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How to run a social media competition

Blog Post Author – Kirsty
31st December 2018
social media competition 1

Everybody loves a social media competition. It’s a chance to get your audience excited, engaged, and feeling rewarded; as well as create a little buzz around your brand.

But if you’ve never run a social media competition before, it can be a little awkward trying to set one up. Never fear, here’s your step by step to running a social media competition with all the smoothness of a seasoned jazz band.

How to get your social media competition up and running

Step 1: Pick a prize

The prize is the heart of your competition so think carefully about what your audience really wants and not just could kinda do with. If your prize isn’t enough of a hook, it’s unlikely people will even take the time to enter (time is precious after all).

For many brands, giving away their products/services as a prize is a great way to help the business in the long-term. But if your business' offering isn't likely to raise the roof of excitement, then an experience or a gift card are great options.

Step 2: Choose where

The next step is to decide on which social media management platform you’ll run your competition. There’s no wrong or right answer here but the method of entry may make it more appropriate for particular social channels. For example, a ‘caption this picture’ competition will likely perform best on Instagram.

Whatever you decide, be aware that it might become overwhelming to manage if you do allow the competition to be entered from multiple social channels. If it’s your first competition, you may want to stick to whichever social channel is your most successful or has the highest following/engagement levels. A great tip for Facebook or Twitter competitions is to pin the competition post to the top of your page to catch the eye of any new visitors, something to consider when planning social. It's always good to plan way in advance, therefore we advise a social media calendar to help.

Step 3: Lay down the law

It is extremely important to be clear when running a social media competition. You need to explicitly state how you enter, what the prize is, and when the deadline to enter is. If you don’t mention the deadline, you could be getting fresh entries for months after the competition has concluded. If you don’t make it clear how to enter, those who enter incorrectly will set an example for new entries. If you’re not clear on the prize, there may be a disappointment when the winner is given something they weren’t expecting. It’s also a good idea to be specific about how the winner will be selected; whether it’ll be selected at random, or chosen by a judge.

Step 4: Decide how to enter

We’d say above all else to not make things too complicated. If your prize is big, flashy and expensive then you can ask a little more from your audience. But if you’re just giving away 2 free cinema tickets then you’ll need to think realistically about how much time and effort people will be willing to spend entering in relation to the value of the prize.

Some popular ways to run a social media competition include - asking people to answer a question by commenting on a post, asking people to share a post, asking them to post something like a video or photo with a specific hashtag (using a hashtag will make it easy to collate your entries at the end) etc. Some use competitions to benefit their brand in a more obvious way by requiring people to follow them or like their posts by way of entry. You can also ask your entrants to do more than one thing - for example, follow our page, AND tell us your favourite chocolate bar. But again, effort vs value of the prize must always be kept in mind. social media competition 2

Step 3: Brush up on the rules

Not only are there legal requirement that comes with running a competition, but the social media platforms have their own preferences on what they do and do not allow. For example, Facebook doesn’t like content that encourages people to ‘tag a friend’ or ‘share a post’.

Here’s what each social channel has to say on this -

Facebook Twitter Instagram

Step 4: Spread the word, over and over and over again

One cannot simply post about a competition once and just expect people to continue entering. Keep talking about your social media competition and keep the hype alive, alternatively use social media marketing automation to help your posting. Send out a few DM's to invite people to enter your competition; create a countdown on social media expressing the remaining days left to enter the competition; ask people offline to head to your social channels and enter.

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