Are you planning a social media competition?

When I work with brands, one of the first things I am often tasked with is increasing their audience and reach. Many are under the impression that the only way to grow an audience is by sharing lots of content, and yes that works, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The type of content you share, where you share it and how you promote yourself and your online presence. Not all of your content that you share is seen by ALL of your followers, and often this is the case with paid for content too. So it is a real challenge to try and target your audience, but if you think outside the box a little and encourage your audience to engage, you might just reap the rewards.

A social media competition is a fantastic way to reach an already existing audience, re-engage them and also grow your audience. First though it’s important to decide what your objectives are. Is ‘just’ it to grow your audience, or are you also looking to build an email database, recruit staff or invite people to an event? By realising your objective, you can tailor your competition.

A social media competition or promotion can cause quite an online stir and increase activity. Your competition requires planning and execution.

Here’s my checklist of things you’ll need to create a great social media competition:

  • Where will your competition take place? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Your Blog? Or across multiple platforms. Just make sure you can effectively monitor and manage all of these platforms and to expect an increase in engagement due to your competition.
  • How will people enter? There are hundreds of variations, but there are a few main ways your competition could allow people to enter. They are: Sweepstakes (nothing required – most common on Twitter); Connect (like/follow the company’s social account to enter); Like (like a particular piece of content to enter); Share (share a piece of content to enter); Vote (state preference from among multiple pieces of content to enter); Create (develop user-generated content and upload to enter). Important to remember that the more you ask your audience to do, the fewer will do it. The younger your audience, the more comfortable they will be creating content for your competition, which might be images/video etc.
  • What’s your competition name? Think of something that your audience can identify with but try to keep your contest name short, as long names will eat up your characters in tweets and social media ads. You might also want to think about a hashtag to run alongside the competition, but make sure you use this is all comms around the competition.
  • When will you run your competition? Think about key dates. This is pretty important! Something you need to decide early on and stick with. Working backwards is a good way to start – from the date you are going to announce your winner, then think about how you will select the winner, when entries close, when promotion starts and any other key milestones.
  • Graphics and imagery. For any competition you’ll want to think about how graphics and imagery to support your competition. These might be cover and profile images, logos, headers, landing pages, emails, promoted posts and any other form of native advertising. Make sure you know your sizes for each of the networks too. For Facebook, remember the 20% rule when creating graphics for promoted posts.
  • What’s the prize? It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything to do with your product or service, but it is good if it at least related to what you do in some way. Choose something you know the majority of people will want to generate more awareness for you and your brand.
  • Plan your content. It’s a good idea to think about all of your content for your competition and its promotion beforehand. You might also want to get them checked by your legal team beforehand too.
  • What are the rules? This is one of the most important aspects of your competition. Make your rules clear and concise and ensure they are readily available for entrants.

I hope you find these tips useful, and good luck with your social media competition!


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