Get Social: The 3 Social Media Contests Your Brand Should Try

Social Media is typically a grapple for attention with your audience, whether they be your friends, family or customers.

And as brands step over the tripwires of politics, fake news and unsolicited food pics, one strategy tends to cut through the clutter and engage the base: contests.

Brands who do contest marketing effectively know that there is more than one way to execute a social media contest. As experts in this world, Cliffedge Marketing is here to shine a light on the distinct purposes behind three different social media contests and help you figure out which format is right for your brand.

3 Social Contests to Consider for Your Brand

1. The Database-Building Social Contest

Arguably the most underestimated option, the Database-Building contest focuses on inviting new audiences to participate in your unique brand experience.

This contest requires a longer format, usually driving traffic to a dedicated landing page where participants exchange their personal information (i.e., name, email, zip, etc.) for a chance to win a compelling prize. And thus, the brand grows its database of contacts while ensuring quality lead generation due to their interest in your offer.

The goals of the Database-Building social contest: Drive traffic to your website and get prospects to opt-in to your marketing materials (like a newsletter). Then use remarketing tactics to target that audience again with future offers.

Plus, once a participant submits their entry, the landing page can include social share links, unique promo codes, links to Shop or your Store Locator, etc. to keep them engaged beyond the contest itself.

Our Opinion: While this contest can be promoted across your entire social media footprint, your audience participates in the contest on your owned property: your website. That’s an important and distinguishing factor. Other contests stay put on social, which limits a brand’s opportunities to re-engage a new community of fans acquired through their contesting efforts.

A Database-Building contest allows brands to continue the conversation with consumers beyond social media, which in the long-term helps you funnel them to a point of purchase.

2. The Timeline Social Contest

This particular social media contest tends to stay within the boundaries of social media. It’s basically a “like and comment” style contest that runs exclusively on Facebook and is geared to increase engagement, not necessarily web traffic. (Check out this recent holiday contest example from Family Attractions Card.)

As we mention in the Basics of Sweepstakes and Contesting, your brand must be careful to follow Facebook’s contesting rules or risk getting the contest (and maybe your page) shut down. These rules include things like not making “tag a friend” or certain actions the means of entry.

The goals of Timeline Social Media Contests: This one is all about increasing social engagement – in other words, growing your social audience, building brand awareness and stirring up interaction. As a secondary goal, this can also be used to increase social reviews which are great ways to bring attention to your brand.

Our Opinion: This social media contest tends to bring the highest engagement rate, but that needs to be your goal since it’s also typically the weakest type of contest in terms of benefiting your brand long term. As we say, “Likes don’t pay the bills.”

3. The User-Generated Content Social Contest 

The last social media contest format is a great way to grow content around your brand. The User-Generated Content Social Contest uses photo-style timeline contests to encourage users to share photos and media in the comments as a means of entry on Facebook. (Check out this Valentine’s example on Facebook from our friends at Country Bob’s.)

On Instagram, participants share a photo on their personal feed and tag the business or use the contest-specific hashtag so that it’s counted as an entry. As always, when you’re doing it for the ‘gram – don’t forget to follow the official promotion guidelines of Instagram.

The goals of the User-Generated Content Social Contest: We love how easily brands can collect an arsenal of user-generated content to use in future content planning, while increasing social engagement and social followers on their platform.

Our Opinion: Since this type of promotion has the most hurdles to entry, they typically have the lowest participation rate. On the flip side, that makes the entries you receive super qualified.

Choosing the Right Contest for Your Brand

Whatever you do, it’s important to remember that social media has evolved quite a bit in the last decade. Now, to get noticed, you need to allocate an ad spend to support it. Unfortunately, organic growth on social media is dead – meaning, if you don’t spend, you’re invisible. Even to your existing audience!

To learn more about impactful contest marketing strategies, get started with some free advice from the shopper marketing experts at Cliffedge Marketing.
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