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Running a competition on Twitter or Facebook? How to get the basics right

Running a competition that compliments your social media strategy can really help you increase the size and reach of the audience you are targeting. You can increase your network size on the social web by getting new followers on Twitter, likes on Facebook, and by engaging with your audience by running a competition. Even though it sounds easy to run a competition on social media to build your network size, it’s important that you also focus on how to keep your network engaged even after the competition has ended so that people don’t unfollow you or lose interest as soon as it’s over.

It’s true that you will get many followers that aren’t really interested in your product or brand and they are only doing it for the sake of entering the competition, but you can also get many that are. If you are already using Facebook and Twitter in your social media strategy, how are you going to run a competition to engage with your network and increase your network size?

The power of Twitter lies in its real time nature and you can take advantage of the speed in which news travels on this platform. There are many ways you can use Twitter in your competition. Here’s a couple of examples:

  • Prize goes to the first person to retweet a specific update.
  • Prize goes for the fastest answer you have tweeted.

When using Twitter with your competition, it’s very important that you remember that you should use questions and answers that are short because Twitter is mobile. Even though many access this social media channel from the web, most updates are done with a mobile device.

Facebook is a great platform that you can use for detailed posts that exceed the 140 character limit on Twitter. Publishing photos and multimedia works well on Facebook with detailed content. When creating your competition on Facebook, take advantage of this. Facebook’s promotion rules are quite strict, so make sure you don’t accidentally contravene any of them. Here are a couple of examples you can use in your Facebook competition.

  • Create a competition where people who enter should refer their friends.
  • Advertise a competition you’re running off Facebook (e.g. create a poster for your page and link to your website so people can enter there).
  • Create a custom app.

Monitoring Facebook and Twitter
After you have set up your competitions on Facebook and Twitter, monitor these channels on a proactive basis. This doesn’t mean that you should be sitting in front of your computer 24 hours a day.

Create monitoring outposts that can send you a notification where you can listen to all the feedback and replies you are getting concerning the competition you are running. This will help you to be notified of any updates and you can respond as soon as possible to any concerns regarding your competition.

Social media competition goals
When running a competition on the social web, it’s important that you remember that one of your objectives should always be to reach a wide audience that can relate to your brand and business. You don’t want only to attract people to join and participate in your competition just for the sake of it and then leaving after the competition is over.

Engage with the prize winners by posting relevant photos of them on Facebook and Twitter so that other people can see that you have rewarded the winner. This can also help you build some recognition and credibility around your brand.

Before you start with your competition on Facebook and Twitter, take some time and research any other related competitions that are similar to yours. This can give you very good insight on what works and what doesn’t in your specific niche or target market.

Author | Anton Koekemoer

Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I translate business objectives into comprehensive initiatives that focus on humanising brand identity while maximising measurable business results. More
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  • If by “right” in your headline you mean “horribly, horribly wrong”, you’re spot on.

    Your suggestions for twitter strategy makes no sense. A contest that’s based on the first or fastest person to do something will cause your contest to burn out before it gathers any speed, since its easy enough to figure out whether or not someone has already beaten yo to it. If they have, why would you bother? It’s like starting a race after its finished and still hoping to win first place.

    Your suggestions for Facebook contests blatantly violate the Facebook policy guidelines around running promotions and contests. You cannot encourage people to tag friends in things that they are not actually in. You cannot incentivize people to use the Facebook platform to further their chances in the contest. This means posting the most times to a fan page wall, tagging friends, etc in order to win is a violation.

    You can reward conversions ONLY, and even then you have to be careful. Basically, anything that you feel in your heart of hearts is a little (or a lot) spammy is probably in violation of facebook’s platform policy.

    I’m sure your intentions were good, but please try reading the policy guidelines before giving advice. Violation of the platform policy can get your page or app yanked from Facebook.

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  • Thanks Snipe. You are 100% correct. I should have elaborated more regarding Facebook and competitions. Will explain further in a follow up post.

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