How to Hold a Contest on Twitter, Facebook, or a Blog

Building Product Manufacturers can learn how to shape up their marketing strategies by using some mainstream consumer marketing campaign techniques.

If you are on Twitter, Facebook, or are a frequent blog reader, you're probably following someone or are a fan of a brand that you like.  So that means you are obviously already a fan of Chusid Associates,, and are following @ChusidAssociate on Twitter.  You may even be the lucky winner of a prize or two due to the contests your favorite companies have held (like me! -- I recently won a trip from Southwest and Marriott Napa and a TBD surprise from Burke Williams Spa).  I have been a contestant in many other contests but wasn't as lucky.

                                 This is an example of a contest that I did not win but wish I did. It was done
                                 via Twitter, Facebook, and having customers join their email newsletter lists. 

More and more companies are starting to hold contests via Twitter, Facebook, and their blogs in order to drive traffic to their websites, gain brand ambassadors, and to establish their reputations as passion brands who care about their customers.

As soon as you create a decent-sized social media audience for your company, it's time to keep them coming back. What does everyone love? Free stuff.  What better way is there to keep people coming back to your site? That's right, give them a free window, or door, or 75% off an order and free shipping!

Step 1: What type of contest should I have?   

A) Frequent vs. Less Frequent Contests
-Frequent contests will drive more web traffic to your sites since you invite people to come back for more competitions on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.
-Less frequent contests are more spread out and usually involve more expensive prizes.
-Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to have the highest web traffic. If you plan to have a frequent contest, hold your first competition on a high traffic day so that customers actually participate. You can change the schedule after you've gained followers, but try to remain consistent so your customers know when to return to your site and can even set a weekly calendar reminder.
-For frequent contests, some companies will hold competitions on their off days (such as a Sunday) so that they get more web traffic on a day that they don't usually post anything and also so people who can't get onto social media sites during regular M-F business hours can participate.
-As I mentioned above, remain consistent. For frequent contests, consistency is key so that people remember what day your competition is on (try to stray from holding a competition at the same time/day as your competitors).
-For either contest type, publicize the event on all of your social media sites.

B) What do I ask my customers/contestants to do?
-Some companies will ask 3 trivia questions that relate to their products or services and the first person to answer all 3 correct in the comments field below or Twitter feed will win the prize.
-Other companies may choose a winner at random. They may give certain guidelines for the contestant pool such as they need to be a fan of the company on Twitter, Facebook, and they need to join their email newsletter list.  They may also say you have to post updates to your friends on Facebook or Twitter.
-Photo contests and creativity contests are always fun, but the judging is more subjective and might upset some contestants or make them feel that the contest may have been rigged (solve this by having the customers do the voting). The contests will become more interactive and get you more web traffic if you have your customers vote to determine the winner.

Step 2: Drive traffic to your website.
-A lot of companies that use the trivia method tend to ask questions that the contestants can only find on the companys' websites. For example, ask them a detail about your newest product and why it's so innovative. Then maybe have them define the science behind your product or look for an answer that involves a term you've coined.
-This helps increase the company's web traffic and therefore may turn into an asset when trying to get advertisers for the company's site.
-Make being your company's follower on Twitter, your fan on Facebook, and entering their name onto your email newsletter list a part of the winning criteria. If you don't want them to feel forced into doing all three, at least tell them they will increase their chances with each new way they connect to you.

Step 3: Give them the prize on time.
-In a recent contest I won, the prize still hasn't arrived and it's been over 2 months. This might be a glitch in the mailing system but they claimed to have re-sent the prize and I still haven't received it.  I am a nice person so I'm not going to go bash the company and post all over their online sites, but other people may not be so nice.
-Social media is a great tool that can be used to your advantage, but can also be used against your brand if you don't meet the customers' expectations.
-If you do send them their prize on time, they will most likely announce it to all of their friends on social media sites, granting you more publicity.  They may also take pictures of the prize or experience and post those. Both of these benefits should drive fresh prospects to your site.
I'm sure I haven't covered all aspects of how to hold a social media contest, so feel free to read a similar article here.

See my recent post about a photo contest idea a roofing company held here.