Unconventional Social Media Contests
Some of the primary goals behind using social media as a business are to increase brand awareness and to create brand ambassadors; it’s often not until you do these two things that you’ll see your wallets fill up. One great way to leverage your online presence is to host social media contests.
According to Social Media Examiner, social media contests can, “stimulate engagement, build community, encourage user-generated content, create a unique experience and increase brand awareness.” So you see, they’re definitely worth looking into!
Social media contests aren’t anything new; most people have entered a Facebook or Twitter contest in their day and are familiar with how they work. But while Facebook and Twitter contests may be somewhat old and boring, they’re definitely tried and true.
Try taking your social media contest to the next level with one of these social networks:
Since the nature of Pinterest is very category-oriented, themed contests are a great go-to in this setting. Ask your followers to create themed boards and fill them with inspiring pins. Set an end date for the contest and when it’s over, you choose the most impressive board as the winner. It’s not a random drawing, so your followers will be forced to get creative, which is awesome – everyone loves a good challenge now and then.
The topic of the contest can be almost anything you can imagine. For example, IKEA might ask pinners to create a board of their favorite kitchen designs. While that contest is pretty straightforward, your company can be as broad as you like. If American Airlines were hosting a contest, they could offer a giveaway of free tickets to, say, Los Angeles, and ask pinners to create a board based on what they would do in LA if they won.
Monitoring contests on Pinterest is a little trickier. You’ll need to ask followers to be a little more active in helping you find their contest board. One good way is to have them post their board onto your company Facebook or Twitter page along with a specific hashtag that will help you identify the entry boards. Another way is to ask followers to pin one of your pins to their contest board. Unfortunately, requiring pinners to repin a specific pin violates Pinterest’s contest rules. If you choose this route, make pinners aware that repinning a specific pin is not required to win, but will simply help you locate the correct boards.
Another image-centric platform, Instagram contests are a great way to ask users to get personal in your contest. Hair care companies like Herbal Essences can ask users to post a selfie of their favorite ‘do to win bundle of hair products. Disneyland might ask users to post a shot of their favorite area of the theme park for a free weekend stay. If you get creative, your followers are bound to get even more creative.
A good thing about Instagram contests is that there are no contest rules, meaning you can set your own. While you can’t require users to pin a specific image in a Pinterest contest, you can require users to post a specific image on Instagram to enter your contest. This method is called “regramming”; it’s when you require users to take a snapshot of your image and post it to their personal account as entry to the contest.
Keeping up with Instagram contests is a little easier than Pinterest as well. Because Instagram has hashtags, the best way to keep up with user submissions is to ask them to use a specific hashtag when they post their pics. You’ve got to pick a very strategic hashtag though. Nike wouldn’t use the hashtag “#sneakers” for their contest – tons of people might think to use that hashtag outside of the contest. Nike would pick a creative, relevant hashtag that users wouldn’t think to use unless they were entering the contest. If they were offering up 25 free pairs of customizable sneakers, their hashtag might be something like, “#CustomNikesForMe”.
YouTube contests usually require the most work out of contestants since the best way to run a YouTube contest is to ask your followers to create and share their own video. Offering prompts to contestants is a good way to run a YouTube contest. You can ask contestants to create an original video based on a theme of your choosing. Whole Foods might ask contestants to film themselves cooking a healthy, original meal. After viewing the submissions, they might pick the top 5 delicious entries and have followers then vote on their favorite.
However, if your company has a very creative following, you might want to have a more open-ended competition to see what your customers can come up with. For example, a music-centric company like Gibson Guitars, might offer a few basic guidelines, but then host a contest in which the videos must simply contain a piece of Gibson equipment. Contests like this can be equally as enjoyable for those who enter as it is for those who simply observe.
Make sure you know and follow the rules!
One thing to make yourself very aware of prior to hosting a social media contest is the network’s contest rules. While Instagram doesn’t have set contest rules, some networks like Pinterest have pretty specific rules (shown below), and others like Google+ go so far as to have a no contest policy. But just because the rules are strict doesn’t mean you can’t put on your thinking cap and come up with a creative way to engage followers!