Everybody loves a contest, and it’s one of the most effective ways to increase engagement with your social media fan base and followers. You can easily build a contest right into your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest social media using applications such as North Social, Wildfire, Binkd, Rafflecopter, and a slew of others that are popping up. These apps are so easy; you can set up a contest in minutes.
But remember the movie Field of Dreams, when a voice from nowhere says, “If you build it, he will come”? Building a ballpark is enough to attract a crowd in the middle of an Iowa cornfield – where there’s not much else to do but watch the corn grow – but in social media the competition for attention is fierce. Just because you’re running a contest doesn’t mean people will flock to your Facebook page, Twitter account, or website. To be successful you’ve got to promote your contest. Here are some simple tips to help you succeed.
Top 10 Tips for Promoting a Social Media Contest
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #1 – Write a blog post about the contest. Target this around the time that voting begins. Some applications such as Wildfire and Offerpop supply widgets you can embed on your site to make it easy for people to enter. Be sure the post also includes a link to the entry page.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #2 – Send out an email blast to your list. I don’t know about you, but I still check my email several times a day. A catchy headline and a link to the contest are great ways to get the message out.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #3 – Set up your social media pages, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. with unique cover images and details to put the spotlight on your promotion.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #4 – Consider updating your email signature with information about your contest and where people can go to enter. I love Wisestamp for this purpose.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #5 – There are so many ways to advertise these days with a budget that doesn’t break the bank. Consider running a Facebook Ad, a Promoted Story, or a Promoted Post. On Twitter, an affordable option is Promoted Tweets. You can target a demographic with high specificity.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #6 – Reaching out to bloggers and influencers is a great method to help spread the word, and it’s as simple as posting your content to a site such as BloggerLinkUp, one that I’ve used. Do a quick Google search to find a number of sites you can post to for free. Here is a listing from momdot.com. Faithful Bloggers and A Blog of Goodies are two other great sources.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #7 – Be sure to Tweet about your contest. Set up a unique hashtag for it, and use other hashtags like #contest or #sweepstakes. Here is another site where you can post your contest, where it will regularly be announced via their Twitter stream.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #8 – Partner up with a complimentary business and share the cost of a giveaway. For example, put together a prize package of services from you, the photographer; a hair salon; a restaurant; a limo service; etc.
Then create a Facebook timeline photo and application tab for all of the partners’ pages. Each partner can collect entries on their own site, but the winner is selected from all of the entries. Each partner promotes the contest in their posts, Tweets, and Pins.
You’ve increased the value of the prize, and gotten other businesses to promote your brand, and everyone gets the list!
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #9 – Consider running a press release about your contest. PRWeb offers very affordable options for distributing your release, and they’ll also help with writing if you need it. Once you have your release written, find the Twitter names of journalists and reporters in your market or area. Be sure to follow them and retweet some of their posts. If they have followed you back, you can direct-message them and ask them if they would help spread the word. If they haven’t try a mention @twittername.
Social Media Contest Promotion Tip #10 – Don’t forget some traditional off-line marketing ideas. When customers call your office and you’re away from the office, closed for the day, or on another call, let your voice mail spread the word about your contest.
Remember, if you build it, they will come – but only if you raise enough promotional flags to be visible to the people you want to reach and to make your contest a standout.
Guest post by Georgia McCabe – As an author, speaker, trainer and social media and photography evangelist, her perspectives on social media appear in print in her newest book entitled “SocialMorphosis – Transforming Your Business through Social Media”. Georgia is also a co-author of the book “The Relationship Age”, with social media guru Mari Smith. Georgia is a frequent guest blogger for our professional photography lab.