The Do’s & Don’ts Of Small Business Social Media Contests

The Do’s & Don’ts Of Small Business Social Media Contests

If you're looking to drive up engagement on your social media channels, contests can be a great way to do so. There are all kinds of contests including: • Facebook contests • Pin-to-win contests on Pinterest • Photo contests • Group deals • Quizzes • And more! But there are certain rules you have to follow, and if you don't, the FTC could come knocking on your door. This is the last thing you want as a small business, especially when your primary goal is to build more awareness through targeted social media campaigns. If you're looking to run a contest on social media, here's what you need to know to get started.

The Do's Of Social Media Contests

Do: • Determine whether or not you actually need to run a contest. Some niche businesses will not benefit from running a contest, and depending on what your goals are, a giveaway, or a viral campaign might be a better fit for what you're trying to accomplish. • Familiarize yourself with pertinent guidelines. The do's and don'ts of social media contests largely depend on the platform. For instance, Facebook's guidelines will differ from Pinterest's. Make sure you know what you can and can't do, unless you want to risk getting shut down. Incidentally, the top three most popular places to run a social media contest are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, in that order (SociallyStacked). • Pick an appropriate prize. Lately, a lot of companies have been giving away iPads, but keep in mind that this is an opportunity to showcase your own products and services. An iPad is something everyone pretty much wants to win so you’ll attract a lot of people that are not target customers especially if you’re a location-based business. But if the prize is what you sell then you’re attracting potential customers. For example, a local accounting firm could offer an iPad and get signups from all over the world, but most probably wouldn’t be potential customers. Instead, they could offer a free tax return service for this year’s taxes. That’s more likely to attract the right type of person. • Define the rules of your contest. Make sure potential contest participants are aware of age limits, location restrictions, entry periods, and other relevant information. These details should be readily available and easily found by your followers. The best duration for your campaign is 25 days or 60 days (HubSpot)

The Don'ts Of Social Media Contests

Don't: • Break any guidelines, rules, or laws. Make sure to do your homework. Your contest is subjects to local, state and national laws (sometimes international laws also apply). • Make it more complicated than it needs to be. How can your followers participate in your contest? If you can’t get any entrants, it defeats the point of even running a promotion like this. Entering your contest should be as simple as possible for your followers. Additionally, don't collect more data than you need. It's tempting to gather a lot of personal information from participants in an attempt to get a better understanding of them, but a well-placed survey on a separate occasion will likely serve you better. • Forget to monitor entrant activity. By tracking the IP addresses of your entrants, you can prevent cheating and fraudulent activity from taking place. Let participants know that you will be keeping a lookout for cheaters, and that cheating is not permitted. Then, actually take steps to stay on top of entrant activity. • Forget to create disclaimers. Once you've researched pertinent guidelines, rules and laws, you should be able to craft your disclaimers around your newfound knowledge. Rules are rules, and you can't risk breaking them, so make sure to do your due diligence in covering every aspect of the contest.

Final Thoughts

Social media contests can help you grow your community and increase your following, give people a reason to follow you, build more awareness around your products and services, help you gain more subscribers, drive more sales, and increase engagement. In short, there are a lot of great reasons to run contests. But you can't do it blindly. You have to do your homework, put the right framework in place, and ensure fairness for your entrants, and legal compliance for your own sake. If you're looking for help with your upcoming social media campaign, you'll definitely want to take a look at our social media packages. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.