Measuring the success of a social media campaign is no longer dependent on the number of followers you acquire, but the number of people that engage with your brand along the way. Social Media contests, promotions, sweepstakes, and giveaways are becoming an increasingly popular way to get the name of your brand in front of potential customers in a new and exciting way.
What was once a bunch of spammy promotions where companies gave away high-ticket items to try and draw in customers has grown into an omni-channel marketing opportunity for businesses growing their online presence and overall brand recognition.
Benefits of Social Media Contests
The benefits of social media contests and sweepstakes are growing more apparent with each viral campaign we see. Here are some of the ways that your brand can win it big by taking advantage of these marketing and branding opportunities:
1. Brand Engagement
We don’t care about who likes your page anymore, and neither should you. We care about the number of people that your posts are reaching, and who is engaging with the content that you push out. Brand engagement is the most important measurement these days, and running a contest on social media is a great way to increase these engagement opportunities.
2. Remarketing Opportunities
Asking for participants to provide information about themselves is a popular requirement when hosting these competitions. Having these individuals enter simply their emails opens the door for remarketing opportunities down the road. You can build out an email list specifically based on the people who took part in your sweepstakes, and continue to engage with them even after the contest ends.
3. Increased Brand Assets
Engaging with your audience through user-generated content allows you to gather different brand assets that feature genuine customer interactions with your brand. With their permission, you can then feature this content and use it to advertise across other marketing platforms. Photo-sharing contests or testimonials can be featured on your blog or social media posts. Or depending on your industry, you can consider integrating these assets with your website so that it is automatically updating to regularly share new UGC with visitors.
It’s important to be pay close attention to your brand’s interests and limitations when automatically integrating any of user-generated content with your website. If there are age restrictions or delicate material surrounding your product or industry, you don’t want to risk any illicit content being featured on your website. In an instance such as this, companies can manually choose the UGC that is featured.
4. Cross-channel Brand Promotions
The overall goal of your contest, sweepstakes, or giveaway should be to extend the reach of your brand, while ultimately generating brand awareness in the process. If there is a chance that this social media effort could be featured in the press, you want to rest of your team to be prepared and on the same page.
Make sure your PR team is supporting your campaign efforts, and is fully involved in the promotion both pre and post launch. For example, if you are making any philanthropic efforts with a campaign, your PR team should be there to support you and help get the word out about what you are hoping to accomplish.
To create a true omni-channel campaign, you need to push your promotion across multiple (if not all) marketing channels. Even if the contest is based solely on Instagram, encourage others on Facebook and Twitter to participate it. At the very least, this navigates audiences through your various social media pages and engages them with your brand.
Planning Your Campaign
As with every marketing venture we pursue, there is a lot of research, planning, and preparation that needs to take place before there can ever be a chance of success. Here are some important things to take into consideration before executing your social media campaign.
1. Pick Your Prize
As we continue to transition away from spammy promos and giveaways, you want your campaign to be well thought-out and serve an actual purpose for your brand. The prize you are offering to participants should be two things - relevant and compelling to your brand.
Offering audience members a trip or the chance to be featured in a commercial is much more intriguing now than just telling them to enter their email for a chance to win an impersonal and irrelevant prize (like an iPad.) It’s important for users to get excited about this, so you want to offer them something unique that they can only have a chance at winning by engaging with your brand.
2. Outline Your Goals
What are you really looking to achieve? It’s important to recognize your goals, and plan your strategy around them. Naturally we want our marketing campaigns to generate hype around the overall brand, not just the specific contest at hand. However, if there is a more granular goal your brand is hoping to reach through this effort, make sure it is outlined so that you may properly incorporate it into your plans.
3. Analyze Your Resources
If you have a limited content production team, developing a contest focused around user-generated content or a branded hashtag could be the best option for your business. In order to have a successful campaign you must be realistic about what your team will be able to accomplish alone, and what assistance you will need from your audience or other resources. Preparing this ahead of time will prevent any speed bumps from happening mid-campaign.
4. Cover Your Bases
As we mentioned a few times, legalities can come into play quite a bit when creating a contest for your brand online. Be smart and cover your bases ahead of time to prevent your business from running into any unwanted issues along the way. Obviously you want to avoid anything spammy or against the law, but there are other things that your business should be aware of when planning your upcoming promotion.
Make sure that your campaign is legal and within the policy restrictions of the network on which you are running the contest. Each social media platform has their own set of rules and guidelines that you should be aware of and follow in order for your contest to be successful. Each network, state, and country can have loopholes that you don’t want to get caught in. In cases like these, it is better for your brand to err on the side of caution.
You definitely want to ensure that all of your marketing efforts to serve a purpose for your brand. Aside from getting the name of your business out there, you want to provide value to your audience, and engage with them in a way that opens doors for future digital marketing campaigns.
You social media contest should be well thought-out as well as built-out. It needs to provide beneficial and measurable results for your brand, while allowing you to gather assets and data from your growing audience. The contest in itself will be exciting, but it should serve a larger purpose and create long-term awareness for your brand long after the prizes have been distributed.