One of the best way to get fans and followers on social media is to offer contests and competitions. That’s pretty much common knowledge. The problem is, for every ten brands that choose to use this method to capture fans, 8 of them get it wrong. (You want me to quote my source on that? Too bad, I just plucked some numbers out of my head.) Some brands manage to get a lot of the wrong attention, others are too busy promoting themselves to know what their customers really want and another set risk getting banned for life on whatever platform they are using – but we’ll get into that later. Let’s get to it then! In no particular order:
1. Make it something fans want to (and can) do – I know, I know. This seems a bit too obvious but you would be very surprised how many get this wrong. Asking someone to get you a hundred new fans in one day just to get a gift basket is pretty insane. Make the tasks something manageable and fun, preferably something they can do in one sitting or, even better, from their mobile devices.
2. Set objectives first! – What’s the point of expending all this energy to create and run a competition and give away something if you’re not getting something out of this too? This shouldn’t be just an afterthought either. Instead of thinking, ‘Here’s a great idea for a contest, how can I leverage it?’ you should instead be saying, ‘I need to grow fans/build brand awareness/increase sales/show how awesome my product is, what kind of competition can I use to achieve this?’. Make sure they are SMART so that you can know how well you did at the end.
3. Host it on your main hub – Where’s your online base, the place where you store everything and send your customers the most? Is it your own website, and extension of another website, a Facebook page? Wherever it is, that should be where you keep a copy of all details about the contest. It is important to establish one main link that you can send potential entrants to so they know that this is a legitimate competition and the rules of entry.
4. Outline clear purchase rules, if any – If no purchase is necessary to enter your competition, it’s a good idea to state this, although not mandatory. But with the scammers that exist today, you may want to make it clear to entrants so they don’t accidentally get caught in some web you didn’t weave. If purchase is necessary to enter your competition, make sure you get full clearance in writing from the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission first! (and this takes 21 days minimum so it’s best to plan ahead)
5. Give a prize your target would want – Note I said target, not fans. Your objective should never be growing fans just for growing fans’ sake. Make sure than the type of people you are attracting are the ones that are interested in your brand, whether existing or future customers. Identify the type of people your brand/product attracts and then list out a few of the things that these persons would like then pick from that. A valid option is also to give your product or service free as this won’t attract any out-of-pocket expenses. (Oh, and if this part confuses you because in 2012, you are STILL targeting ‘everybody’, here is a virtual slap in the face just for you.)
6. Clearly outline rules and guidelines – Don’t just assume that people will know how to enter and what’s accepted. Make sure you tell them. Backlash from unclear guidelines can be severe when you, say, disqualify someone because they did something you just didn’t like as a representation for your brand. Here’s a quick list of things you should consider including in the rules:
- Entry disqualification
- Exchange/transfer of prizes
- Offensive/inappropriate language
- Entry ownership
- Number of entries allowed
- Steps to enter
- Date & time of open/close (take into consideration time zones if extended outside of territory)
7. State clear introduction – The first thing persons should see when checking out your competition is: who can enter, what will they win, when the competition starts and ends, how to enter and where they can get more information. Answering those 5 questions from the outset will save a lot of trouble down the line.
8. Follow platform guidelines – Whether you’re using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or any other platform, they all have guidelines of their own that you must follow when executing competitions as a business. Make sure you or the person executing the competition review them carefully. If you don’t, you risk loss of your page and rights to use the platform altogether. And that’s no joke. Facebook is particularly keen on their rules which state that you must use an app or tab to execute competitions and you must state prominently in your rules that this competition is between entrants and your brand, independent of Facebook.
9. Make it easy to track results – You should be able to compile and analyze entries to see if your results match your SMART objectives. Use tools to help you track your results and always establish one place to receive all entries rather than giving varying options.
10. Make it easy to share with others – If you want your fans to get other persons to join in the fun and enter your competition too, you gotta make it easy for them to spread the word. Use social buttons like ‘Tweet It’ and ‘Post on Facebook’ on the main page and provide a clear call-to-action on your promotional posts. That is, don’t just assume or hope they will Like, Share, ReTweet or repin your competition, tell them (or ask them, if you’re the nice type) to share it with their friends. You may also get a greater response if you offer an incentive.
That’s it for my list. If there’s anything I left out, please share in the comments and I’ll try to include it in the post (with credit). Also, feel free to share any examples you’ve seen of horrible social media competitions. I wanna hear stories!