In my last article, I talked about the Why, Where, When & How of hosting a social media contest for engagement. In today's post, I will go into where you should promote your contest for ultimate exposure.
The success of your contest relies on how many targeted individuals enter. While the contest market is heavily saturated, the response you will get is related to the prize you giveaway (the better the prize, the more entries) and how well you promote it. Just as I focus a lot of energy on blog promotion, contest promotion should be taken just as seriously.
Facebook is the first place you should turn to when deciding where to promote your contest. As your audience here is used to this type of engagement, it is an easy place to start to build up the excitement around the promotion. Often times your contest might even live within Facebook, which makes it an even more sensible place to start your promotion.
In general I'd say 2-3 posts per week about the contest is suitable. You don't want to overdo it, as that will annoy your fan base. Keep your contest updates different and varied to avoid social media overload. As always, include a photo with your contest update, as photos get more views, likes and comments.
Twitter is also a great place to promote your contest. As your audience is already familiar with who you are, this is a safe place to promote. 1-2 tweets about your contest is fine. As there is more noise on twitter, make sure you space them out to avoid twitter clutter. You want to reach as many people as you can, so back to back is not a good idea. You can also do a little search on twitter for people talking about contests or about your prize and inform them of your awesome contest to encourage them to enter.
As I have mentioned many times before, the key to success on Pinterest is strong visuals. Make sure you have strong graphic elements before trying to promote your contest on Pinterest. If you are hosting a PinItToWinIt contest then this is a no-brainer. However, you can promote your other contests here as well. Keep in mind what the Pinterest audience is like so you can create something that suits them. Food, Beauty, Health, & Fashion work best here, so try to tailor your photo to capture that trend.
Google Plus is a good place to promote your contest if you have a techy prize. As the Google+ audience skews male and tech oriented, you are likely to have better luck if your prize makes sense for this audience. Keep in mind that Google indexes your G+ posts, so even if your audience is not there right now, they might find you through Google search.
If your contest relates to your B2B service, then LinkedIn is a good place to promote. You can promote your contest on your personal page and your company page. You can even go one step further and promote your contest with groups and individuals. Have I told you that I love LinkedIn? I do.
Your blog is a perfect place to promote your post because it is an entity that you own. People will search for information about your contest and they should be able to find it on your blog. The blog post should include all the rules and details about entering. It should be clear and focused. And, of course, it should be followed up with my rules for blog promotion for maximum reach.
Never underestimate the value of an inbox. It is still one of the most powerful ways to get information in front of your customers. Depending on what you use your newsletter list for, you might be able to get more eyeballs than you might with a sales promotion. As contests don't require any purchase, and since you aren't selling the reader anything, you are likely to see an increase in open rates as well.
If your contest is a driving force behind reaching your sales & marketing goals, then you might want to consider throwing a little money behind it. You can consider a Facebook or Twitter Ad as an option. Or you can go a more traditional route with Pay-Per-Click advertising. Your results will vary, but, depending on your budget, it may be worth it to drive extra awareness and traction for your contest. A more affordable option is promoted posts on Facebook. I am a big fan of Promoted Posts and recommend doing this if you have a small budget behind your contest. I'll talk more about promoted posts in a future post.
This tactic has proven to be super successful for me. I have been employing this around contests for the past 8 years (since I started in Internet & Social Media Marketing). There are tons of sites that list contests and sweepstakes. To find them, do a search for "Submit Contest," "Submit a Sweepstakes," and other related terms. Some of them do require you to pay a small fee, but the contest community is gung ho and you will see a spike in entries. My favorite directory is SweepstakesAdvantage; I usually opt for the $40 sponsored post, which usually gets me about 200 new signups.
Another way to get increased visibility for your contest is to contact blogs that talk about contests, your prize, or other related items. This is a great way to build a relationship with the blogger as well. I have found that bloggers appreciate good content and incentives. If you can do as much work for them as possible, then the likelihood that they will post goes up. Don't forget to provide them with as much info as possible. This can include photos, videos, links, and even a little write up that they can use word for word. Once you send the contest details to them, make sure you follow up. Sometimes a little persistence can go a long way. Good luck with your blogger outreach!
Stephanie Frasco, VP Social Media Marketing, started helping businesses get results with social networks before Twitter even existed! Stephanie has worked directly with high profile clients like Oprah, Atlantic Records, Dashlane, The International Culinary Center, & many more. She specializes in helping business owners and marketers find massive ROI by developing targeted social campaigns focused on *engagement strategies* that work!