4 Best Tips for Launching a Social Media Contest

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facebook macro

(Image: https://pixabay.com/en/eye-facebook-detail-macro-face-1553789/)

Social media is the most influential platform in today’s digitized world. Everyone connects here. For business, it’s a place to best cast a wide net of influence over followers and potential clients alike.
One of the ongoing hot trends in social media is the online contest. It’s a great way to really reach out to your followers and get them to share your brand with their network as well. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have been the arena for such online promotions.
But while it really is an effective marketing approach, there are certain points businesses need to consider before launching their contest online. Here are a few of them:

  1. Pick Your Platform Wisely

You can launch your social media campaign on several platforms once you’re a bigger business. But for smaller brands, finding focus is more important. That said, different platforms will be fit for different types of campaigns.
Finding the social media platform that best suits your purpose is essential to its success. Take note of each site’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s guaranteed that there are millions of users for popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Reaching out to them, however, means tailoring the content you want to appear in your contest.


  1. Be Aware of the Site Policies

Each social media site has its own policy about certain activities. Due to the popularity of this method, there are already specific guidelines for online contests held on social networking sites.

Here are some of the key points to remember for promotion in each platform:

– Acknowledgement that your contest is no way sponsored, endorsed, administered or associated with Facebook

– A complete release of Facebook by your participants

– All contests should be done and administered in Facebook Pages and that personal timelines could not be used in administering the promotion. For example, “tag your friends to enter the contest” is not allowed).

ShortStack has created a detailed infographic with examples you can refer to in order to ensure that your Facebook contest is legal. Refer to this link for the official Facebook promotion guidelines.

– Discourage participants from creating multiple accounts to join your promotion

– No posting of duplicate or near duplicate updates or links and do not include this in the contest guideline. For example, “the one who retweets this the most wins a prize” is not permitted as this might cause users to be automatically filtered out of Twitter search results

You can check out the full guidelines for promotion here.


Since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 the guidelines for promotion is about the same. It’s important to note that in using Instagram as a contest platform, “You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex. Don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo). You can check out the promotion guidelines here.
These policies are there to ensure a fair contest for both brands and followers. You can still raise brand awareness even as you adhere to these rules. In fact, it might make the challenge even more fun.


  1. Set Clear Guidelines

contest rules

(Image: http://www.magnumicecream.ca/contest_rules_winner.aspx)

Even as social media sites already have their own policies, make sure your business itself has some rules about the contest. The good thing about this is it’s not as regulated, and can be free for you to shape.


As long as you adhere to your chosen platform’s policies, you can create your own rules for an online contest. To give you an idea of innovative and interesting online brand contest rules, check out these brands.


Some brands like Bing decided to make use of user-generated content. Others like Citizen Eco Drive offered free watches to those who can answer online trivia. Whichever strategy you choose, make sure it’s something that really resonates your brand identity as well.


  1. Determine Your Own Objectives

An online contest is fun and all, but stop and think for a moment – what do you really want to achieve in launching this campaign?


Is it to gain a larger following, engage existing page members, or to further convert more leads? Your campaign’s character and strategy will depend heavily on your answers. It may seem like these are all the same, and to some extent this is true.


But think about the following first: target market, competition, current resources, and long-term goals. Once you’re all set with these, you can launch a great social media contest to your benefit!




Stacey Marone is a freelance writer  for College essays scholaradvisor and blogger. She likes exploring new cultures, languages and gathering interesting facts. In her free time, she also does volunteer work and organizes some activities for children. You can follow her on twitter.


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