How to run a successful social media competition

Running a social media giveaway is one of the easiest ways to increase engagement, grow followers and build brand awareness. I’ve run multiple successful ones - Think 400 new followers in one week. But a few of the earlier ones didn't see those type of results simply because I wasn’t really sure how to leverage them.

There is a lot more to running a successful social media competition than meets the eye. Strategy, planning and promotion! 

Why run a social media giveaway

When you run a social media giveaway you want to make sure that your business gains the most benefit from the competition. The first thing you need to decide on is what outcome you’re looking for.  

Do you want to: 

·      Grow a new social media account

·      Increase online chatter about a launch

·      Get people to an event 

·      Grow your email list

·      Increase user generated content 

 However, if you find yourself running giveaways every month or so because it’s the only way to grow your account, then you’re better off taking a look at your strategy. A good social media strategy will result in steady growth of your account.

Working out the prize

The next step in running a social media competition is the fun part: The prize!  

Sometimes the prize is a no brainier, such as free tickets to an event you’re promoting or a new product you’re launching. If the prize isn’t related to a specific event or product then you can get creative. 

What every outcome you’re looking for will guide your prize. For example, if you’re looking to grow your account a free voucher or product will be enough motivation to enter. On the other hand, if you’re after email addresses you’ll need to make your offer more enticing. 

If you’re a small business on a budget (and let’s be honest when isn’t a small biz) collaborating with other likeminded businesses is a way to offer a big prize without carrying the cost alone. 

From my own personal experience giveaways with a physical prize tend to get more entries compared to those that offer a voucher.


Setting the competition entry guidelines 

You’ve got your prize, you know what you want to achieve.  

Now you need to set the entry criteria.    

Each social media platform has rules about giveaways, so before setting the entry guidelines you should make sure you’ve read and understand what you can and can’t ask people to do.  Here’s the policies for Facebook and Instagram.

The number one tip for running a competition is to make entry as easy as possible! 

Setting entry criteria that work with each platforms algorithm is a good way to build traction.  Asking people to like a post and leave a comment or tag who they’d like to bring (if you’re giving away a prize for two) works well.  

On the other hand, if your prize has serious value you can ask people to put more effort in and you can get some great user generated content this way too!  

Some fun examples I’ve seen are:  

·      Take a photo of the product in unexpected and far flung locations 

·      Create videos of what they like about your brand

·      Create an ad for your company  

If you’re looking to grow your email list you’ll need to have a landing page or website to gather entries. Alternatively, if you don’t have a landing page you can also run paid ads to capture leads. 

How long should you run a social media competition? 

Setting the time frame for the competition is so important – too short and you won’t get many entries. Too long, and you may struggle to keep interest going. 

  • For a small simple giveaway, you’ll usually want to run it for 3 days to a week. 

  • For a something with more value-  2 weeks to a month is a good amount of time. 

When the competition is for an event you’ll want to time it to build anticipation. So running the competition in the immediate weeks prior will help. Too far in the future you risk losing the momentum and interest generated by the competition.  

Paying to promote a post can help you get more eyes on your post and entries to the competition. Even just a $20 ad spend will be enough to see good results. 


Choosing the winner

Most small competitions select the winner at random and there are plenty of apps that can help you do this such as Woobox.

Get creative with the judging process when the entry requires effort. From guest judges to writing press releases announcing the competition winner.  You can help increase brand awareness every step of the way and make the winner feel especially excited. 

So there you have it a step by step guide to making sure your next social media giveaway

is a huge success.

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