Is your social media marketing all about contests? For many brands, a social-driven contest is a way to invigorate a fan base while building community and increasing Likes and followers. Yet, some over-rely on contests, often running them as a substitution for developing a thorough social strategy. A contest is a piece of the social media plan, but a brand needs to constantly be thinking, “what’s next?” Getting value from social media contests comes from what you do with the results afterwards.
Finish and follow through
This is a basic, but it needs to be said that planning a contest involves having a well-thought out finish. Remind fans of an impending end date so a time constraint is always present. When the last submissions are in and the deadline is reached, end the contest. You don’t want fans unknowingly entering after the deadline and being excluded, especially if your contest involves a high-value action, like creating a video. Once the contest is full completed, keep fans in the loop by announcing the winner(s), sharing any content the winner(s) created, and having the winner(s) share their prizes through photos and comments. Not only does this extend engagement from the entry period but it shows real results that will drive higher entries in future contests.
Don’t let hashtags die
Running a contest with a hashtag? If your hashtag is getting positive traction (and…choose your hashtag carefully), then keep the tweeting alive!
Reusing a contest hashtag (and choosing a tag that can be used after the contest, i.e. not using something like #fanbridgecontest) brings the popularity driven by the contest to a hashtag that may have struggled for organic adoption. The incentive of a prize, though, boosts initial usage.
Always collect emails
Who entered your contest? Were they new fans or existing followers? What’s their preferred method of contact?
If you aren’t tracking your entrants and collecting data on fan behaviors, you’re missing out on the long-term benefits of running a contest. A Like or tweet is not enough. Make sure that you’re collecting email addresses as part of the entry, along with any other data that you need to know about these fans, like where they live, whether they’d like to opt-in to your email list.
WIth an email address and demographic data, you can now understand the kinds of fans who entered your contest and market to them more effectively in the future. An email address gives you a direct channel to a fans that gets higher levels of engagement and better sales conversions.
Segment, segment, segment
Collecting emails (and associated data) is step one. After the contest, you’ll need to segment this data. How you segment depends on your brand. Do you differentiate your product offerings by gender? Then segment winners by gender. Is your business event-based or location-specific? Geotargeting will guarantee that the right fans get relevant emails. Tracking how fans entered or what they did after entering can help you deliver more effective marketing, too. For example, did fans come to your entry form from Twitter? These fans might be more likely to take higher-value actions if they’re Twitter based.
Everyone likes to be recognized for participating. With your newly gathered data, you can thank fans for entering with some kind of reward. Send discounts, special offers, free downloads, or early access to fans who entered your contest. Even though they didn’t win and the contest is over, you’re continuing to engage these fans and building an opportunity to monetize these new relationships, too. You can use your deeper segmentation data from above to target and test different rewards, as well.
Celebrate your winner! Have the winner share photos of their prize like Talenti’s pint-cycling winners did, or create short profiles about winners just like Lucky Magazine does in some of its issues. Featuring winners is especially important if you plan on running multiple contests, as it puts a human face to the prize and says to other fans, “this really could be you next time!” Increasing your entrant pool with each contest means that your gathering more ways to communicate with fans.
Don’t treat contests as an isolated social media strategy. Instead, look to how they can build momentum for your bigger goals, like building sustainable, high-value fan connections. A well-planned contest can generate growth far beyond the end date.
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