3 Comprehensive tips for creating a successful social media contest


Social media contests nowadays have developed a common perception among businesses to be a highly ineffective social media strategy.

According to businesses, a typical social media contest provides nothing but a temporary hype and customers who are only interested in the prize.

However, the truth is far from the reality.

The key to cracking a social media contest is and has always been, following a highly exclusive approach, starting right away from setting the contest objective to its promotion and finally the post contest follow up.

So what are the driving factors of a profitable social media contest?

Let’s find out:

  • Attracting quality leads

Focussing on “Quantity lead generation” is one of the most prevalent mistakes that marketers make, while designing a social media contest for their overall digital marketing strategy

Do you know, what’s a direct outcome of choosing quantity lead generation as your primary goal?

 Setting a contest prize that is highly generic.

Keeping generic prizes such as smartphones, watches, t-shirts etc., will do nothing but invite hoards of unrelated leads that offer you an almost negligible scope of conversion in the future.

Thus, it is crucial to ensure that you consider “quality lead generation” to be at the core of your contest strategy.

In simple terms, design your contest is such a manner that provides your target customer with strong initial engagement and creates a genuine scope of targeting them with lead conversion tactics post the contest.

So how do you create this initial engagement for your target customer?

 Instead of simply laying down the tactics, let’s take you through a real-world social media contest and in the process, make you familiar with the tactics.

The make-believe contest:

 “Let’s say; you own a business that is into providing various software for marketers such as analytics, lead generation software etc.

You are planning to launch a new software that helps businesses in creating the perfect social media posts for all platforms.

You plan to launch a social media contest that invites your potential leads to sign up and come with their best social media posts that they have created for their respective businesses.”

The best post wins the contest.

The winner of the contest gets a free subscription to your analytics software for a year.”

Nailing the punch line of your promotional copy:

Never let the punch line of your contest’s promotional copy go vague, as they have immense potential to appeal to your target audience immediately.

An ideal punch line, in case of our make-believe contest, would be:

“Marketers, Post your best, and grab a one-year subscription to our analytics software for free.”

Affiliating your promotions with a popular event:

 Affiliate Marketing has proved to be highly successful as it helps a business to leverage the extravagant levels of hype that is created prior to the release of a popular event.

Live events, popular TV shows or films, anything would do, but there is something that you should keep in mind:

The chosen event should very closely associate with your contest, or the type of product that you are trying to promote through the contest.

In this scenario, it would be most appropriate to launch your contest with the new season of a highly popular TV series that is related to marketing/advertising, something like “Mad Men.”

  • Achieving optimal social sharing

Conventionally, a business would always choose to conduct a social media contest, on a platform where they are having the greatest number of followers, engaging with and talking about them.

But, that doesn’t mean you should not leverage the potential of other social media platforms to drive in traffic to your contest.

However, it’s seldom that a customer would voluntarily share your contest across his friends on other social media platforms.

Not unless he has a strong motive to do so.

What works best in this scenario is, if you can provide your contest participants with a hard-hitting incentive, specifically something that can help them secure their win in the contest.

Other than being hard-hitting, the Incentive also has to ensure that it immediately grasps the viewer’s attention.

Therefore, Incentive-based Pop-ups are the most suitable choice in this scenario.

The only thing that you need to ensure is to create a heading that immediately communicates the value offering to the reader.

It’s after this that you can lay down the various conditions, for social sharing of your content.

Coming back to our make-believe contest, mentioned in the previous part, an ideal pop up heading and subheading would be something like this.

You should always make sure that your incentive pop up is provided to you customer, within a few seconds of him visiting your contest page.

As this is when, the consumer interest regarding your contest is fresh and at its peak.

You can always consider Incentive-based Pop-Ups as you as the first line of your social sharing arsenal.

Now let’s talk about the second one: Referrals

You can opt for the simplest trajectory when it comes to referrals, i.e., creating a unique URL code of your contest, and asking your participants to invite their friends through this URL.

One thing you should always remember is to keep a streamlined approach when it comes to deciding the incentives for your various social sharing strategies.

Why unnecessarily confuse your customer with multiple incentives?

Now comes the most important question:

What’s the most effective place, where you can inform your viewer about the referral code, and how?

In my opinion, the most lucrative spot would be the page where a customer fills out his personal details form prior to participating in the contest.

Typically such a page has a details form, after which there is a CTA that directs a customer towards a page where certain regulations and guideline are laid about the contest.

What works best is if you can create a CTA, in between the personal details form and the final CTA.

This CTA can inform and direct your customer to a referral page that has the URL code, which is to be shared.

The page should also explicitly state the reward that the viewer is getting for sharing.

An ideal CTA button for social sharing can be something like this:

“Want to have an edge over your competition?”

  • How to frame the follow-up strategy?

You have successfully concluded the social media contest.

Now it’s time to get on board with the task of lead nurturing and conversion, something that has been the primary focus of your social media contest.

So why is post-contest follow up so crucial for your business?

This is because a social media contest almost always provides you with a new niche of leads among your overall target customer base.

This is a group that is specifically interested in the product that is being promoted through the contest or the one that is up for the grab, as a prize.

In the case of the contest mentioned above, it can be the new social media posting software or the analytics software that was kept as a prize.

Therefore your post-contest follow up strategy should primarily include e-mails that offer content that is particularly tailored to this group of new leads.

Here a few e-mail types that you should positively include in your Marketing Automation software or email software while following up:

Offer Based E-mails:

They form a big chunk of your lead nurturing mechanism.

Sadly, there is always a single winner to your contest, and it’s very obvious that the other participants would feel a bit dejected.

This is where your consolation e-mails can acutely hit their pain points.

However, you should always keep in mind that a consolation message is never the primary motto of your e-mail.

It is to effectively leverage the genuine interest that this customer group has shown in your product.

Therefore, you should always follow up your consolation message with discount codes or coupons regarding the product.

Two quick tips

 Always attach a personal message along with discounts, to make the customer feel that you care for them.

Secondly, always include a certain time period in your discounts, so that the customer feels a sense of urgency and doesn’t shift his interest towards other related products or contests.

Coming back to our make-believe contest, this is how an offer based e-mail should sound:

“E-Mail subject- Hey, you did well

The consolation message- We heartily thank you for putting in your precious time and efforts, into our contest.

Discount offer message- However, all is not lost!

We are providing our new social media posting software at 40% discount, just for you.

Hurry up; the offer expires in a week”

Content-Based E-mails:

Launching an e-mail campaign that has gated content can be regarded as the first step when it comes to successfully converting your new leads.

Offering your leads with premium content regarding the product they are interested in, can help you in collecting relatively more personal information about them, primarily their phone numbers.

This is something that can help you kick-start, an altogether separate segment in you follow up strategy, i.e., targeting your leads through push notifications

Following up your leads through push notifications can be considered a superior strategy to successfully convert a potential lead, than e-mails.

When it comes to E-Mails, a potential lead has first to open the e-mail, read through the majority of it, or watch a video instead, and finally click the CTA to reach your landing page.

However, in case of push notifications, ‘it’s just one catchy message, that is enough to land your customer to your desired landing page.

In simple terms, there is a significant reduction of efforts from the ‘customer’s side.

This provides him with the immediate engagement and incites him to go to your desired landing page, or your product videos, or social media posts.

Wrapping Up

Today’s online consumer has developed a highly demanding attitude, owing to the sheer number of options he has.

Therefore, it is essential that you drop the idea of having a standardised/generic approach while framing your contest strategy.

The following three statements aptly justify the above statement and summarise the whole article as well:

  • Clearly define your target customer group for the contest and create promotional Content that is strictly based on this group.
  • If lead generation is your goal, then make it a point to extensively leverage all your social media platforms, other than the one where you are hosting the contest.
  • Always frame a separate e-mail strategy and campaign for your social media contest.