Fresh eyes

Four tips for running a successful social media competition

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Jennifer Peacock Freshfield PR & Comms Manager

Published by Jennifer Peacock,
PR and Marketing Manager at Freshfield

As social media continues to play an important part in almost any modern communications strategy, there’s countless opportunities for businesses to utilise the tool to achieve their PR goals.

Competitions are an increasingly popular way of engaging with people and helping brands be seen on a wider platform, so here’s four top tips businesses need to consider to make their contest a success.

Establish clear objectives

There’s little point running a social media competition for the sake of it, there needs to be a goal in mind. These goals may include creating brand awareness, growing social media pages by increasing the number of followers, increasing engagement and interaction with your audience, or gaining valuable data to market your brand to. Establishing the objectives is the first step to take and will help shape the campaign.

Employ the right tactics to hit your goals

The way you run a competition will relate to your objectives for doing it in the first place. For example, if data capture is your goal, you’ll want to create a dedicated platform in which people can securely provide information such as an email address. Whereas if increasing brand awareness is your priority, you might consider a like and share campaign, for example asking Facebook users to enter by sharing a post to their network, therefore helping your brand be seen by a wider audience.

Incentivise wisely

People need an incentive to enter your competition, so you’ll need to offer a prize your demographic would genuinely want to win. This will help increase brand loyalty among existing fans or speak to potential new fans.

The prize should be commensurate with what your asking people to do to enter, so giving away something with large cash value should require something more substantial from the entrants. If you ask someone to share a post to be in with the chance of winning a brand-new top of the range car, the chances are they’ll doubt the authenticity of the competition and decide to give it a miss.

A competition we ran for an interior design company offered the chance to win an armchair to be upholstered in a fabric of the winner’s choice, requiring participants to submit a photograph of their favourite view through a window, resulting in high levels of engagement and generating new fans of the brand.

Plan for all eventualities

If there’s a lesson many brands have learnt the hard way, it’s that the public can’t be trusted not to make a mockery of your social media campaign, Boaty McBoatface being a prime example.

Walkers Crisps may also wish it had incorporated a moderating feature in their recent photo submission competition on Twitter. In giving away tickets to the Champions League final, members of the public hijacked the contest by submitting photos of infamous criminals and disgraced public figures which generated an automated tweet displaying brand ambassador Gary Lineker holding their images aloft.

As with any social media activity, a social media competition must be planned properly with all factors and outcomes considered; time well spent preparing for all eventualities can prevent embarrassing PR mishaps.

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