Everyone loves free stuff, especially as a reward for partaking in social media. Running a giveaway or a contest on your social media channels is a great way to nurture engagement, draw in new community members, and establish brand loyalty with your existing audience. But where do you even start? If you’re thinking about running a social media contest or giving away brand-related items, follow these 10 tips for a successful campaign.

1. Decide on a Goal

One of the first things you should figure out is exactly what you want to accomplish with your contest or giveaway. Are you looking to gain followers on Twitter, garner more Likes on Facebook, or drive traffic to your blog? Deciding on a clear objective will help you figure out exactly what the rules are and how people should enter so that you can knock those goals out of the park.

2. Plan the Beginning, Middle, and End

It’s important to plan what you’ll do to promote the campaign before it begins. Map out everything you need in order to share and monitor the contest while it runs. Make it easy for your audience to participate in the promotion using their mobile devices, whether through your brand’s app or on your website. Ensure that you have a fair way to end the campaign by selecting a winner, and be prepared for any shipping fees you’ll face when you mail the prize.

3. Choose a Channel for Hosting

It’s a good idea to host your giveaway or contest on one single social channel. Using too many of your brands pages can create too much work and make it harder to track entries. Whether you choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another channel, you can still utilize the rest of your social accounts to share the campaign and bring people back to the original post.

4. Lay Out Simple Entry Steps

In most cases, the simpler the better when it comes to entering contests and giveaways. The last thing you want to do is frighten your audience away from engaging in the campaign or sharing it with others. Give a brief introduction to your promotion and then explain how they enter using numbered steps to make participation quick and easy.

5. Link Back to Official Rules

Cover your legal bases and make sure your audience has access to the official rules at all times. Craft a post on your blog to link back to, or have your web designer create a separate page for the entry guidelines. If you’re hosting the contest on Facebook, follow their rules for promotions (section III-E) to avoid any problems.

6. Select a Relevant Prize

Pick a prize that is relevant to your brand and that is something your audience will want to go after. Factor in how much it will take away from your budget, and have the prize in hand before starting the promotion. If you’re not sure what to give away, opt for something almost anyone would like, such as a gift card or a coupon for your business service.

7. Use Paid Advertising

Budgeting for paid advertising can give your promotion the extra boost it needs. Even if you only run the advertisement for a few hours or a day, every little bit will help. It’s also beneficial for targeting specific audience members on social channels like Twitter and Facebook to reach core influencers and customers.

8. Choose a Dedicated #Hashtag

Encouraging participants to use a specific hashtag is a great way to spread your campaign on channels like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. The hashtag you choose should be something that people do not use often on social media, but it should also relate directly to your brand. You can also use the hashtag to track participation throughout the contest and gauge your campaign’s success once it has ended.

9. Use Eye-catching Graphics

Part of promoting your giveaway or contest on social media is using graphics that will catch the attention of your audience members. Enlist the help of a professional graphic designer, or find stock photography that you know will grab the eye. Put as much relevant information as you can on the image without overcrowding it and making it look too busy.

10. Pick the Right Duration

Contests and giveaways often run for a day, a week, or a couple of weeks. Avoid running your promotion for too long, as your audience might lose interest. No matter the duration, pin your post to the top of your Facebook page and Twitter page so that new visitors see it right away.

print