Giving stuff away is a great way to raise brand awareness. Get yourself in the map.
Running a contest on social platforms can also give you great opportunities to start interacting with people and showcase your product or service.
While running a contest on Twitter offers some juicy advantages like very low cost, the opportunity to interact with the user on real-time or the possibility to go viral, you should also consider taking the time to have a strategy in place. After all, getting no response at all is no fun and, it can even make you look bad.
So here are a few items to take in consideration in order to run a successful contest on Twitter:
First things first. What do you want to accomplish with the contest? Having a clear goal from the start will get you focused on the important things. Don’t launch your contest without it, how are you going to determine if it was successful at the end? Or if it’s worth doing it again… Here are some examples:
- Get some initial traffic to a new website or blog.
- Spread the word on a new product/service.
- Increase number of subscribers or traffic on your blog.
- Get more followers.
Also, be as specific as possible. If you are looking to have more followers for example, establish how many.
- Make sure people can perceive the value. Just because you think it’s valuable doesn’t mean people will see that.
- If everybody else and their grandmas are already giving away similar stuff on a regular basis, then it’s NOT a prize.
- Is it worth talking about it? Make sure you can get people excited or nobody will even mention it.
- Can you give your product/service away as prize? That could be a great way to put it out there.
- Don’t give away your house. Running smaller contests will allow you to keep repeating instead of just doing a one-time thing.
- The requirements for the contest are directly attached to the goals. If the goal is to increase the number of followers, then the requirement, or one of the requirements should be to follow you.
- Keep it simple s… make sure entering the contest is within a couple of clicks. Nobody will spend more than a few minutes to do this.
- Don’t be greedy. Ask for one or two things. A Tweet with a hashtag or an email subscription, that’s it.
- Establish a short deadline to create impact now. At the speed things move today, people will forget soon.
- So the contests is conducted on Twitter but, where are you taking the traffic? Where are you providing the details?
- Determine your landing page. It can be a simple post on your blog, a separate page or even an independent site. Keep it simple, especially if this is your first time running a contest.
- Your landing page should be clean, eliminate all other elements that have nothing to do with the contest to keep the user focused.
- Copy is probably one of the most important aspects of the campaign. I suggest you spend some time reading the Ultimate (Free) Landing Page Resource by Brian Clark over at CopyBlogger.
- Having a destination for your traffic is key to measure the results.
Use Of A Hashtag
- A hashtag is a great way to stay on top of the conversation generated around the contest.
- Create a listening platform by searching the hashtag and subscribing to the RSS. You can do this with Twitter Search.
- Be careful, in my opinion a hashtag will make it more obvious if the contest is not a success.
A Short URL?
- Obviously you need a short url from the moment you decided to run the contest on Twitter.
- If you want to be able to analyze this data in one place, consider making the url a requirement. I love Bit.ly for this kind of stuff.
- Kick it up a notch, get a custom Bit.ly url that includes a keyword or the title of the contest if possible.
- Have a clear message, eliminate all unnecessary content.
- Without self-promotion, how are you pretending to get things started? You be the first to Tweet and spread the message around.
- Add an ad on your site’s homepage linking to the landing page.
- Just because the contest is on Twitter doesn’t mean you can’t use other platforms. Invite your Facebook Fans to participate too and think of other networks or communities.
- Be creative. Add a link to your email signature or to your “mood message” on Skype.
Encourage Users To Spread The Word
- Have people enter the contest by Retweeting the message.
- You only have 140 characters. Consider leaving some available real estate in the message so people can add to their retweet.
- Have the necessary sharing tools integrated in your landing page.
- Call-To-Action: Tell people to invite their Facebook friends.
Measure, Measure, Measure…
- Be clear about the metrics. Is it traffic? Subscriptions? Twitter followers?
- Have the tools in place. Can you use Google Analytics? How can you track clicks on Twitter? or Retweets?
- If you are planning on tracking data from Twitter, consider using a short URL like Bit.ly. Plain, easy to understand metrics.
- Get alerts and stay on top of the conversation. UberVU is awesome but there are other ways.
- These metrics will dictate whether the campaign has been successful or not.
Should You Include Small Print?
- Be very clear about what’s included and what’s not.
- Be clear about requirements and dates to participate.
- Don’t write a legal document, nobody cares.
As I said at the beginning, contests are a great way to raise awareness but don’t lose sight of the real benefit behind all this. During the contest, you will have the opportunity to meet people and that is where the real potential for a return is…
In our last contest, when we gave away a blog, I met very cool people in the process. You want me to be more specific? I introduced a couple of guys, I met a couple of designers, was offered a couple of consulting gigs, there is a possibility for collaboration with somebody else, heck! one guy even pointed out a couple of errors in my code…
The real benefit is always human.
Share your thoughts. Are you using other tools? What do you think about Twitter as a platform to run contests?