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Social Media Marketing Tips: How To Drive Engagement With Social Media Contests


Who doesn’t like freebies?

For eons, businesses have attracted new customers with giveaways. It’s a tried and tested strategy that taps into our love for gifts and lower-than-average-price offerings. And it’s still achieving results for brands today.

More recently, businesses have turned to social media contests as a way to leverage this human tendency to their advantage. They promise attractive prizes for winners, available on the condition that participants take specific actions. Those actions will often be things that drive publicity for the brand.

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If you would like to increase engagement on your social platforms, contests may help you hit this target. They could generate a lot of chatter around your brand, and bring extra traffic, follows, and more.

Here are six steps to boosting your social media engagement metrics with contests.

Know Why You’re Having the Contest

Be clear about your reason for organizing the contest. Are you seeking more follows, comments, publicity, signups, or increased purchases?

Your answer should determine how you proceed. Ideally, it will shape the type of content you design, and the sort of content or messaging you use. For instance, contests organized to increase follows will be open only to followers or will have following you on social media as a necessary step to winning.

Define Your Target Audience

You should also think about the audience you’re trying to reach with the contest.

What demographic do they belong to? What sort of message would be familiar to (or resonate with) them? What kind of prize would they value? What kind of actions will they be ready to take to win that prize?

It’s easier to get this right if you already understand the persona of your brand’s target audience. There’s more about this in our article Buyer Personas and What they Mean for Your Business.

Choose a Contest Type

Having run through your reason for running the contest and the nature of your audience, you’ll need to find a contest type that’s suitable for both.

Think about the structure of the contest, from the introduction to the award stage. Note the actions you’d require participants to undertake. Sketch a flow of the process if visualizing it helps you. Have a mental picture of how you want contestants to experience it.

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There’s a vast range of contest types you can choose from. You may ask participants to share videos with hashtags, post stories about their use of your product, or contribute pictures with a relevant theme. Just be sure they are in line with your objectives.

Decide What Your Prize Will Be

Whatever you choose to present as a prize, make sure it’s something that someone in your target audience will appreciate.

It should also be something you or your business can afford without blowing a hole in your finances. If you intend to hold contests regularly, it would be in order to have a budget for them.

Have the Contest On the Right Platforms

It’s up to you to decide what the “right” platform is.

You may either run the contest on a social media channel that you’re most familiar with or try it across multiple social networks. The latter strategy might be a reasonable option if you intend to organize more contests in the near future.

Learn what each platform’s terms and conditions for contests are, and do your best to stick by them. If you find that a specific platform doesn’t fully support aspects of the process as you would like, you might want to adjust those aspects to fit the way the platform works.

When a winner emerges, make as much a splash about it as is possible. It serves for extra publicity, apart from the contest itself.

Gain Value from the Contest

After the contest is over, make sure to keep engaging your old and new followers with brilliant content. If you do this consistently, they’ll stay with you.

Also, learn as much as you can from the engagement data you captured during the contest. Did it bring in as many fresh follows, or as much publicity as you expected from it? Take the lessons you learn with you, as you’ll need them when planning subsequent contests.

Final Words

Social media contests are a proven magnet for brand engagement. If you use them right, they’ll yield fine results for your social media presence, and your brand as a whole.

Featured Image Source: Impact Branding and Design

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Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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