How To

Running a winning social media competition

by Ella Measom |

Competitions have always been a popular tool in a brand’s social media strategy, especially social media competitions as they can lead to an increase in your online community and a boost in engagement. But with users’ timelines flooded with brands hosting competitions, posting “WIN a free holiday” is simply not enough to make it a success.

After running successful online competitions for a selection of our clients (including three pup-ular years of our very own Chuckit! Challenge), we know what steps need to be taken to make sure your brand comes out a winner!

Here are some of our top tips on how to make best use of a social media contest.

Rules are rules

Although Ts and Cs can often be overlooked when running a competition, as PR professionals it’s important to keep updated on the terms of service of social networks for our clients. The terms of service for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all different and always evolving, so it’s important to know what is expected from you or else you risk your competition being taken down.

In addition, make sure you have created competition Ts and Cs that are easily accessible to entrants that provide information such as entry requirements and prize details so that you are fully covered. If you’re collecting data, you will also need to make sure you are complying with the new GDPR regulations.

Be socially smart

Firstly, you need to choose where you will host your competition – Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Bear in mind which out of the social channels has the largest and most engaged audience, as this is where you will have the biggest impact. However, if you’re looking to grow an audience on a specific platform, hosting a competition is a great way to achieve that.

Keep it simple

Next you must choose what the mechanic for the competition will be. You want to make sure that the entry method is simple and only requires people to complete one or two actions to ensure the highest number of entries. The more you ask your followers to do, the less likely they will do it. However, simple doesn’t have to mean boring!

We have found that photography competitions result in high levels of participation, as people love to share pictures of things that they love! For instance, the popular Chuckit! Challenge where hundreds of entrants share photos of their beloved pooches in a bid to ‘walkies’ away with the top prize – a £1,000 dog-friendly holiday.

This is also a chance for content curation. According to Adweek, 76 percent of consumers believe that content posted by other consumers is more honest than the content posted by the business itself. So as long as it’s disclosed in your Ts and Cs, you are then able to share this valuable user generated content on your page.

Spread the word with hashtags

Branding is critical to promoting your competition. Create a unique name and hashtag that users will recognise for your competition. This also enables you to monitor entries.
Make sure your hashtags include buzzwords such as #win, #giveaway and #competition, as well as hashtags that are relevant to your target audience, as this allows users to discover your competition if they aren’t following your page. As well as using these hashtags, make sure the text in your posts include emojis and capital letters to excite fans – I mean if your brand doesn’t seem excited about your competition why would your followers be?
You should also consider creating a public page, though third-party websites like Woobox, which showcases all the entries when the hashtag is used. You can then direct followers to that page to get inspiration from other entries (or just scope out their competition!).

Keep your eye on the prize

Now let’s be honest, how good the prize is will have a direct impact on how many entries the competition receives.
Make sure you consider your target audience and choose a prize that is relevant to both them and your business. Consider teaming up with brands that have synergy with yours for a chance to offer additional prizes and reach a larger audience.

A picture is worth a thousand entries

Creating a selection of visual assets to use alongside your social posts will help give your competition an identity. Make sure your graphics are eye-catching and contain all the relevant information such as the prize and what you want your fans to do – but keep in mind that if there is too much text on them that you won’t be able to promote the content with a boosted post on Facebook.
Try mixing up your competition posts by showcasing some entries that you have had so far to encourage others to enter.

Crown your champ!

And lastly, all that is left to do is select your winning entry and publicise it on your social media channels. Seeing is believing and showcasing your winner will prove the competition is real and the prize has been won!