This is a guest post by Christy Wilson.
Contests, promotions and giveaways can catapult your social media advertising to new levels. People love to win. For the chance to do so, they'll like, share, comment and promote your page. Here are the best ways to use contests and giveaways to get users excited about sharing your message and participating in your marketing campaigns.
Photo and Video Contests
This can take several forms. In some contests, companies ask users to photograph themselves using their product or send in videos of them using and enjoying it. Other contests involve users taking photos or videos of other things, such as nature, pets, animals, family or special events. Winners are selected based on things like creativity, the best quality photograph or the most enthusiasm.
People love sharing their lives with others, so this is an excellent way to get them truly involved with your company. These contests usually last a few weeks to give users enough time to stage, photograph or record the scene requested.
Speed tagging works best on Facebook. In these contests, users compete to be the fastest to tag a photo that you post with the right answer (or the most answers). For example, you might ask them to tag all the elements in a photograph, or to be the first one to tag it with the right phrase or terms. These contests are relatively short, so you can hold a series of them to increase the number of winners in a given campaign.
Scavenger hunts are also fun for participants. You can have them go around town and photograph items or situations, sending those photos in to see who gathered the most items within a given time period. Ideally, all or most of the items asked for in the scavenger hunt will relate in some way to the product or service you're selling. Make a scavenger hunt as creative as possible for the highest user engagement.
Hashtag giveaway contests are best done on Twitter. Although with the new Facebook hashtag feature, you can stage one there too. These contests involve users tweeting in with a certain hashtag, ideally associated with the company or product you're promoting. You can award winners based on several factors such as the best composed tweet, the most creative tweet or the most retweets the user achieves.
Online raffles usually instruct the user to follow a link to the company's website, where they can enter information to determine if they win a prize. You can award winners based on a number of random factors such as their zip code, phone number, birthday or even the letters in their names.
The best way to hold a raffle-contest is to award a number of prizes, ranging from personalized tote bags to flat screen TVs, Blu-ray players or smartphones. Raffles can last from a few days to several weeks, but it's best to offer a few prizes along the way leading up to the final, most valuable grand prize item.
Online Contest Entry Forms
These entry forms work much like the raffle, only you don't have to select winners based on random pieces of information like their zip code. You can choose winners at random. The user follows a link from your social media page to the website, where he or she fills out an entry form. These contests work exactly like the old paper forms, but it's done digitally. Like the raffle, these contests work best if they give away a series of small prizes, or increasingly more valuable prizes, leading up to a final grand prize at the end of the contest.
Online games are tremendously popular, and these contests blend the fun of the digital game with the promotional aspects of a contest. Have developers create a simple and easy to understand game. Put the game up on your social media site, or place it on your website and direct users there from your social media pages. Give away prizes to those who score the most points or the most points in a given length of time. These contests work best if the game is associated in some way with the product or company you're promoting.
For example, if you're an exterminator, create a bug smashing game. If you're a company selling cleaning products, create a game in which participants clean the house as quickly as possible.
Find the Hidden Object Contests
In these contests, promoters place a picture on social media that contains hidden objects. The users who find all the hidden objects, or at least the most hidden objects within a specific time period, are the winners. Since these contests don't take much time, you can hold one such contest per week for several weeks in a row to spread the message out to users. These contests work especially well if the photo is of a celebrity spokesperson, a popular vehicle or another popular person or product.
Remember that the contest is only as successful as your efforts in promoting it. Announce the contest well ahead of time so people are looking for it and excited about it. Some of these simple contests can be held once per day or once per week for several weeks during a promotional campaign.
A great twist on the contest is to tie it to charity. If the contest helps promote a worthy cause, people are even more likely to participate. Consider timely contests that naturally tie into particular charitable organizations, such as the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign during the month of October, or the March of Dimes efforts held during the month of March. Or, tie into a seasonal holiday, such as Mardi Gras, the Fourth of July, Valentine's Day or Thanksgiving. These tie-ins make the contest more festive, which attracts the greatest numbers of participants. The more fun it is for users, the more they will like, share and promote your message.
Are you using social media promotional giveaways to market your brand? How so?
Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the author
Christy Wilson is a freelance writer in Pell City, Alabama. She holds a BA in journalism from Samford University, and has a background in newspaper writing and editing.