How To Plan and Implement a Successful Contest Through Your Social Media Pages

By on March 23, 2011
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Planning and executing a contest that achieves its primary goals is something every business is trying to do – now that word has gone around about how effective it is.

Whether you’re looking to sell something, gain more likes, fans and followers, or simply to give something back to your fan base – a social media competition is the best way to do it. Here’s how to plan and implement a successful contest using your social media pages.


1. Read Your Promotional Guidelines on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube

Surprised? Many people are when a Facebook administrator takes down their fan page for violating their terms of use. Make sure that you spend some quality time reading and understanding their promotional guidelines. It will save you time, money and trouble. Check out the Facebook, Twitter and Youtube promotional guidelines here.


2. Decide What Your End Goal is Going to be

For your social media contest to be successful, you’re going to have to nail down your goals and make them happen. Your entire contest should be geared towards reaching that end result. Whether it’s boosting your online reputation, increasing word of mouth marketing, or getting more fans – each requires a different contest strategy.


3. Decide on The Platforms You’re Going to Use

Which social media platforms are going to make reaching your goals that much easier? Which of them will work together well? Decide if you’d prefer a photo contest on Facebook, or a video contest on Youtube as your central platform.

Then build your social media contest strategy around that core platform. For example, a video contest would originate on Youtube, but you’d be able to view the video on Facebook, and there would be a link about it on Twitter. Is this a quick contest, or will it take some time to get the results you need?


4. Formulate Exactly How To Make Your Contest Go Viral

For a contest to really become successful, it has to go beyond your marketing – and become viral all on its own. That means it’s your job to advertise your contest in the real world, as well as in your email signature, on all of your social media pages, on your blog – everywhere you possibly can. The more people see it, the bigger the chance that other people will see it and start promoting it for you for free.


5. Research Contests And Plan Yours Around a Simple Model

Though some contests can be complex and over complicated, when it comes to social media – simpler is always better. Give your fans one thing to do instead of three things. Something as small as this, could boost your ‘likes’ from 500 to 5000. Use easy sharing options like copy and paste, or an active link.


6. Track Your Progress and Announce The Winner Publicly

Use social media tracking tools to see how effective your contest was, and make positive changes so that your next contest is better and more effective. Don’t forget to announce the winner, as this will help to let your fans know that you did actually award the prize. More will enter next time because of it. Keep your business image intact, and don’t do anything that could endanger your accounts!

Have you ever run a social media contest? What happened? Tell us!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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