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How to Run a Social Media Contest to Boost Conversions

Last Updated on July 24, 2020 by Stacey Corrin

Are you looking for a quick way to get a massive amount of new leads on your social media? A social media contest might be just what you’re looking for.

Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great places to engage with your target audiences. But how can you turn that audience into new leads and ultimately convert them into paying customers?

One of the best ways to drive new sales on social media is to run a contest or giveaway. So today we’ll show you how to run a social media contest that boosts conversions like crazy so you can grow your business and get heaps of new customers.

In this article we’ll cover the following topics:

But before we get started it’s important to know why you should run a social media giveaway which we’ll look at first.

Why Run a Social Media Giveaway?

Instead of following the crowd and running a contest because everyone else does it look at the reasons why they work and how they might fit with your brand and business.

Social media giveaways offer brands many benefits and can result in the following outcomes:

  • A larger social media following – asking your audience to like and follow your profile as a way of entering your contest can result in a huge boost in follower numbers.
  • Greater brand awareness – the increase in activity that comes with a social media giveaway is recognized by the platforms’ algorithms which can help your posts appear to many more people.
  • Email list growth – asking people to sign up for your email list is another popular way of entering contests. This results in an explosion in list growth.
  • Engagement with your brand – giveaways on social media are a great way to generate a buzz around your brand and encourages people to interact with your profiles and content.

With the benefits of launching a contest in mind let’s move on to finding out how to run your own social media giveaway.

How to Run a Social Media Contest

When setting up your contest there are always a number of things you should take into account to make it a success.

We’ll cover each of these below so you know exactly how to get started.

Set Your Contest Goals

One of the first steps when hosting a social media contest is to set your goals. The best way to do this is to figure out what the purpose of your giveaway is and what you want the outcome to be.

This is because depending on your goal the entry methods of your giveaway might need to be different to achieve your desired outcome.

For example, if your brand’s goal is to use a giveaway to grow your email list you’ll need to include a method of entry that requires signing up to your list in order to achieve it.

enter a social media giveaway by signing up to an email list

On the other hand, if you simply want to increase your follower count you’ll focus on asking people to follow your social media profiles to enter your contest.

Follow on social media to enter a giveaway

Both of these giveaways would look totally different because the end goals achieve different outcomes. So spend some time defining your goals before moving on.

Determine the Type of Contest

As we just mentioned, the type of contest you run is largely determined by the end goal and there are plenty of contest types to choose from which can be pretty confusing.

What are good contest ideas?

Win a free product contest idea

To make things a little easier for you here are some good contest ideas that work well with specific goals in mind:

  • Free products – giving away a product is a great way to promote your product and brand because people will naturally want to know more about what they could win.
  • Seasonal  – contests with a seasonal theme can help build hype and engagement around your brand at different times of the year especially around holiday times.
  • Promotions and discounts – offering money off coupons and discounts are really effective if you want people to join an email list or newsletter because you can have them signing up to your list as a requirement for entering.
  • User-generated content – asking people to send photos for people to vote on is a fun way to encourage sharing and grow your followers because most social platforms require you to be following a brand in order to send a message.
  • Answer a question – a giveaway that asks people to answer a question in return for a prize is ideal for getting more website traffic because you can have people search your site to find the correct answer.

As you can see there’s plenty of ideas out there for figuring out the type of giveaway you’ll run. Just be sure to make it fit with your goals.

Set Your Budget and Prizes

No social media contest is complete without a great prize and a smart social media marketing strategy should always have a budget in mind.

If you have one, make sure you communicate with your marketing team about your company’s budget and what they can spare for this giveaway. Then you can split it up between paying for your contest promotion and your giveaway prize.

What are good giveaway prizes?

good giveaway prizes for social media contest

 A good giveaway prize will again, align with your brand’s goals and values. But you also need to ensure it’s a prize your audience will find interesting. If it’s not, they probably won’t convert into paying customers, which defeats the purpose of your contest.

Some popular giveaway prize ideas include:

  • Trending products – if there’s a product on the market that’s super popular right now people are likely desperate to get hold of it. This is a great way for you to tap into current trends and get a heap of entries.
  • Cash – cash prizes are another way to get loads of people interested in your giveaway but be sure to make it a large amount. Smaller amounts don’t really have the same wow factor.
  • Gift cards – gift cards, on the other hand, are fantastic to give away in both smaller and larger amounts. You could offer gift cards to your own store or provide a visa gift card people can use anywhere they like.
  • Free trips – everyone loves a free vacation so having a free trip as your prize will generate a huge amount of interest among your audience. Try to pick a location your entrants really desire to maximize the results.
  • Tickets to shows – who doesn’t want a night out now and then? Free tickets can offer a much-needed break to many people and prove super popular. You can offer free tickets to the movies, to see live music, and even tickets to the theatre.

For even more ideas take a look at this list of over 100 proven contest prize ideas for viral giveaways.

Locate Your Audience

Your next task is to figure out where your audience hangs out on social media so you can better tailor your giveaway to reach the right people on the right platforms.

If you take a look at these social media marketing statistics you’ll see that different types of people use different social media networks. What’s more, the type of content they consume on each network can differ greatly.

Once you know where your audience spends most of their time you can target those specific platforms.

For example, if your audience is largely made up of younger females with an interest in fashion and beauty, you’ll want to tailor your giveaway for Instagram users.

Instagram beauty giveaway

On the other hand, a more mature and family-oriented audience would likely favor a contest that runs on Facebook.

family friendly facebook contest

If your audience is spread out over multiple social networks make sure you have a range of entry methods that apply to each of those platforms.

An excellent way to achieve this is, to use RafflePress the best WordPress giveaway plugin to build your contest.

View your giveaway contest live!

RafflePress makes the process of running a social media contest effortless and has actions (entry methods) for entering your sweepstakes that cater to all the major social media platforms. This makes it easy for people to enter with just a few clicks.

Click Actions to choose your raffle entry methods

To learn all about creating an online contest with RafflePress see this step-by-step guide.

Clarify Your Contest Rules

With your audience defined, you should next focus on clarifying the rules for your competition.

Each social network has their own set of rules for contests and promotions so it’s important you comply with them in order to avoid having your account suspended.

Here are rules for running contests on the main social platforms:

  • Facebook – Facebook requires you state what your contest is and that you let people know they don’t sponsor your giveaway. You also can’t have people share the post or tag friends to enter. See their full guidelines here.
  • Instagram – Instagram is owned by Facebook so the rules are pretty similar. You must let your audience know Instagram isn’t affiliated with and doesn’t sponsor your contest. People also shouldn’t be tagged in a photo if they aren’t in it. You can see their guidelines here.
  • Twitter – Twitter’s rules focus on ensuring you discourage people from making multiple accounts and tweeting the same content over and over. Twitter’s guidelines are here.
  • Pinterest – Pinterest’s guidelines make it clear you can’t require people to save a specific image, shouldn’t have more than 1 entry per person, and can’t suggest Pinterest sponsors the giveaway. You should also ensure entrants use the word “contest” or “sweepstakes” in their descriptions. View Pinterest’s full rules on sweepstakes here.

You should also make your own brand’s rules clear to your audience too. Then them alongside your contest when you post it.

RafflePress makes it easy to do this by including a terms and conditions section within the contest widget. There’s also a handy generator where you can create a set of basic terms based on the information you enter.

Let’s look at how you do this.

After you’ve set up your RafflePress giveaway using the guide we linked above, click Edit on your giveaway.

Click to edit your giveaway

Then click Settings » Giveaway Rules. Here you can paste in any rules and terms you’ve already written for your sweepstakes.

giveaway rules in rafflepress

However, if you’d like to use RafflePress’s rule generator, click the orange Generate Rules button.

RafflePress rules generator

Here you can enter the following details regarding your contest:

  • Sponsor Name – the name of the person, company, or brand sponsoring the giveaway.
  • Email – their contact email address.
  • Address – the physical address if they have one.
  • Country – the sponsor’s registered country.
  • Eligible Locations – which countries and locations the giveaway is open to.
  • Eligible Minimum Age – the minimum age people should be to enter.

After you’ve entered that information click Generate Rules. A standard set of rules and guidelines will populate the message area using the details you provided.

After this, click Save to save the changes.

Publish and Promote the Contest

With all of your details, goals, and rules gathered it’s time to publish your social media contest and promote it like crazy.

RafflePress offers 2 ways for you to publish your giveaway:

  1. The RafflePress post or page widget. The RafflePress widget has all the information about your contest in one place. It includes a heading, description, image, entry methods, rules, and much more. This widget can be added into your posts and pages using a content block or embed code.
  2. The RafflePress landing page. RafflePress lets you publish your giveaway on a landing page which makes it easy for you to share in your social media posts.

Publish With the RafflePress Content Block

To publish your competition on your website first create a new post or page. Then click the plus icon within your post or page editor to add a new content block.

Add a new content block

Type RafflePress into the search box to bring up the RafflePress content block.

Search for the rafflepress content block in wordpress

Clicking it will insert the block into your post.

New RafflePress giveaway block in WordPress

Now select your giveaway from the dropdown box for it to show up in your post.

Choose your contest from the dropdown box

Click Publish to finish the setup.

Publish Your Contest on a Landing Page

To publish your competition using the landing page method find your giveaway in the RafflePress dashboard and click Edit.

Then head to Settings » General and find the Page Permalink heading.

set the landing page permalink

Enter the parameters for your landing page URL here and click save.

Now when you visit that URL you’ll see your giveaway displayed in a beautiful distraction-free environment.

example of a published landing page in RafflePress

You can then include this URL in all of your social media posts when promoting your contest for people to enter.

How do you promote a contest on social media?

One of the best ways to promote your social media contest is to require people to share the giveaway to earn more entries.

share to win social media contest

This is the easiest way to go viral because, for every person that enters, they also share your competition with their network of friends. This exposes you to more people and increases the potential for more leads.

You can also share your contest on your email newsletter which is likely to reach a different audience than that of your social network. But it’s still an audience that is highly likely to click your competition link and enter.

The majority of email marketing service providers these days have easy ways to help you design an eye-catching email so make use of these tools. Just remember to include a strong call to action to encourage people to enter.

example of an email giveaway

For even more effective contest promotion ideas check out this guide.

Gather Your Results

When everything is over and you’ve picked a contest winner it’s time to take stock and gather your results to see if you’ve come close to the goal you set in the beginning.

Looking at your results in detail lets you know how everything went and helps you run an even better giveaway in the future.

The simplest and easiest way to track and analyze your results is with the MonsterInsights Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.

MonsterInsights analytics plugin for WordPress

With MonsterInsights you can record visits to your contest’s landing page, visits to your own website, referral traffic, and much more.

You can then see all of this data in dashboard reports right within your WordPress admin area.

MonsterInsights dashboard reports

With this information gathered you can see which of your strategies worked to increase traffic to your giveaway page. Plus, with real-time stats from MonsterInsights, you can monitor and adjust your competition while it’s still running.

There you have it!

You now know how to run a social media contest that boost conversions. Now all you need to do is put this information into practice so you can convert your audience into paying customers.

Why not take a look at how to grow your engagement on Twitter at the same time. And if you want to use a contest or sweepstakes to explode your list growth, this collection of genuine ways to grow your email list is well worth a read.

And if you’d like to run a social media photo contest, this tutorial will help.

Don’t forget, if you liked this post check out our YouTube channel. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter for even more great giveaway ideas.

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