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A Winner's Guide to Social Media Contests


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Integrate the promotional power of social media contests into your marketing efforts with SnapApp's free guide!

Published in: Business

A Winner's Guide to Social Media Contests

  2. 2. Let’s Get Started, Shall We?Are you looking to further engage your audience and pump up excitement for your brand? Insome way, we all are, right? The social revolution demands that brands push out contentacross as many channels as possible in order to connect with and acquire customers. Blogs,videos, and photos all serve as great vehicles for increasing engagement and building brand What We’ll Cover:affinity. But what’s even better than consistently delivering great content to your audience? Developing Your Ideal ContestIncentivize that exact same audience to produce great content for you. How? Run a Participant Personauser-generated caption, photo, video or writing contest! Determining Your Marketing/BusinessBy delivering different engagement levels based on the specific nature of your audience, Goalscontests are able to generate a 34% lift in web traffic. How? Contests reward your most loyal Choosing the Type of Contest & Prizefans with opportunities to show off their creativity, while encouraging your newest fans toengage with your brand through voting. Even better, contest entries naturally build a library of Selecting Promotional Channels &original, user-generated content that can be used for future communications. And with a total Knowing the Rulesof 3 distinct periods for entry, voting, and winner Analyzing Resultsannouncements, contests fuel the cyclical participationlevels that marketing and community managers worktirelessly to facilitate.Whether you’re B2C or B2B, running a social media contest isa highly-effective way to generate qualified leads, drivesocial conversions and engage your fans and customers.Convinced yet? GRAND PRIZEWell, we actually don’t want you to jump in too quickly. Thebest contest is not the one with the coolest prize or thespiffiest design, it’s the one that is pre-planned and wellthought out – that’s what this guide will help you do.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  3. 3. 1 Determine Your Participant PersonaEvery good marketing effort starts with the audience! By carving out a specific profile orpersona for your contest, you’ll easily be able to make decisions about where to promote, whatgoals to set and what type of contest to run. Contests tend to have 3 different types ofparticipants that fall under your overall persona, each with its own distinct behavior. Consider the following: Are you targeting a new audience or current customers? How much do they know about your brand/product/service? Are they buyers/users or influencers? Where and how does your audience Spectators – Joiners – Creators – give feedback most often? What online Arrive at a contest via a link Partake in easy-entry Engage at the highest level, places do they “hang out” at? from an acquaintance and competitions and engage in contributing photos, videos, What are their biggest professional or tend to engage at a higher level contests by voting, and writing samples personal challenges? What solution do shallow level commenting, and sharing to contests you want your contest to showcase? How do you want your audience toObviously every company would love to have thousands of creators contributing content to feel? Is the tone supposed to be funny,their contests, but that’s rare. The key is to maximize user experience for each type of person, competitive, professional, etc?while encouraging them to engage at higher levels. For example, provide spectators of a What strengths do you want tophoto contest with an easy browsing interface, allowing them to more easily partake in the reward? Is your audience creative, techvoting process as joiners. savvy, clever, thoughtful, etc?In general, the spectator-joiner-creator audience breakdown works, but if you’re going tomaximize the effectiveness of your campaign, you need to look at your audience with an evenkeener eye. Take a look to the questions to the right. Your answers should dictate the verynature of the contest that you run.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  4. 4. 2 Establish A PlanSet Your GoalsContests are exciting! In fact, sometimes they’re so exciting that it’s easy to forget why exactly you choose to run them in the first place. Before you jumpin, clearly define and prioritize your goals. Do you just want more Facebook likes? Pinterest followers? Are you hoping to collect leads for a mailing listor sales pipeline? Do you want to drive traffic and promote your company’s brand? A clear set of goals will help you make necessary adjustments afteryou launch your contest.Now that you know WHO you want to target and what you hope to achieve, you mustdecide what type of contest will be most effective in engaging your audience and drivingdesired outcomes. Know your target audience for better results!Pick Your Poison: Captions, Photos, Videos and Essays, Oh My!Just like there’s a suitable prize for every target demographic, there’s an ideal promotion type to attract the right kind of participant. Your choice of acaption, written, photo, or video contest should be based on your participant persona’s activity level and propensity to help you achieve your businessobjectives. With each choice, the volume of entry and level of engagement work in opposition of each other. The higher the level of engagement thatexists in your contest, the lower the volume of entrants. For a better idea of this relationship, check out the diagram on the following page.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  5. 5. Establish A Plan cont. LO WSitting atop the pyramid are video contests, which VIDEOhave the greatest barriers to entry and BARRIERS CONTESTconsequently bring in the lowest volume of entries. TO ENTRY NUHowever, videos will always bring in creators who Mare deeply invested in your brand, and they can also BE HIGH PHOTO UPLOAD / Rbe the perfect medium for B2B companies looking OFfor some easy publicity and pumped-up traffic. WRITTEN CONTEST EN LOW TR IES Expert Laser Services, a B2B printer retailer and service provider, saw tremendous results with their “Destroy Your Printer” video contest, CAPTION HI creating brand buzz, increasing traffic, and GH building inbound links. Plus, they accumulated a CONTEST valuable library of content with zero in-house production!In the heart of the pyramid lies photo upload and written contests. Each type brings in more entries than video contests because the entry process isless time-consuming. The length of the written contest impacts its placement in the pyramid. The longer the essay is, the lower the volume of entry. Boston inbound marketing agency 451 Marketing ran a B2B social media contest asking companies to explain how social media could help grow their business. The winner received a 6 month lead generation program valued at $42,000. The contest generated brand interest, established thought leadership, and supplied the agency with a set of social media examples to utilize in future conversations with other clients.Caption contests are the easiest way to attract the largest number of participants because the barriers to entry are so small. The photo is already there;all your participants have to do is call on their creativity and post a response. Keep in mind that each contest type has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The key is to understand the engagement tendencies of your audience. Will your creators invest time into making videos? Are your joiners more willing to vote for photo or essay submissions? Can you incentivize spectators to participate more easily with caption contests? You must be able to answer these questions before selecting the type of contest to run.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  6. 6. 3 Pick Your PrizeA prize can also impact volume of entries and incentivize more folks to complete a long entry process. Just be careful that a great prize doesn’t diminishthe quality of the lead – or the sincerity for the motivation to enter. As mentioned before, knowing your audience is key. You want your prize to not onlybe well received by your current audience, but also to attract the right kind of visitors – visitors who will become loyal fans/customers. Third Party Prizes Generic third party prizes, like a TV, computer, or mp3 player might be tempting because they’ll generate a lot of interest, but they will likely spawn an audience who will be less responsive to follow-up campaigns. The key is to offer a prize that is tailored specifically to your target audience. That way, you’ll attract the right people- people who won’t ditch you once your shiny prize is off the table. A Product From Your Business Business products or consulting services can be great prize options for B2B companies running social media contests. Does your company host regular events? Consider giving away airfare & accommodations along with an event pass. By keeping the prize in line with your business’ core offerings, you automatically identify and bring in your target audience. Intangible Prizes Intangible prizes are great for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they don’t cost you anything! Participants can be incentivized to enter a contest if there is a possibility of public recognition. For example, Jimmy Kimmel ran a hilarious video submission contest asking parents to submit YouTube videos of them telling their kids that they ate all of their Halloween candy. The prize was simple: winners were featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  7. 7. 4 Choose Your ChannelsHopefully you’re already thinking of multi-channel promotions – that’s the best bet for driving attention to your contest. However, you need toconsider the strengths of each channel you hope to use. For example, Pinterest’s visual nature makes it great for photo-based contests, Twitter’scharacter limit naturally makes it an excellent medium for short answer contests, and Facebook is a great host for content based promotions, as theEdgeRank algorithm feeds off audience participation and sharing.What’s better than running an awesome contest on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook?How about running an awesome contest across all 3; Plus your website, mobile,and print all at the same time?! How? Some third-party platforms (but not all!)offer compatibility across the broadest range of channels. Make sure you askyour vendor about functionality unique to each medium.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  8. 8. 5 Know The RulesObey FacebookWhen it comes to social media contests, Facebook’s rules are airtight in outlining what you canand cannot do. You can visit, to read the rules in full.But in general, they break down to this: - You can’t use Facebook functionality as a means for entering a contest - Entrants must release Facebook of all liability - You can’t notify winners via Facebook - You must have your own entry form - Promotions must be run through Apps on - Violating any of these policies could lead to your Page getting shut down, and worst of all, losing ALL of your fans. Don’t risk it! Partner with a trusted vendor to help navigate the rules.Respect PinterestPinterest is the chill to Facebook’s fire, looking at contest rules more like guidelines. Pinterestasks you to simply provide users with clear rules on your company’s website. The request is really in your best interest. Since Pinterest is still a relativelynew social network, users can be vulnerable to illegitimate promotions. So in order to maximize the reach and effectiveness of your campaign, makeyour rules clear!General RestrictionsAn expensive lawsuit will ruin any contest, no matter how successful the engagement level. Always check for up to date laws and consult a professionallegal counsel. Here are some general rules we found online: - Except when explicitly outlawed, anyone must be able to enter. - Official rules must be available at all times. - If your target audience includes children under 13, make sure your sweepstakes is COPPA complaint. - If they are under 18, parental or guardian permission is required to accept the prize.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  9. 9. 6 Set Safety RailsHow can you avoid hampering viral buzz but still control your “creative” audience? Allowyourself to maintain control over the voting process. One way is to select the finalists of thecontest yourself, then open up voting. Just make sure to clearly communicate the nature ofthe voting on the contest landing page. Expectations: Some social media contests take aStructuring the parameters of a photo contest is crucial. While you might want to get less-than expected direction basedthousands of entries, it can bog things down, and it’s usually not a good idea to display all of on an audiences… how shall we saythem on your contest entry page. Too many options can be overwhelming for spectators, this? …creative interpretation oftaking away from a smooth user experience. The best practice is to allow people to easily participation.browse through entries from beginning to end. And if you really don’t want to cap the numberof entries, you can always manually rotate in photos as the contest progresses. Just ask Mountain Dew, whose “Dub The Dew” soda naming campaign was hijacked by pranksters to list less-than-tasteful flavor options.Control SystemWhen it comes to controlling your contest,the key, as always, is to understand yourcommunity. Give your fans the freedomthat you think they can handle.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  10. 10. 7 Launch & PromoteFinally, you’ve made it past planning and can launch your awesome contest. But how long should it run for? And how do you continue to drive traffic?If you’re not sure, 4-6 weeks is a great starting point for the length of your entire contest! This will give you enough time to keep activity high whileretaining the interest of your fans. However, you also want to think about timing and promotional strategy for each phase of your contest: Entry - In general, try to allow 2-3 weeks in order to maximize entries without losing interest. However, as always, it depends on the type of contest that you choose. The higher the level of engagement, the more time you should allow your audience for entry. On the promotion side, share interesting entries across your social channels. This will pump up interest and drive additional participants to your contest landing page. Voting - Structure the length of the voting phase based on the parameters you’ve set for your contest. Usually you’re going to want to allow at least two weeks, but this will often overlap with entry time. Encourage participation across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other channels to maximize engagement. Winner - Make sure that you spend enough time publicizing the results of your contest. Your winner will obviously love the exposure, but your audience as a whole will also appreciate being kept in the loop. As always, share across all possible channels.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  11. 11. Launch & Promote cont.Manage your communityMake sure that you have someone dedicated to responding to questions and commentsacross all of your social communities. It’s important to provide a positive experience for your How do you direct maximumentire audience. Use email alerts and #hashtags to monitor your contest on all channels. traffic to your contest? TryIf you’re worried about not receiving enough entries for a photo contest, feed it with a couple these strategies:of your own submissions at first to get the ball rolling. Send an email blast Buy Facebook ads Tweet and post on Facebook regularly Program your #contesthashtag into your contest apps twitter button # Blog about your contest Pin a photo linking to your landing page Include a link in your email signatureSHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  12. 12. 8 Analyze & EngageNumbers MatterIt’s critical to monitor key metrics throughout your entire contest.Tweaking your strategy during each phase can be essential to a successfulcampaign- and even more successful campaigns in the future. Entry - Analyze your entry and impression levels. If the number of impressions far outweighs the amount of entries, it’s a sign that you should lower the barriers to entry of your contest. Voting - Receiving lots of entries but seeing lackluster voting numbers? Make sure your voting tab is providing an optimal user experience. It’s possible that overcrowding in your contest gallery is the problem. Winner - Ideally, the winning entry of your contest is a share worthy piece of content. If your viral lift (traffic due to socially shared links) isn’t as high as you want, tweak the messaging of your share posts.In life, we learn through experience. Your contest should be no different. Let it serve as a guide for all future marketing campaigns. Analyze whatworked, understand what didn’t work, and determine how you can improve the next time around. What’s the easiest way to measure the results of yourcontest? Use a third-party application with a robust analytics system.Sustain ConversationA social media contest should never be a one-time deal. Once your contest has ended, make sure to announce your winner across all social channels.Capitalize on this announcement— fans will be eager to know the winner—and tie in a teaser for an upcoming contest or other event that you wantto promote. If you collected permission to email entrants, send them an email. This can be a great way to ignite communication in a new channel, butbe clear about how often you plan to continue your email conversation.Most importantly, don’t stop engaging with your audience, especially now that you’ve attracted a whole new set of eyes to your brand. Post videos andphotos, ask interesting questions to illicit replies, and share polls, personality tests, and trivia quizzes.SHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  13. 13. What is SnapApp?So you’ve made it through all 8 steps. Congrats! You now possess the know-how to launch and manage a contest that will engage your audience whilecreating big buzz for your business. So how do you get started ASAP? Use an out-of-the-box contest solution, like SnapApp. About SnapApp SnapApp is a comprehensive marketing platform that facilitates high-value audience interactions through the creation and distribution of interactive quiz, sweepstakes & contest apps. With the SnapApp platform, you create engaging contests, sweepstakes, trivia, polls, personality quizzes and more that can be shared simultaneously across the web, social and mobile. SnapApp’s interactive apps enable you to monetize your social lead generation, increase traffic and stickiness to your website, extend your reach through viral sharing activities and drive higher engagement with your hard earned audience. Contact us or learn more at 1-617-923-0000 @snap_app 1-855-SNAP-APP SnapAppSHARE THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at
  14. 14. ResourcesL2 Think Tanks Magazine, Digital IQ Index, July 2011 Running a social media contest Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats 3 Tips for Effective Social Media Contestst-numbers-stats/ Beans Case Study Boston Firm Launches B2B Social Media Contest Uses Pinterest to Power “Pin It to Win It” Photo How to Get The Most Out Of Your Social Media ContestContest most-out-of-your-social-media-contest.html-to-power-pin-it-to-win-it-photo-contest/ Martha Stewart Case StudyThe Beginners Guide to Running a Social Media Contest 5 B2B Social Media Success Storiesners/ Marketing: Running Successful Sweepstakes & Social 18 Ways to Successfully Promote Your Facebook Sweepstakes orPromotions Contest sfully-Promote-Your-Facebook-Sweepstakes-or-Contest12.pdfRunning a Social Media Contest? Use This Checklist Tips to Launch a Contest on Pinterest THIS GUIDE Learn more at Build your contest now at