Social contests can be a great way to connect your business with new potential customers by giving away a prize to followers and supporters of your brand on social media. Your contest should be treated like a marketing campaign, and before creating your campaign for the social web, Metric marketing lead Meghan Tooley recommends asking yourself these five questions:
What is the goal?
Setting a goal with a metric attached, such as number of 'likes' or email addresses collected, is a way to determine post-contest if the campaign was successful.
"Set realistic goals that are a reflection of where you currently are and where you want to go." says Tooley, who believes that building an email database to build direct marketing campaigns is one of the greatest takeaway of a social contest.
What will you give away?
For a contest to motivate consumers to interact, the prize needs to be something they want to win.
"Ideally, you should select a prize based on your target customer and what motivates them. You can give away a product or service from your business, though it should be something that someone who doesn't know about your brand (yet!) would also find appealing," says Tooley.
When is the best time to launch the campaign?
Timeliness is key, and the timing of your social contest should be based on your product and your people.
"If your business is seasonal (or has seasonal busy periods), the start of the season might be the best time to run a contest to create a database of people you can market to throughout your busy season," recommends Tooley.
You also need to determine how long your contest will run prior to launch. Tooley recommends between one and four weeks based on your goal and the value of your prize. A contest with a bigger, more valuable prize tends to be able to run for a longer period of time.
Are the contest rules clear?
Before launching your contest, be sure that it is easy to participate and that the contest rules are clear.
"Test. test. test. Don't assume the rules are clear until several people have tried entering from different browsers and devices" suggests Tooley.
What are you going to do when the contest is over?
After a successful campaign, you'll have more likes, more email addresses to market to, and more people connected with your brand online... So now what?
"A strategic marketing plan needs to be put in place after a campaign to take advantage of your new followers. Setting up email marketing campaigns and consistent social media marketing post-contest is a great way to turn your new followers into customers."
"Constant monitoring of the contest during your campaign to ensure you are on-track to reaching your goal is key," adds Tooley.
If you aren't on track to reaching your goals mid-way through the campaign, make adjustments accordingly: try adding to your advertising budget, boosting posts, or getting your staff involved by sharing the contest with their following online.