How to run a social media competition.

Running a successful social media competition is a great way to drum up enthusiasm for your brand, increase subscriptions, and gain new followers. Before announcing your contest, be mindful that free competitions can be a bit of a fizzler without proper planning.

Here are some tips to ensure your competition is a success.

Define your goals.

Building your competition around clear goals will help guide the process. Are you trying to increase newsletter subscriptions? Grow your social media following? Or maybe you’ve got a new product to promote?

These are some straightforward objectives to consider setting for your social media competition:

  • Better customer engagement – Post likes, shares and comments all offer a simple way to measure engagement.
  • Amplified email database – Social media competitions give you the perfect excuse to capture the contact details of potential customers.
  • Increased social following – Whether you’re aiming to get more followers on Facebook, Instagram or another platform, a competition can help your brand stand out from the crowd.

To avoid setting yourself up for failure, be realistic when deciding which goals to prioritise. Your competition’s objectives should matter to your business and be achievable within your budget.

Choose the right competition format.

If you can’t decide which type of competition best aligns with your social media marketing goals, taking a look at the most popular formats is a good place to start.

  • Photo Contests

This format involves asking your followers to post a photo accompanied by a specific hashtag. Winners can be chosen at random or judged on the creativity of their photo.

Photo competitions thrive in image-based markets, such as the health and beauty industry.

  • Voting Promotions

Asking your followers to vote on either user-generated content (content submitted by your followers) or your own content is the basic premise of voting promotions.

Landscape and gardening businesses can engage with audiences by asking them to vote on the best garden makeover of the year.

  • Caption Contests

If you’ve got a funny image that’s somehow related to your business, ask your followers to come up with a caption for it. The most original caption wins.

This type of contest is great for adding personality to your social media. It can be particularly useful for brands that typically deal with dry subject matter, such as financial institutions.

  • Free Giveaways

Simple yet effective, free giveaways are one of the most popular competition formats out there. Your followers can enter the giveaway through a simple prompt (such as liking or sharing a photo), and the winner can be chosen at random.

There’s nothing quite like getting an essential service for free so you can spend your money on fun stuff. Mechanics and home maintenance professionals can make their free giveaway competitions extra appealing by offering a complimentary service.

Keep your eye on the prize.

What will the lucky winner receive? Don’t be tempted to treat the prize as an afterthought – it should be something that inspires social media shares, is relevant to your business and entices your followers to actually enter the competition.

Stand out from the crowd.

On Facebook the likelihood of even 10% of your fans seeing one of your posts that isn’t boosted, is pretty low. You want to make sure the competition you’re running makes an impact, so you’ll definitely need to ‘boost’ it. This can be done via paid social promotion, or an email marketing campaign with a link to your competition, or by blogging about it on your website. Increase your promotional efforts just before the competition closes, and be sure to have some fun announcing the winner.

Facebook Ads with Yellow.

Running a competition is a fun way to strengthen your social presence, but if you don’t have the time to do this, Yellow Social Ads can help you make some noise. Exclusive to Facebook, Yellow Social Ads start from just $400 a month and include:

  • Initial planning call
  • Management and optimisation
  • Facebook page creation
  • Re-targeting of look-alike audiences
  • Performance reports
  • Lead notifications
  • Ongoing support.



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