3 Things To Keep In Mind For Successful Twitter And Facebook Contests

twitter and facebook contestsContests are overabundant in the online space. Twitter contests, Facebook contests, blog contests, you name it. I've been very fortunate to win quite a few, all the way from a signed copy of Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk to a brand new Xbox 360.

I've also ran a few contests such as the most recent giveaway, a signed copy of UnMarketing from Scott Stratten and also a couple for the Myrtle Beach Facebook page.

Now, although contests are great and a great way to increase exposure, fans, etc., they can also fail miserably or not receive the right kind of response as you'd hope. Also, a big mistake is that some companies, sites and Twitter accounts will run one contest after another. Although that's all fine and dandy, 1) Is it effective in terms of costs and time and 2) You do have more for your strategy, right?

Anyways, back to the generalities. There's a few things that need to be taken into a successful contest:

Is It Something People Can/Will Connect With?

Think current trends or something that will be directly beneficial to them. If you're a business consultant, an AMEX gift card would be great to help someone with their business and day to day expenses. If you're a company that sells productivity software, give away a one year license.

You get the idea.

Giving away something that has no direct correlation to you and/or your business, does very little to further your brand. And this is what I was talking about those who throw contest after a contest. Sooner or later, that's all that people expect. They don't care about your products. They don't care about your services. They don't care that X was just launched. They want to know when the next contest is!

Do You Have The Audience?

This is by far one of the biggest as I've witnessed this myself. Yes, contests are a great way to increase one's audience, but you have to have one before you can gain more of one. I'm not talking thousands of readers/subscribers/followers/fans, but more than just a few people. Early in my blogging career, I tried a couple contests and they failed miserably.

Even after a couple weeks, no entries whatsoever. I ended up scrapping those and learned very quickly just how crucial an audience is. An audience, particularly one that's loyal, will share your content and when a contests comes around, will get it out there. If you do have an audience, it also helps to leverage other audiences.

With my UnMarketing contest, I knew that Scott had a very large and passionate following. That's not the sole reason I threw the contest: 1) I got to meet Scott personally at an EPIC tweetup he threw on the balcony of a badass place overlooking the Las Vegas strip, 2) He signed his book the next day at the conference we were at and 3) The book was great and couldn't recommend it enough.

That being said, I also knew that his book was quite popular and it could directly benefit my audience. By establishing a relationship with Scott, he happened to share my contest with his followers which, not surprisingly, accounted for around 60% of the total entries!

Did You Keep It Simple?

The more steps, the more the potential confusion, the more people won't enter. You really have to keep it simple when it comes to Twitter or Facebook related contests. People don't want to jump through all these hoops. Look at some of the biggest contests out there and learn from them. Don't copy them word for word; copy their simplicity.

"What contest tips do you have to add?"

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