Social media competitions: we’ve all done it. We’ve liked a post, we’ve tagged a friend, we’ve followed a page in the hope that we’ll win that “once in a lifetime” holiday or that bit of driftwood inscribed with the inspirational quote of our choice … but was it worth it, what was the point? I don’t mean for you, entering, I mean for YOU the business owner, the one running the competition?

Did it actually turn out to be a right royal pain in the rear checking who’d liked the post, who’d followed the page, who’d tagged a friend, who’d made a comment.  Do you think you really chose the winner fairly or just lost the will to live and picked anyone? Have they become loyal customers?

What did YOU get out of it? A few more page followers maybe, but were they really interested in what you do or just in it for the free prize?

Competitions can be great for a short-term spike, but you need to think about how you leverage a long-term benefit from running a competition as part of your marketing strategy:  

  1. Learn something – get your audience to answer a question/short survey
  2. Future opportunities – capturing their contact details/opt-in for future direct marketing – offer an incentive to do this e.g. 20% off
  3. User Generated Content – get them to share a photo that you can then re-use. Everyone loves to show off and we are inherently nosey.

The furniture company, MADE, do this brilliantly.  Not only do they encourage their customers to send in photos of MADE furniture in their homes, but to “like” a photo (in a beautifully curated, Instagram-like grid), you have to sign up, join their community.

Bingo! Double whammy! And the bonus, you also help new customers with a bit of real-life inspiration – #inspo

So, to wrap up:

  • Think about how you leverage a long-term benefit - learn something; opt-in; or content

  • Don’t chase the numbers - focus on engagement, offer value

  • The end goal is loyalty and new customers - not followers who are just "professional" compers