In General

Are you looking to gain more attention? Do you want more people to follow you on social media or sign up for your email newsletter? These are just a few things you can accomplish with a contest.

Running a contest allows you to boost brand awareness in an exciting and fun way. You get to promote your business in a way that motivates people to eagerly connect with you.

But even though contests can be a great way to make these goals a reality, they’re not something to do on a whim. You need to take an informed approach when designing and running a contest.

1. Know what you want to gain

It starts with knowing what exactly you want to gain from your contest. What are you hoping to accomplish? Do you want more people on your email list? If so, then your contest will require people to sign up by providing their contact information, e.g., their name and email address (if signing up with an email address, add something in the terms and conditions about what they’re agreeing to). If you want people to follow your social media page, then this will be part of the requirements. When you’ve determined what you want from the contest, you can then determine how best to set it up.

2. Choose the platform you’ll use

Next, you need to determine what platform(s) you want to use for your contest. It could be in your best interest to run your contest on the platform that tends to have the best traction already, since you know this is the platform your audience tends to gravitate toward. You can choose to run your contest on more than one platform, of course, but this can be a little more grueling since you’ll need to monitor each one. You’ll also need to be aware of the contesting rules each platform requires you to follow.

3. Know the platform regulations

This leads us to our next point. If you’re running a contest on social media, you need to know what the platform rules are for doing so. Each platform is likely to have their own specific regulations regarding what’s allowed. Be sure you read this before you put time and money into a contest that gets shut down.

4. Figure out what your budget will allow

When preparing a contest, you’ll need to be aware of your budgeting requirements. What will your budget allow in terms of ad spending and prize offering? Your budget is a part of the determining factor for what prize you’ll choose. Another part of choosing the right prize is knowing your audience. Choose a prize that is geared towards your target consumers. It’s better to do this than to choose something that appeals to a greater audience outside your target, because doing the latter could mean that you gain more traction with people who won’t stick around once the contest is over. Also, if your budget allows it, consider offering smaller prizes to all entrants as a consolation.

5. Create contesting rules and a FAQ page

Before running your contest, you need to make sure that you have a FAQ page ready and specific contest rules. Be aware of any applicable legislation that could impact your contest.

Contestants need to have clear guidance regarding your contest. Your FAQ page should be easy to access and address any questions that you think your audience may have.

6. Make an end date

In creating the stipulations of your contest, don’t forget to add a deadline to enter. This helps motivate your audience to enter quickly. You can also use a countdown to continue to create that sense of urgency.

7. Use great visuals

When posting your contest, make sure to include great imagery. You can use images of the prize if it’s a physical prize. If the prize is a service, you’ll need to be a little more creative, choosing images that have more to do with how the person will feel receiving the service. The important thing is to use high quality visuals that are created to the ideal image size for the platform they’ll be posted on. Make these images more impactful for your brand by adding a logo to them.

8. Make your contest mobile-friendly and easy to enter

Make sure your contest is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. People won’t want to enter a contest if it’s too difficult. Speaking of, they’ll also be less likely to enter it if it takes too much of their valuable time away. Make it quick and easy, don’t require they fill out several questions in order to enter. Consider keeping it to a maximum of three questions.

9. Use hashtags to get noticed

Depending on the platform you decide to run your contest on, you may want to utilize hashtags. You can create a contest specific hashtag (something simple and short) and/or use other related hashtags. This is especially true for platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

10. Partner up with another company

One more thing to consider when creating a contest is if you can run the contest with another company. When you partner up, it can allow you to gain more attention for a larger audience base. Both companies can share the contest with their audiences and require that the contestants follow both businesses involved to be allowed to enter.

11. Check the analytics when your contest is over

When your contest is over, you’ll want to know how well it performed, not just in the number of people that entered but beyond that. You’ll want to see what posts they engaged with more, what pages on their website they spent more time on, etc.

If you’re using a social media scheduling platform that offers analytics, you can check these to help you better formulate a plan for the future and gain more audience insight. Beyond social media performance, make sure to also check out your website or landing page’s analytics to see how people behaved on your page.

Contesting may seem complicated, but it’s really just a step-by-step process. Once you follow the steps you can create something unbelievably valuable for your brand that can allow your business to grow in new and exciting ways.

If you’d like help creating a social media contest or to learn more ways to build your brand, contact us at Headline Consultants. We’d love to help you grow your reach.

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