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Hitting the Sweet Spot with Your Next Social Media Contest

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 by

Everybody loves a good contest, right? For the customer, the contest is all about the prize; for your business, it’s all about the new contacts you make and future marketing opportunities. Let’s take a look at five steps to hitting the sweet spot for both parties.

Determine Your Goal
When the contest is over, what will you have to show for it? Potential goals might include growing your fan or follower base, increasing click-throughs to your website, boosting conversion rates, creating awareness of a new product, getting customer testimonials, and encouraging likes and shares on your Facebook page. Social media makes it possible to accomplish goals far beyond the contact-gathering efforts of the business-card-in-a-fishbowl, so think outside the box (bowl).Start with something new and check .

Create a Plan
Best Instagram photos, video testimonials, creative pictures of a product in use, and content creation for your website all make great social media contest ideas. If you’re looking to grow your contact list, a simple click-and-share contest may help you accomplish your goal. Make sure your idea will actually help you reach the goal you determined in Step One.

Make the Prize Desirable
The quality of the prize should be relative to the amount of effort participants had to exert. A musician I know is currently running a Facebook contest in which participants send in recordings of themselves and compete for a chance to win a CD recording session. That’s a great incentive designed to reach out to serious musicians. If he wanted to merely increase the number of likes on his Facebook page, he could run a contest with one of his own CDs as the prize. Smaller effort, smaller incentive.

Spread the Word
Social media creates the opportunity for your contest to go viral if you package it right. Offer the right prize and the right level of engagement, and people will want to share the chance to win with their friends. You can also include an option to share your link as part of the entry process. Promote the contest on as many social channels as possible, targeting your existing fans first.

Announce the Winner
Don’t forget to showcase the winner at the end of the contest. It’s not only a feather in the winner’s cap, but also another chance for you to interact with all those new contacts.

Social media contests should be easy to enter and easy to share. In order for your contest to go viral, you need a solid plan, a desirable incentive, and a plan for getting the word out. Oh, and if you’re giving away an iPad, be sure and send me an invite.


  • Managing Partner of HMG Creative, father of two, runner, ping pong master, P90X extremist, now living in Austin Texas after 11 years in sunny San Diego, CA. Follow him on twitter @HMGCreative

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