While contests have been around for centuries, they have recently taken on a new life with the evolution of social media. Contests are not the answer to every marketing challenge, but you should consider making them a part of your social media plans. Whether your event, venue or destination is big or small, contests can help drive engagement at a minimal cost.
Contests aren’t always successful and don’t always magically drive engagement. The most successful contests are usually very simple, while the contests that fail are usually too complicated for the participants to understand and engage.
So, what is the key to keeping your audience engaged? Simplicity! Ease! Fun!
The most effective way to keep your contest simple is setting an easily manageable objective. What results are you shooting for? What do you want to gain from the post? Be sure to think it through logically by following these steps:
- Set Goals: What are you trying to achieve? For example, do you want to gain more likes, comments, views on your video, or acquire new email addresses?
- Consider your Audience: Who are you targeting? It is important to hone in on who your demographic is for the post. Are you trying to reach men or women, kids, teenagers or maybe basketball fans? It will be easier to generate your contest once you have narrowed down on who you want your message to reach.
- Determine the Contest Time Frame: For small contests where your only objective is to receive likes and comments, we suggest that you run daily contests. For a more complex contest that you want to acquire more personal information or a lengthy submission, we advise that you run the contest for a longer period.
- Create a Prize Package: Everyone wants to win, especially when they can win multiple prizes in one giveaway! The bigger the prize, the more information you can require from participants. Plan a budget on how much the prize will cost your venue, event, or destination.
- Execute – Plan the Fulfillment: Know how you can deliver the prize and how to execute the entire plan. Do you need to mail the prize to the winner? Do they need to pick it up?
- Prizes: To have a great contest, you need to provide prizes. Everyone loves to win things. What is it that you can afford to give away? It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to be relevant to your venue, event, or destination. You can work with local partners in giving away hotel stays, restaurant gift certificates, concert tickets, etc.
Here are 5 simple ideas to get you inspired for your next event!
Contest #1 – Likes and Follows
Facebook likes and follows are simple and easy contests to execute with hundreds of options and ideas:
- Help us get to 12,000 fans! When we get there, we’ll give away FREE _____ (concert ticket, 2-night hotel stay, etc.)! SHARE this status for your chance to win!
- Be sure and ALWAYS use compelling images.
Contest #2 – Caption This
Caption This Contests are always a hit! From our experience, caption contests generate more responses than any other contest. Find photos from your past event or images from around your destination. Make sure they are fun, a little goofy and generally aesthetically appealing. Fan favorites are usually animal photos. (explain what this is a little more. Maybe give an example?)
Contest #3 – Photo Comments
Generating interaction among your fans is a great way to build community. Posting a colorful photo will catch their attention in their News Feed. Here are a couple of easy examples:
- FOOD! Everyone loves food. Post a photo of a unique food item.
- KIDS! Post a photo of a young kid having fun at your event or destination.
- HISTORY! Post an image of a historical building or spot.
Then have them post a photo in the comments with their favorite food, in front of a landmark, etc.
Contest #4 – Instagram
Instagram has become the social media platform of choice for many Millennials and Gen Zs (people born between 1980 and 2012). When engaging with this age group, make sure your prizes are things they would want to win and are “trendy”! Don’t be afraid to use hashtags.
- Double tap and win: Post photos on Instagram. “Double tap this photo and follow us on Instagram to automatically be entered to win a prize pack. Winner announced Monday.
- Tag three friends to win: “We’re giving away ____ (ride tickets, a hotel stay, gate admission, etc)!! Tag 3 friends to win. #Giveaway #Tag3 #Fun #Friends
Contest #5 – Re-Tweets
Twitter contests are super easy to execute and don’t take a lot of time. Here are few examples:
- Re-Tweet: We’re giving away a 2-night getaway at our seaside hotel. Retweet to win #VayCay #Fun #GetAway
- Creative Answer: Explain in 140 characters or less why you deserve to win free tickets to our event. Make sure you tag us to be eligible #TheEvent
So, there you have it, a few simple ways to get more social engagement. If you haven’t run a contest yet, give it a shot and let us know how it goes!