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How to Make Your Social Contest Count on More Than Facebook

Who doesn’t love a contest?  It’s a fun way for brands to engage with fans, foster creativity in their communities, and reward fans for their loyalty.  Contests are enormous drivers of engagement.  So why isn’t everyone running them?  Well, they can be a little difficult to track…anywhere but Facebook.


Facebook has made an easy option for community managers to run contests via custom apps that implement calls to action, making it easy to require page Likes and track submissions.  Set up the right app and your contest can more or less run itself.  The results are typically a positive surge in page Likes and engagement:

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The issue that community managers face is — what about Twitter and Instagram?

App-assisted contests may be a great way to run contests on Facebook, but community managers need the same results on Twitter and Instagram.  CM’s often settle for “running” their contests across channels by tweeting about their great new contest with a link to their Facebook app.  We know conversion rates go down anytime you force people to switch platforms; even for those that make the trip, we can’t attribute entrants back to Twitter.  Most importantly, we miss out entirely on the opportunity for engagement.  The result?  You devote your Twitter strategy to earning more Likes and Facebook engagement while Twitter and Instagram growth stagnate:

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Twitter & Instagram

To run effective campaigns on Twitter and Instagram, you need the right tools and the right approach.  It all starts with a #hashtag.  This is your identifier and it should be unique – #contest will not differentiate the conversation you’re facilitating.  If you’re brand doesn’t lend itself to a unique identifier, employ string theory to focus your participants: #company #contest.

Now you’ve got something trackable.  There is a conversation you own that you can influence, measure, and learn from.

The next step is to leverage the strengths of each channel to run a social campaign – not an app campaign.  Ask your followers to share specific content and to tag it with your branded hashtags in order to register their contest entry.  On Twitter, take advantage of all 140 characters by asking your followers to share a list, a lesson, or complete a phrase.  On Instagram it’s a no brainer – “share a photo or video with you [insert verb] our product.”  Just ask that contestants use the contest hashtag to register their submissions.

With a tool like Simply Measured, you can monitor contest #hashtags to track submissions, follow up with influencers, or retweet a submission that had your staff in stitches.  As a brand you show your audience that you care, you listen, and you identify with the same values as your customers.  In turn, your customers become active brand ambassadors, projecting a positive image of your brand directly to their friends and family.  This is social at it’s best.

Before you start handing out free t-shirts, check out Simply Measured’s guide to running a social contest to learn more about all the “fine print”.

Had success with a social contest and want to share your findings?  Share on Twitter with #simplymeasured #tweetatip.


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