5 Reasons Why Contests Should Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy

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Who doesn’t love a contest? Whether it’s a community raffle, a music competition or a carnival sideshow, there’s an instinctively competitive and primaeval feeling that comes with being in the running for a prize. It’s a lure that gets even the dreariest of humans excited.

Contests have long been used as promotional tools by businesses, and with the rise of digital marketing, they are now going social. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – you may not know it, but each of these platforms is almost purpose built to spread the good news about a contest to eager ears.

Why should your organisation involve itself in the social media contest game? Here are five particularly compelling reasons.

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1. Exciting prizes and rewards serve to lure new followers

If you’re toying with the idea of creating a contest, social media platforms offer the ideal stage on which to present. “Share” and “Retweet” buttons are there to be capitalised upon. You can get incredible reach from structuring your contest in a way that requires the active sharing of a post – there’s a reason that it’s common to see “like and share for your chance to win” on images and videos on social platforms. It works.

New eyes will be drawn to your page, and if you present yourself well enough you’ll enjoy a good rise in follower numbers!

2. Contests increase engagement

Not only will your social profiles be rewarded with new followers by holding contests, you’ll also likely find that your engagement numbers will rise. If people have a reason to like, share, favourite and retweet over and above simply showing their appreciation, it’s far more likely to happen.

You’ll also have noticed that Facebook offers up posts that your friends have liked, even if you don’t follow the original publisher of the post. With more engagement comes more reach via these means, forming a feedback loop of increased reach and increased engagement (which, in certain cases, ends in virality).

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3. Contests are cost effective

Over and above putting a prize up for grabs, a social media contest can be incredibly cheap to run. In fact, if you play your cards right the marketing of it could be near enough to free. While sponsoring posts for a few dollars will ensure that fresh eyes will see it, organically reaching eyes will leave you exactly zero dollars out of pocket. And when you use one of your own products or services as the prize you’ll be offering up something which will have a retail value far greater than its true cost to you. Contests are one of the most cost effective promotions in any business’s marketing arsenal.

4. You can learn more about your customers

As we’re all well aware, knowledge is power. Knowledge in this digital age of ours is represented by zeroes and ones shooting around the ether. Data collection is an important activity for any business eager to know more about their customer base, both current and potential, but it can be a difficult activity to carry out. Asking your audience probing questions doesn’t generally go down too well if you don’t offer them something in return.

Your contest can be that something. It gives people a reason to both share things about themselves and about their thoughts on your business. Create a form – one that’s short, punchy, and asks specific questions that encourage specific answers – that participants are required to fill out before entering the contest.

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5. You’ll create brand ambassadors

If you’ve ever won a contest before you’ll be fully aware that it’s something that’s difficult to stay quiet about. Because the message that you’re keen to spread is an overwhelmingly positive one, as a contest winner you’ll quickly find yourself turning into a brand ambassador – someone who preaches the good word about your organisation, and does so for free. With word of mouth forever being the most effective marketing method, creating brand ambassadors is invaluable for any organisation.

The reasons to host a social media contest go on and endlessly on. While your entire social strategy shouldn’t be based around them, a contest is a fantastic tool to complement your other social media marketing efforts.

So, are you feeling lucky?

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