Social Media Contest App Review: PromoSimple

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There are many great social media contest app platforms that exist, including those that are represented by some of our contributors (antavo and Binkd) as well as one of our past sponsors (easypromos). And there are countless others that exist. With the recent publication of my new social media strategy book Maximize Your Social, I wanted to create a social media contest of my own. The problem, though, is that a lot of social media contest applications seem to be Facebook-centric in their platform or at least marketing, and I was looking for a platform that would allow me to be more holistic in engaging with audiences throughout social media.

For that reason, I went on a hunt for social media contest apps that were used by a lot of bloggers, and found that there seem to be three major platforms: Rafflecopter, PromoSimple, and PunchTab. Although I enjoy the gamification and rewards aspect of PunchTab as well as the fact that Rafflecopter is easy to use and is a well known brand, I decided to use PromoSimple for the fact that their co-founder actually reached out to me after I had tried out there tool and asked if there was any way in which he could help. I decided to take him up on his offer, and in turn offer you all of the advice on running social media contests that he provided me in addition to reviewing PromoSimple. Note: I was offered a free 30-day trial to try out their platform, but that was not dependent on writing this review. I am writing this because I am impressed with their product and wanted to share my experience with you.

Note: PromoSimple offers free and paid plans. Some of the features utilized below are part of the paid plan. Please see the PromoSimple Plans and Pricing page for more details.

Planning Your Social Media Contest

Once you realize that any social media contest app is only there to provide you a platform and a choosing mechanism, the devil really is in the details of:

  • What is the objective of your social media contest
  • Who is your target audience
  • What do you want them to do in order to participate in your contest
  • What will you provide them to incentivize them to participate
  • How will your promote the contest

If it sounds simple it is, but obviously it requires a tremendous amount of creativity in the planning and time and energy in the promotion! One of the key things to note as well is, you attract what you give out, so if you are trying to attract a certain demographic, think hard as to what prize would be considered valuable to them.

Architecting Your Social Media Contest in PromoSimple

Using PromoSimple, once you have thought through all of the above, it really only takes a few minutes to create your campaign. A look at the below screenshot shows you the actual screen I used for my Maximize Your Social launch campaign. PromoSimple works you through a five-step process of social media contest creationm which begins on the first step where you enter the core information about your contest:

  • Your contest headline
  • The details of your contest
  • Total number of winners
  • Contest start and deadline times
PromoSimple Campaign Builder social media contest app review

The PromoSimple Campaign Builder guides you through the 5-step process to create and publish your social media contest.

In the second step pictured below, you enter more specifics about the entry mechanism for your contest including:

  • Required information for participants
  • Entries awarded per entrant
  • Entry frequency
promosimple campaign builder social media contest app review

Step 2 of the PromoSimple Campaign Builder.

Social Media Amplifications Options

Up until now there has been no mention of the social media amplification options that PromoSimple offers. But it is in Step 2 where we begin to include all of those social media calls-to-action as either required or optional components to our social media contest. For my contest, as pictured below, I only included basic demographic information as well as newsletter subscription as the mandatory things needed for entry, but the bonus options is where I added various social media amplification options into my contest.

PromoSimple Social Media Amplification Options

PromoSimple offers a plethora of options to help you supercharge your social media contest.

As you can see, there are a lot of call-to-actions that you can include outside of Facebook in your contest! A run down of the pictured features would look like this:

  • Newsletter subscription (built in integration with Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Mad Mimi – for others include a link to a sign-up form)
  • RSS Feed subscription
  • Refer a friend option, to allow participants to help spread the word about your contest!  The feature works like this: Each entrant is given a unique URL that they can promote on their social sites and directly via email. The referrer gets an extra entry into the giveaway for each person who comes through their URL and enters.  The PromoSimple folks told me that whenever this feature is deployed they typically see a 5-10% lift in unique entrants.
  • Increase social media followers by acquiring Facebook Likes, Twitter Follows, Pinterest Follows, and Instagram Follows
  • Increase social media engagement with specific contest-related content by asking for Pinterest Pins, Instagram Likes, Twitter Tweets, and Blog Comments
  • Lead your contestants to any social media channel or website you choose through the Custom Entry. I used this to lead people to the Maximize Your Social book trailer.
  • There are also ways of engaging with your contestants by asking them for their input in a variety of ways: Multiple Choice questions, Checkbox surveys, or asking through a Drop-Down question.

Every single one of the above options is customizable to a large degree, and each one can be customized vis a vis how many points you want to give per entry. For instance, I place more value on the amplification through referring friends and actual sharing of my messages than a mere follow, so I made them higher in point value.

Publishing Your Social Media Contest

While I wanted something relatively simple, it should be noted that before you publish, PromoSimple gives you a variety of display and customization options so that you can give your user interface a truly unique look-and-feel. I didn’t spend much time on these options, but if they are important to you, they are there.

Once you’ve finalized everything, publishing your contest is as simple as clicking one button! After that you are given a variety of publication options as displayed below, the most important ones being:

  • Code to embed into your own website
  • Add an entry form to your Facebook Page
  • Link to a hosted version on PromoSimple

And that’s it! This is what the final result of my contest looks like (oh, and you can enter it yourself to get a better feel for how PromoSimple works before Monday, October 14 at midnight Pacific Time):

But wait, there’s more! In addition to the above publishing options, PromoSimple gives you a variety of other options to create widgets that can appear in your website sidebar (see the top of the sidebar on Maximize Your Social to see how mine looks), a Facebook Widget, or a “Website Layer,” similar to a Hello Bar which appears at the top of all of your pages.

PromoSimple Promotional Widgets

PromoSimple gives you a variety of ways of displaying your social media contest on websites.

Promoting Your Social Media Contest

Now the easy part is done and the hard work begins: Promoting your contest! It goes without saying that you want to utilize all of your marketing properties to push people to your contest. Paid Social, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn, is another great way to expose your contest to a very targeted audience.

PromoSimple also helps by including your contest in their own Giveaways Directory as well as the big Giveaways and Sweepstakes website they operate, which then assures that your contest goes out to the Giveaways Network, who’s combined widgets, directories, and emails have a combined audience of tens of thousands of users. Finally, one of the paid options is to get featured placement in the Giveaways network, including in the email newsletter that is sent out to a large number of people. I was offered the opportunity to be featured, and I can tell you that appearing in the newsletter will greatly increase the number of participants to your contest!

It should be noted that promotion in the above directory as well as widgets, which might be featured on 3rd party websites, is completely optional as some of you might want to target a highly focused/niche audience on your own.

Analyzing Your Social Media Contest

What I really like about PromoSimple is the reporting functionality that it provides so that you can dig down into any one of the following areas for analysis:

  • Entrants by location
  • Daily charts of entries
  • Entries by call-to-action, so you can see which entrants did which actions

You can drill down into the details, for instance, to see which of my entrants actually repinned my book image, for instance, and verify the results. Furthermore, all of the data from any one of the call-to-action entries can be downloaded so that you can actually follow back or engage with those entrants that you feel might be influencers, for instance.

At the end of the day, the ROI of your social media contest will depend on a lot of different factors. For me in achieving broader brand awareness for my new book, my contest has already been a success for the small amount of time and money invested.

Have you ever used PromoSimple as your social media contest app? What have your experiences been running a holistic social media contest across a variety of platforms? Are there any additional functionalities that you see missing in PromoSimple? Please share your experiences with us!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
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  1. says

    I’ve been looking into how to go about designing and deploying a contest too, so this app review is timely and useful. One of the better social media contests I’ve found uses Wildfire/Google so this will give us a nice comparison.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Neil! I’ve used Wildfire before they were acquired by Google and really liked their platform as well, but it seems they have changed their business model (correct me if I am wrong). PromoSimple is easy to use and comes in a variety of flavors from free to something with more robust features – and like I said, as a company they are very personable, which is always a plus! If you try them out let me know what you think!

  2. says

    Thanks for a great post, Neal! PromoSimple seems like a great tool, if you want contests to reach more people than your Facebook friends and more touchpoints than the Facebook stream. As I know Antavo includes websites and microsites, while Offerpop have launched integrated Instagram/Facebook campaigns. Do you think that integrated promotions is a trend right now, and who do you think are the leading tools/players?

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Morten! I actually don’t think that integrated promotions is a trend, but I made mention of those tools who I think are the main players in the blog post itself. Obviously, those players are more geared towards small businesses – large enterprises have a lot more tools at their disposal 😉

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