1. Contests Are a Great Tool for Getting Fans
Whether you are beginning with 10 or 10,000 fans or followers, contests offer an exceptional way to increase your fan base. We have seen clients go from 50 to 1,000 and from 15,000 to 30,000 Likes in a matter of days or weeks when running a contest. Of course, this is not the only metric to think about, but it is one measure of the power of a promotion. A basic sweepstakes with a lower barrier to entry often provides the best option for those just starting out with social media contests.
2. Contests Allow You To Engage Your Audience
In addition to increasing the sheer number of people who interact with your brand, a contest provides a conduit to deepen the connection as well. A user-generated content (UGC) promotion such as a photo or video contest is a great way to do just that. UGC contests tap in to the human drive to compete, and they provide an opportunity for everyone to experience their 15 minutes of fame. Most importantly, when participants upload their personal content (e.g., a photo or story) to your promotion, they are naturally vested in your brand.
3. Contests Are an Amazing Source of Data
With the lure of a prize, many people are ready to share criteria with you as part of the entry process. You don’t want to introduce too many barriers, but don’t miss the opportunity to learn a bit more about your consumers (i.e., how they heard about your promotion, what their favorite product of yours is, etc.). Remember that what you ask should be relative what you offer in return. In addition to collecting data as part of the entry process, you can also learn a great deal from the interaction and conversation that takes place around your contest.
4. Contests Allow Consumers To Do Your Marketing
How would you like to have hundreds or thousands of your fans helping to spread the word about your campaign? It is important to have a promotion plan that encompasses multiple marketing channels, but thanks to sharing via social media, contests today enable an exponential amplifying of your marketing message that was never available before the Internet.
If your contest includes a voting aspect, participants will be inclined to share through their social graph, asking friends and family to support their entry. Some good rules to follow in voting competitions: You are likely to see ten voters for every entry (often many more) as well as ten clicks for every shared link. These numbers represent a significant multiplier of traffic to your contest site or application as a result of consumers marketing to other consumers.
Like other tools, contests can be extremely effective when used as part of an objective social media strategy. Any consumer organization, as well as many business-to-business enterprises, can take advantage of contests to realize the four benefits shown above.
Before you start a contest, though, be sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations. Every state has its own contest laws — and some can be dicey — so do some research to make sure your promotion is legal.