The Secrets of Running A Successful Contest on Social Media / by Nicole Paulus

Last week I was doing my usual "peruse Facebook newsfeed for a few minutes while I wait for my picture to upload" when I saw that one of my friends (who also lives in the Phoenix area) made a comment on The Hotel Clarendon Facebook page.

They were running a contest that required you to 1.  SHARE the post announcing the contest 2. LIKE their Facebook page, 3. say something nice in the COMMENT section of the post. I wasn't going to enter but then I scoped out their prizes, 10 1-night stays at their hotel, 10 1-day cabana rentals, 10 VIP Tickets to an art event downtown, 10 tickets to their Halloween party, 10 tickets to their NYE party, and 10 bottles of bacon infused olive oil.

Once I saw how many prizes they were giving away, the caliber of the prizes, and how easy it was to enter, I decided to try my luck. Boy am I glad I saw that post because I ended up winning a one night stay in their beautiful hotel! I have to give a special shout out to my handsome pup for helping me win the hearts of the judges. Thanks Rudolph! :)

Thinking about running your own contest on social media? Here is a list of 5 tips that will help you create a successful one. Need help running one? Email me here. 

1. Enlist the help of third party sites  

Read up on the rules of running a Facebook contest without the use of a third party site (it used to be against the rules and your contest would run the risk of getting shut down if Facebook got wind of it.)  Here are a few sites that are easy to use and have cool templates; heyo, rafflecopter, shortstack

2. Give away LOTS of prizes

The more chances people have of actually winning something the more likely people will enter your contest. The Hotel Clarendon gave away 60 prizes total--that's a LOT! 

3. Make the entry easy on the entrant

Image by Joe Sullivan, Flickr

Image by Joe Sullivan, Flickr

The more hoops people have to jump through, the less likely they will enter. The Hotel Clarendon's entry was easy--just say something nice to them along with liking and sharing their page with my followers. EASY! 

4. Choose prizes that are something your business already offers.

image by Duncan C, Flickr

image by Duncan C, Flickr

Don't lose site of why you are running the contest in the first place, you want to build a fan base that also belongs to your target market. Giving away 100 iPads might generate a lot of buzz for your brand, but is that winner in Cambodia ever going to come into your coffee shop and order a latte after the contest is said and done? Probably not.

5. Choose winners with a large social media following or impressive digital footprint

This may seem kind of icky, but again, don't forget why you are running the contest in the first place. You want to reach audiences that you wouldn't normally have access to. If you choose a winner with a large twitter following, he or she will probably give your brand a shout out when they claim their prize, thus creating a wave of free buzz. 


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