Marketers and business owners are continually looking for ways to encourage more followers on social media. One effective method to do so is to use social media contests.
A social media contest or giveaway is a raffle of a product, service, or another prize that is offered to users for taking a specific action, such as liking, sharing, commenting, or following your brand on social media.
Social media contests are perfect for helping you generate more followers for your brand. Simply make it so that they have to follow your brand as one of the requirements for participating in the contest.
Social contests are growing in popularity as a way for brands to get followers to actively participate in their publications, spread their content, and make it go viral.
But, there are a lot of rules and guidelines as well as planning and preparation that you must do to run a successful contest.
This article was written to provide you with a list of ideas that you can implement (either together or separately) in order to increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and get more people to follow your brand.
Without further ado, here are the 10 ways to use social media contests to increase your followers.
1. Host Your Contest on Multiple Social Media Platforms
For the most part, social media contest objectives typically fall under one of the following:
- Increase Audience Engagement: If you ask contest participants to comment, share, leave a comment, etc., you’ll be able to increase engagement on your account.
- Improve Brand Awareness: Asking users to comment on your publications with a mention to their network of friends, family, or colleagues will help you enhance awareness of your brand, product, or service.
- Increase Brand Notoriety: By asking users to share your publication on social media you can reach more people and therefore get your message across to brand-new audiences.
Regardless of your objectives, one of the best ways to achieve your goals is to use multiple social media platforms. Instead of sticking with one platform, you can get your participants to share and promote your contest on various platforms. These could be any platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest — wherever your brand is active.
While you should be active across platforms, be sure to measure which platform performs the best, and consider highlighting that more than others. The folks at I’m-a-puzzle, for example, ran a photo contest and found that Facebook drove the most engagement over Instagram and Pinterest. As a result, they pushed Facebook as their primary call to action for sharing and increased their overall contest participation.
This will help you expand your reach exponentially, resulting in even more entrants for your contest and new followers for your brand.
2. Get Competitors to Interact on Multiple Platforms
Another effective way to boost your follower count is to ask competitors to interact with multiple platforms. You could let them know they could stand a chance to win the contest.
For instance, they can follow, comment, and share on different platforms as part of the requirements to be considered for the prize.
The platforms you choose will depend on your brand, as well as your goals for the contest. For instance, video and photo contests typically do better on sites like Instagram, whereas caption contests and sweepstakes are more popular on Facebook and Twitter.
For this to work, you need interesting content with compelling prizes. Your contest must be creative and original to inspire people to interact on multiple platforms.
Additionally, you need to find clever and engaging ways to entice your social followers to take part in the contests. To save costs, it may be a good idea to use the best webinar software for your organization to create short webinars to discuss different parts of a contest, or the contest information as a whole. These webinars can be cross-shared on various platforms or you can design unique video content tailored for specific platforms.
If you chose this route, focus on continuity. By introducing one part of the competition on one platform and directing them to another platform for the next part of the competition, you can keep your users engaged.
When users are engaged by what they see, they are more likely to be motivated to share, like, and comment, which makes your work a lot easier for promoting your contest.
In fact, the more original your content, the higher the impact your contest will have on each of the different platforms that participants interact on.
In addition to running a “Follow-to-Win” contest that spans multiple social media platforms, you can also amplify that strategy by running a “Follow and Share to enter” contest.
Alternatively, you can ask your participants to tag others in the comments to help your brand reach more new users and hopefully entice more of them to come on board, as in the example below:
3. Offer Shout Outs and Features As Part of the Prize
Successful social media contests have one thing in common: They all give away awesome prizes.
The more amazing the prize/offer, the more likely it is that people will put serious effort into the contest.
A great way to make sure this happens is to offer shout-outs and features as part of the prize in exchange for following your brand and/or filling out a form, sharing why they love your product or service, telling a story about their experience with your brand, etc.
When it comes to choosing a prize that your audience will love, it’s hard to go wrong with offering shout-outs and features as part of the price because people love recognition, and they will be happy to contribute to your contest for the possibility of being featured.
4. Incorporate Real-World Challenges
There are many different types of contests you can run. You can have sweepstakes-style contests, which can work great for getting more followers if you have participants follow your brand as one of the criteria for entry.
Alternatively, you could run caption contests or creative answer contests to boost engagement, with a strong call to action for participants to follow your brand.
You can also have a photo or video contest which is great for spreading awareness if you require participants to post the content they create about your product or service on their own social media feed.
However, one of the best and most effective ways to increase your brand’s exposure and get more followers is to boost awareness and reach by getting competitors to do something out in the real world and then share it on one (or better yet, multiple) social media platforms.
StickerYou, a custom sticker company in Toronto is a great example. The brand ran a social media contest for participants to win a trip to Hawaii.
In order for them to win, competitors had to take a photo of a sticker with the StickerYou mascot in beautiful, exotic, or interesting places.
They then had to share the pictures on social media with the hashtag #stickytravels, as shown in the image below:
Since the contest required participants to showcase the brand/product to their social followers, StickerYou hoped those users would be prompted to enter the contest, as well.
This type of contest also provides a wealth of content you can use down the road as part of your larger marketing strategy.
5. Use a Common Hashtag for Competitors to Share
When running a social media contest, you can direct users to mention your brand, but a better technique to increase followers is to create a specific contest hashtag for competitors to share.
This is a particularly effective way to boost your follower numbers whether you are running a contest on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other social network.
By having a common hashtag for your competition, you also make it easier to find and weed through all your contest submissions so you can honestly choose a winner for the contest
So make sure to set your contest up for success by creating hashtags specifically dedicated to that particular social media contest.
Ask users to include the contest’s dedicated hashtag so you’ll be able to clearly see all of the entrants, which will make your life a lot easier when it comes time to choose a winner.
Two examples of brands that created viral hashtags for their social media contests are Charmin’s #TPDress for the annual Charmin TP Wedding Dress Contest, and Chipotle’s #ChipotleLidFlip for the company’s Lid Flip Challenge.
Both of these hashtags led to record-breaking sales for the two popular brands, and creating a common contest hashtag can work wonders for you as well.
6. Create a Group on Facebook and Other Platforms
Creating a group for your contest on Facebook and other platforms will help you increase your social following by making it easier to market to your target audience.
You’ll get more value for your business by encouraging community engagement. You’ll also be able to generate a lot of user-generated content when you can instill a sense of community and belonging to the participants of your social media contest.
A single campaign could conceivably help you accomplish all these things, which means that you will not only be able to increase your followers, but also achieve a variety of other marketing goals and objectives that are important to your business.
7. Develop Co-Branding Social Media Contests
Co-branding is popular among a lot of companies that run social media contests and giveaways these days.
It’s a great way to supercharge your efforts and get the best results from your social media contest.
It involves two brands running a contest together so they can attract each other’s followers and increase awareness for their respective brands. You might have seen this concept in action on some influencer profiles where you’re asked to: Comment on the publication, follow another account, and tag a friend.
This is a great way to earn followers for your brand as long as you work with other brands or influencers that are relevant to your target audience.
With a strategy like this, everyone wins. And, to supercharge the strategy and get more followers excited for your contest, both brands can even follow the same theme for the social media contest.
8. Run “Follower Milestone” Contests
A follow-to-win contest is a simple and straightforward way to use social media contests to increase your brand’s followers.
However, to generate more buzz for your event and maximize engagement, you can deviate from the standard format and run a “Follower Milestone” social media contest.
This is where you run a follow-to-win contest but with a specific follower target. Then, when you reach that target, you can randomly draw the contest winner(s).
Running a follower milestone campaign on social media is a great opportunity to thank your audience, as well as reward them for their loyalty.
But, you don’t have to wait until you get to a specific follower count before you can run a giveaway to celebrate the milestone.
You can create a campaign focused on helping you get to the specified number of followers to give users an added incentive to follow your brand and, at the same time, get the opportunity to win awesome prizes.
Just make sure that you don’t overlook the people who have helped you get to that follower count.
So, create a post on your brand’s different social channels thanking everyone who’s followed you in the past and helped you get to that milestone.
You can still highlight on the same post that you’re running a contest or giveaway to celebrate the milestone. Take this a step further by asking your current followers to spread the word and ask other users to follow your brand for a chance to win.
9. Run Follow-to-Win + Influencer Contests
On its own, a follow-to-win campaign can help you get a ton of new followers for your brand. But, you can make it even more effective by partnering up with an influencer — either for mutual gain, or simply to leverage the influencer’s audience for the benefit of your company’s account.
This way, you can expand the reach of your campaign and get new followers from brand-new audiences that you otherwise may not have had the opportunity to reach.
Here’s an example of how Lufthansa teamed up with the well-known influencer, Marissa Cox @ruerodier, to reach her audience of over one hundred thousand followers on Instagram.
Based on the comments on the post, the airline scored about 650 followers from this promotion:
This is a great example of how a social media contest can benefit both parties with tons of follows from contest entrants.
10. Use Existing Digital Marketing Channels
While the social media contests obviously take place on social media, you may be using other channels as part of your digital marketing strategy. Many of these can be used to announce social media contests and update your followers as to the results.
For example, if you have a podcast hosting platform, you can use your podcast to facilitate your social media contests in various ways. You can encourage people to participate, use the podcast to get people interested before the competition begins, and much more.
Additionally, you might integrate email marketing strategies into your social media contests. You could even create templated emails just for discussing the social media contests, featuring competitors, or announcing results.
Another thing to consider is using online courses to help people understand how to participate. It’s easy to just throw a post on Facebook or Twitter and expect people to know what to do. But sometimes people need to be guided more directly.
If you don’t have the time to create your own online courses to supplement your social media contests, you can look around at various PLR courses for sale. You may find something perfect to accentuate your contests.
Running social media contests is an effective part of any brand’s social media strategy, and it can help you boost your follower counts significantly. It is a great way to integrate new forms of pull marketing into your business model, so you aren’t constantly trying to push products or services to new customers.
Just remember that some platforms have more relaxed guidelines and rules for running contests than others.
Regardless of which platform you use, it’s still important to follow the rules and clearly communicate the terms and conditions of the contest to your audience. Make sure you create an official rules page for your contest, complete with disclosure information as required.
As long as you follow best practices for the particular platform you’re running the contest on, and use one or more of the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to run successful social media contests that help you generate tons of followers for your brand.
Of the 9 tips outlined below for getting more followers from your social media contests, which do you find the most appealing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!