5 Turn-Key Social Media Contest and Sweepstakes Techniques

Are you considering a social media contest or sweepstakes to activate your brand and increase engagement with followers?  Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make it extremely easy for marketers to set up a prize promotion.  As a general rule, the simpler it is to enter and the more places you publicize it, the more likely people will enter.  Here are a few points to consider when developing a contest or sweepstakes on any platform:

  • Captures attention with your title. If it’s fun enough to compete with the rest of the internet, people will notice it and share it with their friends and followers.
  • Use a graphic. You’ll want to showcase your brand, and highlight the prize.
  • Call to Action:  Clearly and concisely tell people how to enter.  Don’t count on most entrants to read the Official Rules.
  • Make it social:  Include instructions on how to easily share the promotion.
  • Official Rules: Must be developed and made available on a website, include the URL ideally as a hyperlink.
  • Disclaimers: Regulators require social media prize promotions to have the same disclosures as off-line promotions.  There are workarounds to platform limitations, such as multiple Tweets to get around character limitations.
  • Collect Entries: Since platforms don’t have native features to export the data needed for a judging or drawing, the right enterprise tool can perform this for you.
  • Hashtag: On some platforms, hashtags will be your only means of tracking entries.  You may want to use a hashtag that already exists to maximize discoverability, and then use a hashtag that is unique to your contest to help identify your entrants.  Be sure you understand the proper use of hashtags to avoid implied endorsement issues with regulators.
  • Platform Guidelines: Be sure your effort follows the most recent published guidelines for your chosen platform to ensure you’re following their rules.

Need help with any of the above? Centra360 can help!

Here are 5 turn-key techniques:

1) Post a “programmed learning” sweepstakes on your brand’s Facebook page to reinforce crucial brand messages.  Require entrants post a reply containing information you want them to associate with your brand.  E.g., “We’re releasing 3 new flavors this Summer, name all 3 for a chance to win!”  Bonus: Your reach will increase as their answers may show up on their friends’ newsfeed, depending on their privacy settings.


2) Ask entrants to reply with a picture of them using your product.  Of course, you cannot require them to purchase your product, which would be a lottery.  An easy workaround, which should be conspicuously disclosed in the Official Rules, is to instruct entrants to take a picture with the product at retail.  The objective is to flood the internet with positive interactions involving of your product.  This is considered a “qualifying entry” sweepstakes.


3) Have a message that you really want shared beyond your Twitter followers? Then consider a retweet sweepstakes.  Since you’re limited to 140 characters, you’ll want to utilize the space on the graphic to include key brand messaging as well as the sweepstakes information.


4) Twitter’s 140 character limitation makes it an ideal platform for testing an entrant’s creativity.  Plus, it helps manage the timing of your judging process.  You can have followers Tweet their favorite attribute of your product or service or even Tweet a photo or video.  Considering the average Twitter user has 208 followers, your brand messaging has the potential to spread to a massive audience and garner impressions far beyond your followers.


5) Although the same technique as #3 can be used on Instagram as a “regram” sweepstakes, the platform now permits people to be private messaged from any account. This change permits one to enter simply by commenting on your brand’s post.  Be sure you have a reliable tool to record all entries, as Instagram occasionally purges the comments to only show the most recent.


No matter which platform you choose to host your promotion, make sure it (and the prize) ties back to your brand, is mobile-friendly, and is cross-promoted across different social channels to maximize engagement.  Contact Centra360 for information on how to further enhance engagement by integrating CRM databases and analytics to position yourself for future promotions and drive results.

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