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5 Things a Startup Must Consider Before Launching a Social Media Contest

The number one challenge for online marketers and most specifically for startup marketers is to keep the followers engaged on social media, because social media yields results only when the connection between your followers and your company’s social channels is real, and ongoing.

You may create a temporary buzz with the smart use of visuals, but that’s not going to last longer than a couple of days. This is where you can leverage the power of social media contests to drive excitement and attract followers’ activity with little budget.

However, it’s not as simple as tweeting “who wants to win and iPhone?”

You need a well thought strategy and swift execution to make most out of your upcoming social media contest. This article will list five most important things every startup must consider before launching a social media contest:

1- Contest Type &Timeline:

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Where will the contest take place, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, any other platform or across multiple platforms? By filtering the platform, you should also know how people qualify to enter your social media contest, i.e. like/follow, like/share, voting (drives better engagement), submit entry etc.

Timeline is most important and so should be considered as top priority. Ideally, you should first decide a date when you will announce the winners and then streamline the strategy according to available time frame. Things you must figure out in the beginning include:

  • When entries open/close
  • When promotion starts
  • When to get the creative ready
  • When to finalize the contest rules
  • When judging starts/ends (if applicable)
  • And any other issues that you need to cover before launch

2- Prizes

This is the most important thing for your audience and so should it be for you. This is where you have to be creative, because you have to drive engagement while being on a startup budget. Remember to consider the objectives of this effort, i.e. you want to motivate and invite people who are openly interested in your business, and not just “contest hunters” to win random prizes.

So, if you sell sports good, give away a sporting good, if you offer cleaning services, offer XX hours of free cleaning service, if you are a restaurant, giveaway a value meal for two or more and so on.

3- Broadcasting Strategy

This is an important consideration because your contest is not going to produce any results if it not heard about. So, you have to make sure that you have the right propagation planning for your contest both at the pre-launch and launch phases.

You must spend some time to figure out how to give your contest an instant lift-off in the critical early days of the promotion and how to keep the word spreading while the contest is going on.

Here are some ways with which you can devise a strong broadcasting strategy for your content.

  • Encourage your employees to spread the word before launch, and of course get them to attract social connections when the contest is live.
  • Send a newsletter update to your subscribers.
  • Promote the contest in relevant groups.
  • Run a paid promotion on highly active and relevant Facebook pages.
  • Run social media ads, i.e. right after the launch.
  • Get a good voting agency onboard to give your contest a thrust. Check this website to see what kind of votes you may need to give your contest a boost.

Remember that there is nothing like “soft launch” for social media contests, because most of the social network algorithms consider the slow starters unimportant and throw them down in the timelines. So, make sure to have an intensification strategy in place too, i.e. amplify your contest through networks like Reddit, Outbrain, Taboola, and StumbleUpon, etc. And yes, no matter if you are running the contest on one platform, you can promote it across multiple platforms too.

4- The Community Management

Contestants and the prospects will have a lot of questions for sure. Some will be easy to answer, but some may not be. So, make sure to have one trained person dedicated to answer all these complex queries. Moreover, there may be some comments which require moderation which may not be an issue during working hours, but certainly it can be set back during night and non-office hours. So, make sure to have a coverage plan for nights and weekends.

5- Crisis Management

With a social media contest where you aim to engage audience in a healthy activity in short term, your long term goal is to build trust and reputation among your target audience. But there can be a situation where your brand’s reputation is at stake, or your competitors are trying to turn you down and at that very moment a little flaw in your contest strategy can backfire. If you already have a social media crisis plan, it’s great to integrate in your contest plan, but if you have never created one, this is probably the right time to get it done.

Just in case, if something goes immensely wrong with your contest, you can activate your crisis plan instantly to avoid reputation loss.


The Bottom Line:

Contest marketing is a great way to engage your customers and prospects while building a trusted brand, but it requires a hefty amount of effort to strategize and execute the plan correctly. I am sure, the above tips would be helpful in strategizing your next social media contest.

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