4 tips for effective contests on social media


Running contests and sweeptakes on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the other social networks is a common Social Media Marketing practice. There are many reasons why almost every brand has embraced this practice and invested in Facebook contest applications and other types of Social Media contests. A few of them are the following:

  • Firstly, a contest – or a sweeptake – is an excellent opportunity for a brand to get out there and talk to people. It is a way to raise awareness, while inviting people to take part in the contest.
  • Contests are also a great opportunity to get people talking and spreading the word about a brand on Social Media. Knowing that “81% of U.S. consumers are influenced by friend’s social media posts” (WOMMAPEDIA), the importance of Word of Mouth is obvious.
  • It is a way to reward the community (brand followers, likers etc.) for supporting the brand, and strengthen customer loyalty.
  • Another reason is product testing by giving it to a group of lucky customers to try it and share valuable feedback.

Organising a contest on Social Media is not as easy as it may sound. Like all promotional activities, they need to be well-thought and designed in order to deliver the desired results. Although every brand has its own different goals and each contest has a different concept, there are four basic principles that, in my opinion, need to be considered when designing any type of Social Media contest:

1. Offer a memorable experience

Every contest – or sweepstake – needs to have a concept and offer a memorable (fun and/ or useful) experience to the participants. It is an opportunity to create orĀ strengthen the relationships with your customers and should not be wasted.

2. Choose a relevant Prize

Contests that give away iPads attract a huge number of participants, but how many of them really care about the brand organising them? (Of course, this example does not apply if your brand is Apple!). Your products – or something relevant to your brand – is a much more effective prize.

3. Keep it simple

People don’t have time to waste. They won’t spend five minutes trying to figure out how to take part in a contest, unless if the prize is a spaceship! So, keep it simple and pleasant. Besides, if you ask people to spam their friends by re-posting/ sharing messages on their accounts, many of them will be turned off.

So, say no to contests such as “Like this post, then share it publicly, then like these ten Facebook pages, and finally leave a comment to enter the contest!”

4. Don’t patronise people

People have become suspicious about brands’ promotions, contests, offers and discounts. It is important that they don’t feel deceived or patronised because this could cause a crisis instead of a positive effect.

These are the four rules I follow every time I come up with a concept for a Social Media Contest. Which are yours?