With social media being the latest in a line of game-changing trends, it was only ever a matter of time before competitions made their entrance into this dynamic environment. You’d think that running a competition via social media would be straightforward and relatively inexpensive. Allow me to assure you that you’re unbelievably wrong.
I’d liken social media to a game of snakes and ladders, with constant stumbling blocks and rabbit holes to trip you up. It costs you time, money and eventually your sanity. Here are seven easy things to keep in mind as you plan and execute your next campaign. Do it correctly and you could reap huge rewards. Do it incorrectly and you could easily end up searching the classifieds for a new career.
1. Set measurable goals – and measure them
Just like any advertising or marketing medium, you need to report the results and booming success (obviously) of the campaign. But in order to do that, you need to actually have the data.
Start by creating a clear strategy with supporting tactics (if you’re confused about the difference, this might help). All of your goals should provide some form of value to the company, rather than just trying to increase the amount of consumers interacting with your brand through social networks.
Sure, it’s nice to have a million people following, liking, pinning and +1-ing you. However it shouldn’t be the purpose of a contest, since most people who’ll be entering won’t necessarily have much interest in your brand, product or service. They just want the prize, right?
You need to measure how many leads and sales you’re generating through social media. Thanks to Google Analytics, now you can! Another goal may include gathering market research on customers or potential leads. Have a think about what you’re really trying to get out of this – then measure it.
2. Laser in on a target audience – and laser them
Goals are important. But if you don’t know who your target market is, you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. This is essential. There are too many people on social media with far too many interests and usage patterns to simply shoot blindly.
Your business has a defined consumer who thinks and acts a certain way. They fit into a demographic. So if you’re not going straight for this consumer, then all you’ve done is attracted a crowd that’s interested in nothing but your prize, and will disperse rapidly after it’s gone. It’ll be short-term, ineffective, and costly.
3. Pick the right social media platform – and use it
Another reason why you need really need to know your target market…
Every social media platform has its own type of user, and you need to know which one is going to help you achieve your goals. If you need a bit of background, this is a good staring point.
There are billions of users on social networking sites, and your target market might only be using one or two of them. As a result, you could end up spending endless hours trying to attract the right customers on the wrong platform.
Figure out where your customers live. Then put billboards in their garden.
4. Find an epic prize – and offer it
We all love winning. And we love it even more when the prize is expensive or fast. If somebody offered me a bottle of water, I wouldn’t be inclined to waste my time providing personal details. Offer me a convertible, and I’ll give you my tax file number and bank details.
Easy as this may seem, you still need to make the prize relevant to the competition you’re running; and even more importantly, your business! Why give away a car if you manufacture umbrellas? It makes no sense. Yet if you’re a mechanic, and you offer twenty competition entrants free servicing for a year, that still sounds pretty good, right?
It’s a valuable prize for customers, it creates potential long-term business, has great word-of-mouth potential, and is plenty of incentive to enter a competition.
What can you do that will attract the right customers, provide value and create interaction?
5. Study the guidelines – and don’t ignore them
You’d be surprised how many rules there are about running social media competitions. Pinterest, Twitter and the rest of the social crew have their own guidelines you’re expected to stick to.
As an example, if you’re using Facebook, there are strict policies on where you can run promotions and how you should select and contact winners. If you don’t follow the rules, your company could be banned from Facebook completely.
Here’s a link to Facebook’s rules: https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php
6. Create a landing page – and get users to land there
You need to have a specialised page created that is targeted at the promotion. It’s where you should be driving all the traffic. Why? Because you’re going to design it in such a way that it:
- Looks incredible, exciting, and matches the brand’s personality
- Provides clear and instant recognition of what the promotion is and how it works
- Makes the process of providing details and entering the competition super-quick and easy
- Has updates about the competition and sneaky brand information
You’d be amazed at how much higher the conversion rate will be. This is a fantastic article that will definitely help:
7. Read the complaints and criticisms – and respond to them
I can guarantee you right now that people will complain. They will express concern and dismay. They will criticize and condemn you.
Why? Because they can.
The key lies in how you respond. If you do any of the following, you’ve officially thrown a grenade into a bonfire:
- Delete comments
- Ignore comments
- Become aggressive or abusive in return
- Tell them that they’re wrong (even if they are)
You need to be empathetic and willing to help. Thank them for their honest feedback. Tell them that you really do want to help, and that you’ll get in contact with them personally to resolve the issue – and actually do it. Find out more about why they’re so upset with you. If you handle the situation properly, you can easily turn a dissatisfied customer into a lifelong advocate.
There are probably 50 other things you could do to run a successful social media competition. These are just the basics. But it could completely change the final outcome.
Learn. Apply. Succeed.