Running successful social media competitions

| 01 Nov, 2016

Associate Director of Social and Outreach, Alice Reeves, provides her social competition checklist to illustrate everything you should consider when creating yours; from finding the right channel to tactics that provide long-term and wider marketing benefits.

So what is the point of your social media competition?

Social media competitions form an important part of a lot of brands' social media strategies. If you're active on social media platforms, you'll see competitions being run by brands everywhere. While these are fantastic for these shorter term spikes in engagement, what happens is that brands who run them fail to think about the longer term benefits that they could gain from the competitions.

While an increase in likes, comments, mentions, or shares might look fantastic for your monthly social media stats, you're not actually gaining anything in the long term beyond that short spike.

Some of the longer term benefits you can think about when running competitions:

Get participants to support future marketing and engage by:

  • Answering a question
  • Submitting a photo or video
  • Completing a data capture form/field like an email address
  • Opting-in to receive marketing material


Humanized content curation

What competitions are also fantastic for is content curation.

When running a competition, you can ask people to submit a photo or a video for use in your marketing.

If you're a fashion brand, for example, and you've got loads of photos of your brand fans wearing an outfit of yours, use them in your blog posts and social channels. This is a fantastic way of getting people to see your product in the way it's intended to be used rather than just on a faceless model on your site.

Generate brand advocates

What you can also do in order to get real long-term benefit from these competitions is, if you're giving away something like an outfit or an experience, turn your competition winners into brand advocates. A great way to do this is by featuring their content on your site wearing your products. If you're giving away an experience, send someone along to photograph it, to interview them.

Turn people into mini celebrities and brand ambassadors so that they'll keep coming back to your brand because they feel that loyalty.

Then, they'll do a big chunk of your marketing for you!

Be social channel smart

Before you think about running a social media competition, the first thing you'll need to bear in mind is where your biggest and most engaged audience is. For example, if you've got 100,000 Facebook fans but only 5,000 Twitter followers, then it makes sense that you run that competition on Facebook because that's probably where you're likely to get the most impact out of it.

Rules are rules

Another thing that you need to think about is you need to provide a full breakdown of the competition rules and the terms and conditions somewhere. A really easy way to do that is to pop it into a Facebook note which you can link to, or put a hidden blog post on your site that you can link to for the purposes of people entering the competition.

Every single platform will have its own set of rules for running competitions. That's not as scary as it sounds. They're all good at providing those clear instructions, just make sure before you design your competition and launch it that you're familiar with all of those individual rules. Another thing, it's reallyξimportant to have in whichever platform you're using to run your competition, a full release that states that they don't endorse, promote, or sponsor your competition in any way.

Channel tactic recommendations

It's important that you design your entry mechanism according to the platform that you're running the competition on, for example, you can ask people to:

Facebook: Like or comment on a status or share a photograph of something to your page

Twitter: Post a tweet asking people to reply to you and include a specified hashtag along with their image or video

Instagram: Share photos and then tag your account as well as use a specified hashtag

Pinterest: Pin a certain image and then mention you in the comments or use a hashtag

Those mechanisms keep it simple, but they're not necessarily going to be providing you with anything beyond that initial engagement unless you're using it as a content curation opportunity by asking people to share photos.

Competition tools

If you're looking to make your competition entry a bit more advanced, which means you'll get more out of it, you can use a ready-made platform such as Offerpop. What these do is they can be embedded either on a Facebook page tab or they can be reached via a standalone URL. When people are entering via that platform, you can capture their entry, you can capture all their data, and then easily export it so you can keep track of everything.

Another way of doing it so that you're in complete control of how people enter your competition is writing a blog post on your site or creating a separate page that has an embedded entry form.

That ensures that you're capturing everything that you need.

Another really great way to get long-term benefits from competitions is to use a platform such as SurveyMonkey where you're actually gathering audience opinion and market research. If you ask people to fill in a survey for a chance to win then that's absolutely fantastic, because not only are you capturing their data but you're capturing all of their opinions about your product, about your brand that you can use to inform your long term marketing strategy.

Barriers to entry

The more barriers to competition entry you put in place, the more hoops people have got to jump through in order to enter, the more likely they are to drop out of the process. Ensure that you're keeping the competition entry really simple. Just require people to take one or two actions at most. Make it really easy for them to get involved. That way, you're going to have the highest number of entries.

Find the hook

People absolutely love self-affirmation and self-identification, so could the results:

  • Align them to their favorite fictional character
  • Ask them to share content around things that they're really proud of
  • Be about something theyŠ—'re interested in that isnŠ—'t necessarily something you directly sell, but of a similar theme

Go-to-market and promote!

Another really important aspect is that social media is not just a case of build it and they will come. If you're going to run a successful social media competition, you have to work really hard at promoting it.

You can do this by using your brand owned content and include:

  • Adding a page to your website about the competition
  • Adding a banner to your home page while the competition's running
  • Include it in your newsletter or regular emails
  • Promote it sociallyŠ—– across all channels
  • Social media advertising targeted to your audience

Another way that you can increase the reach of your competition and promote it is by working with brands that complement you. You might be a company that, for example, sells furniture, but you know that you have a close affinity to a company that sells lighting.

Is there a collaboration that you can do where you're pooling your prizes and could grow your audience and reach?

That way, you're getting access to both companies' mailing lists and both companies' social media audiences which is going to be beneficial for both of you!

Want Jellyfish to originate and/or run a social competition for you, get in touch.


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