Launching a contest via social media channels can be a great method for building a larger fan base, engaging more thoroughly with current fans and followers, and increasing overall buzz about your brand in the online space. But don’t be fooled – no one is going to suddenly flock to your Facebook page or Twitter account or website just because you are giving something away. How you promote your social media contest will ultimately determine its success or failure and your ability to use the contest to achieve your online marketing goals.

Even if you have a massive social media fan base who appear to be thoroughly engaged, simply posting information on your Facebook page or Twitter account about the contest probably won’t suffice. If you want to reach these people who are already connected to your brand online, you should consider…

…Creating a Facebook Ad Which Targets Only Those Users Who Are Already Fans Of Your Page. It’s easy for your status update about the contest to get lost in your fans’ newsfeeds – no matter how regularly they interact with your page. By setting up an ad promoting the contest that will only be shown to these people, they are more likely to take note of your message, click through to your page, and enter.

…Tweeting Directly At The Followers You Converse With The Most. Think it’s easy for a Facebook post to get lost in your fans’ newsfeeds? It’s a million times easier for your tweet to get lost in the Twittersphere. Since you have something to say that can benefit your followers and isn’t purely promotional (more on that below), it’s perfectly acceptable to @mention the users you converse with most often to let them know about the contest. And don’t be shy about asking for retweets – if any of these users have large Twitter followings, it could help your contest spread quickly.

…Posting Information About Your Contest in Comment Threads On Your Facebook Page. If a fan either posts something on your page’s wall or comments on something that you’ve posted, they’ll receive a notification of any further comments made. Don’t go comment crazy and post a link to your contest in every thread, but if a fan’s message is related to the contest, try commenting on their wall post or comment with information on entering. They might not enter, but they will certainly receive the Facebook notification, making them more likely to click through to your contest page.

On the other hand, if you want to use your contest to increase the size of your social media following and connect with new members of your target audience, why not try…

…Enticing Potential New Fans To Like Your Page As A Step In Entering The Contest Via Facebook Ads. Using Facebook Advertising’s unique targeting capabilities, you can create ads which target those who might be interested in both your brand and your contest. Set up a custom Facebook landing tab for these ads so that when users click through in an effort to learn more about your contest, they are first required to like your page before proceeding to the entry process. Although Facebook Promotional Guidelines forbid the act of liking a page as being the sole entrance factor in a contest, liking a page in order to enter is permitted.

…Pitching Influential Bloggers To Post About The Contest. Bloggers need content, and you need mention of your brand in high-visibility places online. If you can carefully craft your pitch in a way that highlights the contest’s benefit to the blogger and his or her readers, you just might garner placement on a high-traffic website, effectively reaching a whole new audience.

In closing, here are a few things you may want to consider when developing ideas for your brand’s contest:

-Does your idea provide value for users but also remain on-brand?

-What rules and legal guidelines will you need to adhere to (this tends to depend on the platform which your contest is hosted on)?

-Does your idea require too much effort on the part of the entrant (2-3 steps tend to work best)?

-Does the prize resonate with your audience?

Social media contests done right provide a fun way to engage with current and potential customers. If you take into account everything we’ve mentioned in this post, you’re well on your way to a successful online giveaway.


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