social media contest by shahabbegum

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									3 Tips for Effective Social Media Contests
Curt Finch is the founder and CEO of Journyx, a company that offers time-tracking and resource
management software. Connect with him and Journyx on Facebook and Twitter.

Justin Palmer of Palmer Web Marketing has run
dozens of social media contests for his clients,
and gaining “likes” and “followers” is something
he does with relative ease. So, for any company
that wants to run a social media contest to gain
new business, Justin has the following advice:
Don’t.

According to Palmer, contests and giveaways are
effective at bolstering social stats, like the number
of followers. The problem is that these followers
turn out to be less likely to engage with the page again. However, there are exceptions to this
rule. Social contests can be highly effective, if they are done correctly, and under the right
circumstances. Here are three tips on how to ensure that.



1. Have a Goal


As is the case with nearly any marketing effort, social media contests must have a clearly defined goal in
order to generate any value at all. Most marketers think they know their goal, and it usually follows the
formula of, “I want to raise my followers on social by X amount.” Unfortunately, this approach is
fundamentally wrong, and few companies seem to know it.

While it is nice to have a large number of followers on various social channels, it should almost
never be the end goal of a contest. Companies need to delve a layer deeper. As Justin said,
followers gained from contests alone are unlikely to have much interest in the business beyond
the prize.

So, what do you ultimately want out of your contests? In most cases the answer is money. That’s
why you need to measure your actual ROI in terms of new leads or conversions from the contest.
Other goals could include, conducting research, or revealing a new consumer base. The point is
to determine what you ultimately want to achieve through your social efforts and measure the
direct impact of the contest.

Bullet Point Branding CEO, Bryan Fulton, had a lot of followers on social media, but needed to
find out more about his niche customers. In particular, he wanted information on potential leads
in the cosmetic field. He offered a free lipstick pen to the 500th follower of a contest. Based on
the specific nature of the prize, he was able to determine which clients were interested in the
product. He had a clear goal and was ultimately able to meet it.



2. Develop a Target


Having a defined target is just as important as your goal. Many social contests cast a wide net hoping to
draw in as many people as possible. This is counterproductive because it forces the business to cater to
an audience that either only cares about the prize or doesn’t really care at all. It is more effective to
align a target audience to a specific goal and market the contest to them.

For Volusion — an ecommerce platform — most successful contests were the result of the
specific nature of Volusion’s targeting efforts. In this case, the audience was “mompreneurs.”
Volusion knew that this was a growing ecommerce audience, and that many of these women
would appreciate sharing their stories. Part of the contest involved having the women describe
themselves and the reason they started their business. Many moms participated in the project just
to tell their stories, and one participant even described her entry as “therapeutic.” Because of
Volusion’s successful targeting strategy, they tapped into a rapidly growing market, and gained
many faithful clients.



3. Pick the Right Prize


Most contests feature a prize that can best be described as shiny. Think the latest tablet, vacations, or
just good old-fashioned money. Marketers assume that a lot of people will be drawn to this, and they
are correct. The issue is those people just want a shiny prize. In general, there are three types of prizes
that companies offer in contests: third-party prizes, a product from the business running the contest, or
intangibles.

Of the three categories, third-party prizes are the most common, and the most misused. Stephanie
Cicarelli, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Voices.com, ran a contest in January 2011
that featured an iPad as the main prize. Normally this would be dangerous. However, the goal of
the contest was to get photographs of singers in their studios or recording environment submitted
to Voices.com. The mass appeal of the iPad was reason enough for many contestants to submit
photos where they otherwise might have preferred privacy. In this case the appeal of the third-
party prize was leveraged for a direct, tangible win.

Prizes that come from the business itself can be just as desirable as a third-party product, with the
added benefit of less up-front expense and the creation of brand advocates. Also, since the prize
comes from the business running the contest, some targeting is already built-in. Powderhorn
Mountain Resort featured a contest that asked visitors to upload photos of themselves enjoying
the resort for a chance to win a free season pass. This was effective because their target audience
already loved the business, and it encouraged winners to return again.

The final prize category, the intangible prize, requires some creativity to use effectively yet can
produce a massive ROI. SpeakSocial, a marketing firm that focuses on the innovative use of
social media, ran a contest to drum up support for a new sushi restaurant, Roll-On Sushi Diner.
The contest allowed participants to submit ideas for the name of a roll that would be served at the
restaurant. The winner would have both the name of their roll and their real name featured on the
restaurant menu. The prize cost absolutely nothing, yet opening day was an enormous success.

								
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