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The Startacus Guide to social media competitions

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by Startacus Admin

You cannot escape them…they are everywhere.   

They began as something of a novelty - a happy quirk adding a bit of variety to your news feed, but now they have taken over!  We are of course talkingsocial media competitions about the overused and much lamented social media competition. Some of you will be wondering why our tone is so aggrieved, as you glide past such competitions with hardly a second thought, whilst others will be nodding their head in vigorous agreement, greatly incensed by an endless parade of ‘like this’ and ‘retweet that’ requests.

Don’t misunderstand us, we are not condemning the use of social media competitions, they can be a great way of promoting your business and offering your audience some really neat free stuff! But we take issue with the seemingly pointless ones -  those that are headed with things like ‘share this picture and win a tablet’ or ‘like this elephant and win a tshirt’ . Why...just why?

So in response we think the time has come - we’ve compiled a little bit of guidance to help you run an interesting, relevant and successful social media competition.    

Know why you are running the competition in the first place

OK, this seems like an obvious one, but the truth is that social media competitions are so convenient to set up and can take so little effort that the temptation can be to jump on in there with the first thing that pops into your head with no real idea of what you want to achieve. This will most likely result in a) very few responses or b) low quality responses which are likely to be of little use to you or your business. By taking the time to consider at length who you are targeting the competition at and what the ultimate goal in doing so is, you will have a much better chance of getting relevant and good quality responses. Some reasons that you may consider running a social media competition are; to increase sales, to increase traffic to your site, to boost brand awareness or to increase your level of email subscribers.  

Feature prizes that your target audience will actually want

Again, this seems like an obvious one, but those of you familiar with such competitions will be aware of some of the incredibly obscure stuff being peddled all over the place.  We once came across a marketing company that was offering rubber chickens in exchange for liking and sharing their post. Ironically the rubber chicken comp did exceptionally well, no doubt as a result of the public’s ever surprising love of the ridiculous...meerkats spring to mind!

Meerkats and rubber chickens aside, your best bet will be to ensure that the prizes available have real value and significance to your target audience. It might only take a click but these days whilst online, people are being more and more selective of what they put their digital seal of approval to.  You may well be in a position to provide these prizes yourself, but if not see if there are any other businesses which could partner up with you.

Use the information you have gathered

It can be all too easy for the valuable information you have gathered to get tossed by the wayside once the competition is over and the prizes have been dished out. Remember that your competition was never about giving out prizes, it was about achieving your original goal. Take the time now to follow up on the information that you have found and make sure that you put your hard won attention to good use.

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Published on: 5th November 2013

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