6 Benefits of Running Social Media Contests

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If you spend quite a number of hours on Facebook, Twitter or any social networking sites, I’m sure you’ve stumbled-upon social media contests before.

I love seeing how businesses are using contest to promote their business, especially brands that I’m already a fan of. I participate in most of them and it turns out that I am not very lucky, but hey, that’s life!

I’ve even organized several contests on my blog before and I must say that picking a winner is definitely one of the hardest tasks after seeing how hard they try.

A social media contest has many benefits when done properly and effectively, they are a great way to give businesses a boost in terms of awareness and really connecting with your audience.

Here are some of the benefits on how you should consider running a contest for your business.

1. Build community

When a contest is run effectively it is a great way to build a strong following. People might not know about a brand or a business until they have heard about it after their family, friends and social cliques share them – and a contest would definitely help them do just that.

Building a community is definitely a strong point to bring up when talking about the benefits of a contest. To think about it, businesses spend so much time building communities in their local neighborhood.

With social media contests the way it is today, contestants are often urged to voice out and tell their friends and family about it. It almost feels like businesses today are not building their own communities, but simply getting accepted by their audience’s respective communities. And that’s important, unintrusive and extremely valuable.

I can tell you that I’ve seen my fair share of them, and when it’s relevant to me, I would participate.

2. Incentivize people to follow

I have been following Sprout Social on Twitter for a while. I’ve used their platform and reviewed their social media management platform last year.

Last December, they ran a Facebook contest which I got to know about from Twitter. I clicked on the link and was directed to their Facebook app only to find out I have not liked their page yet. I immediately liked their page to participate their contest.

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A contest is a great way for new audience to follow your social media accounts. It gives them a strong reason to do so and incentivize their actions in exchange for a chance to win the prize you offer.

3. Build awareness

A contest is a great way to build awareness about a product or a page. This is because savvy contest platforms like Binkd come with a “share” button which people uses to share with their friends. It pushes the contestants to spread the word out.

When Leneys, a women’s apparel company started business on Facebook back in 2011, not many people knew about them. They didn’t have prior knowledge in running an online apparel store and it had less than 500 people on the page.

They decided to run a Facebook contest so that people would know about their page. The contest was promoted using the help of Facebook ads and people started sharing the contest with their friends and a group of people flocked to the page. A lot of them ended up to be buyers up to this day.

Today, Leneys has over 21,000 likes thanks to the initial head start it had earlier.

4. Increase subscribers

As Ian Cleary pointed out in his comment on my previous post, a social media contest is one of the best way to get people to subscribe to your email newsletter. Social media contest platforms like Binkd comes with a lead capture form which fans would need to fill in join.

Here is an example from Abhaya Yoga Dumbo, a yoga and pilates class giving away free yoga classes as part of their prize to their fans.

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This is a great example as the prize is related to their company and subscribers who join the contest would be relevant leads too. Businesses today realize that shouting in a random crowd of people may not be the way to go forward. Sure, you would increase brand awareness like mentioned above, but if your product is not relevant to the audience, then you most likely will not be heard even if you shout. What’s worse, if you shout too much and too loudly – that’s called SPAM.

Today’s social media consumers want what’s relevant to them and you definitely want to capture the people that deem your product relevant to them.

5. Increase sales

The logical and necessary evolution of the benefit of your contest after building awareness and increasing your subscribers is increasing your sales. Contests are a great way to convert your business leads into valuable customers – especially in the case of the winners because they had just tried your product for free (if you chose the wise path of offering your product as a gift and not a random iPad) and they will most likely return to purchase more if your product satisfies them.

Remember, if the product is relevant to them then chances are they were looking for it in the first place and by giving it to them for free just made you move forward ahead of your competitors.

6. Increase engagement

A contest is an excellent way to increase engagement on a page to when it’s done properly. When a page attracts new and relevant fans it helps to increase comments, shares, retweets, likes, pins and more as they have attracted the right audience to be part of their page. And because it is relevant, they will stick around to see what goes on in your page.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “the money is in the list” right? I disagree. I would say the money is in the relationship built within the list.

The key thing here is to make sure the engagement lasts between you and your list of audience. You could connect with them via the mailing list you have or simply keep your page active and responsive toward the conversation that is happening.

For a great example, I recommend you subscribe to Chris Brogan’s email newsletter. He writes some of his best writings for his readers in his letters.

Have you ever participated or ran your own contest? What have you benefited from it and what are some of your learnings?

Aaron Lee
This monthly Social Media Contests column is contributed by Aaron Lee. Aaron is the social media manager at Binkd.com, a comprehensive social media promotion platform that allows businesses to build and manage digital promotions and contests. Aaron is also the founder and writer at askaaronlee.com. +Aaron Lee
Aaron Lee

@askaaronlee

Grand Master of Customer Delight @PostPlannerAverage joe, introvert but loves engaging online, avid cappuccino drinker.
All schools in Liberia are closed. Let's use technology to bring the school to the children! #EduOverEbola http://t.co/a2LpImEBcj - 5 mins ago
Aaron Lee
Social Media Marketing World

Comments

  1. says

    Hey Aaron, great article. You make a very valid point about making the prize relevant to the business. A golf course I recently chatted to was running a competition for an iPad. I told them to make it for a round of golf instead so they get people actually interested in golf!
    Ian

  2. says

    I really like what you have to say here Aaron! It was a great read and you really did quite a good job of bringing to light many of the issues/misconceptions of social media. Thanks for sharing.
    treb

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