Social Media Contests: It’s Always a Good Time of the Year

December 13, 2012  | By Ketner Group

Photo courtesy of Blast Radius

Well, folks, it’s here. ‘Tis the season of giving and we’re knee deep in gift wrap and holiday cards, cookie dough and frosting, tree lights and ornaments – hopefully not all at once!

In a season that is already globally known for its high-stress characteristics, why not add in a little friendly competition? Brands that host a social media contest, especially during the holidays, can effectively boost online engagement, fuel your customer base and promote your company online.

Before highlighting a few brands that have successfully carried out a social media contest, keep these tips in mind when considering this opportunity:

  • Set a goal that doesn’t focus on increasing followers alone. Emphasize the value of reaching a new demographic or generating more sales leads during the contest period.
  • Don’t forget to promote, promote, promote! Use your social channels, company website and blog to spread the word about contest details and why people should enter to win this insanely awesome prize – which brings me to my next point!
  • Offer an appropriate prize. Know your demographic in order to choose a prize that participants will not only find valuable but worthy of a little effort on their part.

These brands have successfully hosted social media contests – maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your brand’s next online competition!

McAlister’s Deli has decided to get in the holiday spirit and host a “Name Our Gift Card Mascot” contest. Customers can Instagram photos of the brand’s promotional penguin in various situations, then submit their name idea with the tags #givedelicious and @McAlistersDeli. The winner can choose between a personal tablet and $500 McAlister’s gift card or a $1,000 scholarship and a $500 McAlister’s gift card. This is a great prize that incorporates a third party gift and a gift card from the company hosting the competition to reward loyal customers.

Alamo Drafthouse Filmmaking Frenzy – This Austin-based movie theatre is expanding rapidly to cities nationwide and is known for its quirky personality. To go along with its eccentricity, the cinema house recently hosted a film contest (how appropriate!) for viewers to send in their version of a public service announcement highlighting the negative consequences of talking or texting on a cell phone during a movie. Submissions were uploaded to Badass Digest, the theater’s pop culture site, and viewers voted on their favorite film. Winners for each location received a $200 gift card to Alamo Drafthouse and their PSA was screened at their respective theaters. While video can be intimidating for some brands’ marketing teams, it is still one of the fastest growing social mediums that should not be dismissed.

Nike hosted a month-long #RiseAbove Instagram contest over the summer that highlighted fans’ love for basketball by submitting inspirational photos while wearing Jordans, its popular line of shoes. Winners were spotlighted on the contest’s website and the efforts reached millions of fans.

Mellow Mushroom offered free pizza to random lucky Twitter followers in a campaign called “Follow Us and We’ll Follow You”, but complimentary pizza pies are not all a fan might receive. As a friendly joke, the pizza eatery’s mascots would “stalk” its followers participating in the social media contest and make them the stars of online videos and social pranks. While it is an interesting concept, we’d recommend going with a less offensive effort.

A trend not to be overlooked is the growing “Pin It to Win It” campaigns on Pinterest. This effort can be tailored to almost any brand, product or service and brings highly visual emphasis on the subject at hand. Take a look at this page of the Top 50 Pin It to Win It efforts.

These are all great examples to find inspiration for your next social media contest – every brand is different so tailor the competition to fit your image! You’ll quickly see it’s a great way to learn more about your target and an effective way to gain momentum in your marketing efforts. So go make that next big Tw-Insta-Pin-book contest and see where it takes you!