiple product options and ask customers to vote for their favorite one. When voting is over, you randomly choose one of the entrants to win the prize.
  • Comment-based contest campaigns – you engage your customers by asking them a question and encouraging them to provide an answer. 
  • Choose contests according to a particular theme. For example, these could be holiday-related contests, pet-related contests, etc.

Promote your Contest Widely

Just launching a social media contest is not enough. You also need to promote it widely to get it noticed by wider audiences. This usually includes combining free and paid online marketing efforts and the use of a multitude of platforms:

  • Cross-promote your social media contest organically across all social media accounts.
  • Use promoted posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Leverage Reddit and Quora to promote your social media contest
  • Create a newsletter with a catchy subject line and send it to your subscribers to encourage them to participate.
  • Harness the power of content marketing. Write a blog post or a PR article, make a video, or even create an infographic to spread the word about the giveaway and inform users how to participate.
  • Partner with a blogger or an influencer in the same niche to cross-promote social media contests.
  • Use a relevant hashtag to promote your contest. Combine your branded hashtags with hashtags like #contest or #giveaway.
  • Post on sweepstakes posting websites.

Combine these promotion channels to get better results. Above all, don’t forget to include a link to the contest.

Stay Open when Choosing a Winner

To modern customers, transparency means a lot in communication with brands. When it comes to your social media contest, this means staying open when setting the rules for the contest and choosing the participant. If this is a video or photo contest, where entrants’ creativity is incentivized, in this case, explain the rules and emphasize that the content needs to be relevant and original. Additionally, explain how the winner is chosen, the factors that impact the selection of the winner, when their name will be announced, as well as how they will be notified. 

Over to You

Creating a social media contest may boot your online presence in multiple ways. Apart from engaging your target audience, this is also an opportunity to generate more qualified leads, increase brand awareness, boost sales, and collect tons of user-generated content. Most importantly, you will build trust with your customers and encourage their loyalty to your brand. 

You just need to build your contest strategy wisely. For starters, do your research and determine who your target audience is. Next, choose the right prizes, promotion channels, and contest forms to their needs. Above all, don’t forget to ask for customer feedback and be transparent when explaining the rules and choosing a winner.

Is there anything you’d like to add? Please let us know in the comments!

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