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7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Contest | Advertising & Marketing

social media contest how toby Jana Arnold | editor of entrepreneurdex.com

Social media contests and sweepstakes are the trend of the moment and customers are climbing on board. Follow this easy seven-step plan to promote your product or service to potential new customers.

There's nothing in marketing as exciting as offering people a chance at winning a prize in exchange for a little effort and personal information. It’s a win-win for everyone. According to Jupiter Research, 80% of all Internet users entered one or more sweepstakes in the past year.

Here is how you can create your own contest in seven easy steps.
1. Choose your contest type
A sweepstakes means that a winner is randomly selected by drawing a name. A contest means winners are selected by either audience voting or meeting some other criteria for them to qualify. Sweepstakes are better for large audiences and contests work better for a small, select group.

2. Design the contest to suit your business
A car dealership might run a contest to give away a car. This will draw people who need a car. If you have a web design company, you could hold an essay contest on why you love being a small business owner. The prize could be a free website. If you have an art supply store, you may want to hold an art contest to target artists. The prize should be something artists want and need, such as a year’s supply of oil paint. This will drive them back to you for brushes and canvas. Prizes can include cash, free products or services, and promotional items from your company like mugs or T-shirts.

3. Figure out your objective.
Obviously you want attention for your business. However, contests are also great opportunities to gather names and contact information of new potential customers as well as to inform them about your business.

Collect contacts: Your entry forms should include name, address, phone, email, plus Twitter and Facebook names, etc. Be sure to ask permission to make future contact so the applicant doesn’t feel used.

Gain awareness: Tell participants about your product during an online video they must watch before they fill out the entry form. Or send an email with entry instructions with information about your company or product.

Get information: Ask entrants to answer survey questions before they enter the contest or drawing.

Keep in mind that it's illegal to require people to make a purchase before entering and that you can't require or even suggest that making a purchase will increase the chances of winning. MORE

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