By from Joanna Morley, Online PR & Social Media Manager at SiteVisibility

What benefit can competitions bring..?

Social media competitions are a fantastic way to inject some fun into your on-going activity and drive traffic and engagement to your platforms. Designed well they can be used to rapidly build your fan base, increase brand awareness and collect email data or customer insights.

Facebook campaigns are the most frequently adopted by brands and are now regarded as an essential way to establish a core base of fans. Whilst it’s great to build up a big fan base try to remember it’s not just about numbers but the quality of the audience you are trying to build. 100 engaged fans is worth more than 1,000 who have no interest in you what so ever and will never convert.

Top tips for running a social media competition (that stick to the networks rules)

Consider your objectives and think about what you want to achieve before you start! Make sure you have designed the campaign to meet these objectives and that the platform you chose to host your campaign is suitable for your audience.

Keep it simple — the most successful campaigns we have run have been the easiest to enter. It’s all too easy to get distracted by the flashy applications available and create campaigns that require video upload, voting and multiple stages with sharing and friends taking part to guarantee you an entry. Whilst these more creative user generated campaigns can be fantastic for branding or for gathering valuable user generated content they are typically likely to attract fewer entries so possibly not the ones to go for if you need to build a data base of email addresses.

Incentivise this with something suitable for your audience — Make sure the prize is big enough that it will attract attention but try and keep it on brand and relevant. Giving away an ipad is likely to attract a lot of spammers or people who are only liking you to enter. Whilst this will happen try not to build up a fan base of people who have no interest in your brand.

Ensure you integrate your social media competition with your on and offline marketing strategy and don’t just host it as a standalone campaign.

Have fun! Use a competition as a way of finding out more about your audience and engaging with them. Thank people for their entries and highlight your favourites.

What not to do?

Don’t forget to read the Facebook promotional guidelines and data collection laws! It’s something I see all too often where even some of the big brands are blatantly flouting these rules putting themselves at risks and misleading their fans as to what their data will be used for.

Don’t forget to benchmark your results and measure the success of your campaign.

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