Social media offers the perfect platform for running contests. They help you stand out and reach your audience effectively and quickly (particularly as most competitions have a time-stamp). If you’re looking to drive more traffic and engagement to your website, running social media contests is an ideal solution.
Make sure you take the time to plan your contest. If your main goal is to drive traffic to your website, ensure you have clear calls to action or rules that the entrant must visit your website in order to enter.
Ensure, too, that your prize is appropriate to your target audience. This way, the traffic you get back to your website will more geared toward relevant rather than “competition seekers”. It can be tempting to give away a cash prize or vouchers, this clearly could get you more entries and indeed more traffic, but the results you would receive would be much less targeted. Also, don’t feel that your prize has to be expensive; it’s far better that it’s unique and related to your niche.
Which social network?
Facebook is one of the most popular networks to run contests, particularly if you utilize their advertising to leverage it. Facebook used to have a lot of restrictions on their contests, such as the need to use 3rd party apps, but many of these restrictions were dropped when Facebook changed their contests guidelines last year. Do bear in mind their rules still have a few restrictions (for a full list visit Facebook Promotions & Guidelines), namely that you can’t ask fans to share the post on their timeline or their friends timeline to participate.
Our social media and law expert has also written on why your Facebook contests should not run on your Business Page that is recommended reading on the subject as well.
Twitter is a great platform for running contests. Although not as popular as Facebook, it can be much simpler and easier to set up. Use relevant hashtags as it can help people find your contest much easier as well as keeping track of how successful it is. Like Facebook, they also have rules, which can be found Guidelines for Contests on Twitter.
Pinterest seems like a social network that was made for competitions, it’s so easy and fun to do, not to mention it even rhymes…pin to win! Just like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest also has ever-changing terms and conditions regarding running competitions, so make sure you check them out Pinterest Terms and Conditions.
Instagram is another great medium for hosting competitions. This time, of course, exclusively photo-based ones. Don’t forget to use hashtags. Just like with Twitter, hashtags are how you are going to track your contest and get other users to find your competition.
As video marketing is becoming more popular, we are starting to see a rise in video contests. Although video contests can be slightly more effort than a photo or text competition, they can still be a great way to drive traffic and increase brand awareness. YouTube has some useful guidelines and best practices.
Social media contests can be made much simpler and more effective by leveraging the tools available. And with Facebook, you have a lot of customization options when you use one of the apps.
Below are a list of my favorite tools, which can help you set up, manage and monitor your contest:
Woobox is great for all of your social promotional needs. Whichever type of contest you are thinking of running, you can use Woobox to help. It works on most major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube. They can help you organize any type of contest you can think of: sweepstakes, photo contests, video contests, coupons, Pin to Win for Pinterest, instant win etc.
The Competizer Platform makes it very easy to run a competition. You can choose to create and manage your own online photo or writing competition either on your own website, your Facebook Fan Page or mobile app. If you’re just starting out with contests then Competizer is a great tool to try out as you can try it for free until you reach 25 contest entries/users.
Votigo is another useful tool that helps you run competitions on your website and all major social networks: Facebook, Twitter (including Vine competitions), YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. On Facebook, you can choose between holding a basic contest (photo, video, multi-format, etc.) or a sweepstakes.
Binkd will help you run sweepstakes or photo contests on Facebook, mobile and on your website. As with many of the other tools, you also get complete analytics so you can understand how the contest has gone.
Strutta is a third-party Facebook app that will help you run contests or sweepstakes. They also offer lots of design options and customizations that will help you build a personalized campaign that will reflect your brands’ image.
Shortstack is another third-party app for Facebook that allows you to create Facebook apps contests and sweepstakes.
Wizehive is a very easy to use app for creating contests on your Facebook Fan Page or your website. You can use the app for photo, text, video or audio contests.
Are you running contents? What type of results did you achieve? Which tool did you use? Please do share and leave a comment 🙂