One of my Facebook friends who has her own bakery business posted a contest with a photo of the most wonderful looking cupcakes (and, I know they tasted good too).  I found myself excitedly commenting for a chance to win.  I didn’t win, but I was still happy to have supported her efforts to market her business.  So, I also now watch her page more closely so I don’t miss the next opportunity to win something beautiful and delicious!

When it comes to smaller, local business contests, I don’t mind participating, but I rarely bother responding to popular brand giveaways.  I feel good about doing what I can to help raise awareness for local businesses for one thing, and for another thing, I want to see small business succeed in general.  I like the idea of supporting someone’s dreams and seeing them happy and flourishing.  Be good.  Do good.

How do you feel about social media contests?  Do you take the time to participate?  Do you respond with scepticism?  Do you avoid them because you don’t want to share personal information?

Social media contests can be an excellent way of raising awareness for your business, growing your fanbase, learning more about your audience, and creating more engagement on your posts that boost visibility through platform algorithms.  They can be fun too!

There are rules to adhere to though when hosting social media contests, and different channels have different rules.  Facebook can take action against your page in several ways, and these include:  suspending fans from liking your page for a certain period of time, removing likes that were accumulated over a certain period, taking away your page access, or even completely deleting your page.  It isn’t necessarily in Facebook’s best interest to take severe action against business pages because they make money through advertising, but be aware that they can if they choose to.

The most common rules that I see broken through contests hosted on Facebook is use of sharing and tagging.  You cannot require your fans to share a contest post to their page or their friends’ pages and you cannot tag your friends for a chance to win.  So, stop it.  You’re not supposed to do it.  Just stop it.  Play by the rules.  Now, there are always ways to word your contest guidelines that may “inspire” participants to tag their friends but you cannot technically require it (just FYI if you’re feeling sneaky, want to beat the system, and theoretically get more engagement).

Contests details must be written very clearly.  You must specify what you are giving away, who is eligible to win it, and how and when your winner will be chosen and announced.  You must also release the platform from liability by stating that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with it.

Contest apps are also available that will help you follow the rules and attain useful information from participants including their email addresses and insightful demographics upon which you can grow your email database and understand your clients or customers more thoroughly for marketing purposes.

Facebook and Instagram are two platforms that make hosting contests easy and entertaining while being effective.  Twitter and Pinterest can be useful if your audience is active there.  You may want to review the official rules before launching a contest, and those rules are clearly defined on each platform.

What can you offer your audience?  Do you think that it would benefit your business or organization to host a contest?  Do you need help organizing a promotional giveaway?  The High Road Agency can help!  Contact us now to get started.

Tip to consider: Keep it simple! Ask a simple question to create engagement.  The more simple the contest participation requirements, the more likely you are to have a successful contest.