This is a guest post by Suki Harrison, a marketer who specialises in competitions and giveaways. (See end of article for more on Suki.)

I know what you’re thinking, ‘ugh, I hate those stupid tag and share and like and win competitions…’ and you’re right, they’re awful. In fact, I’ll wager that I despise them more than you do.

So why am I writing an article about making the most of social media competitions, then? The truth is that those tag and share competitions you see every time you open up Facebook (they’re usually always shared by the same person, aren’t they?!) are awful. Not only are they awful, but they’re also against Facebook’s guidelines, so the pages that run them risk being shut down for good.

But when competitions and giveaways are run properly and strategically they can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool which are also cost effective. I’m going to share a few ways you can make the most of running social media competitions for your business.

Stay away from tag and share!

Asking people to enter a competition via tagging friends and sharing a post risks your profile and page being shut down. Not only that, but realistically, tag and share competitions are completely and utterly pointless as they do nothing to grow your business besides associating your brand name with spammy competitions… while also annoying lots of people.

Set a smart goal

Have a good think about what you want to achieve with your competition.

  • Do you want to encourage members to join your mailing list (proven to be a higher conversion than social media)?
  • Do you want to create brand awareness for your newly launched classes or complimentary product range?

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you map out how you can achieve it. After all, you wouldn’t set off on a journey somewhere new without a map or GPS, would you?

Avoid the prize pigs

You know that person who always shares those tag and share competitions? In the industry we call them ‘prize pigs’ or ‘compers’.

Some professional compers have quit their day jobs to enter competitions for a living, often reselling their prizes for cash. These are not the kind of people you want to attract to your competition.

Tailor your competition to your ideal client

How do you avoid the compers? By tailoring every aspect of your competition – from your entry method to your advertising – to your ideal clients. That means you have to really get to know who your ideal client is and where they hang out so that you can get your competition in front of them.

Use the language they would use, use images featuring people just like them, if they use Pinterest over Facebook, make sure you’re on Pinterest, and so forth.

The best prize

The best prize is always, always, always your own product or service.

Before you protest and say ‘people don’t want to win that!’ ask yourself whether they currently pay for it. If they pay for it, I’ll guarantee you they’d want to win it for free.

Consider giving away a month’s pass for your classes or workshops, a consultant package, or an exclusive not-available-for-purchase one-on-one session with you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking expensive is better. Instead, aim for prizes that your clients value highly, over high dollar value.

Leverage your leads

Every single person who enters your competition is a potential client, so don’t leave them hanging. Bring them into the fold straight away by welcoming them in with an automated email response, letting them know what you do and how you do it (if they’re not already familiar with you) and what they can expect next.

A great way to engage people post-competition is by sending out an offer exclusive to your competition entrants. This could be a unique discount code, free trial, or other offer designed to work out who is most engaged, and generate some sales.

Don’t be afraid of opt outs

Remember those prize pigs I mentioned? If they have managed to slip through undetected, chances are, they’ll opt out the second they see they haven’t won.

This is a good thing. Let them go and don’t take it personally. They were never going to convert into paying customers and them opting out of your list means you can focus your time and attention on clients and prospects who value your business.

Part of the bigger plan

Competitions are fantastic short-term marketing campaigns geared to smash specific goals. Whilst they can be used in isolation from your other marketing activity, they work best when they’re part of a bigger marketing masterplan. Use competitions strategically to complement a launch campaign or rebrand or build your email list quickly, following up your competition with an educational campaign designed to show your new audience what exactly you do and what you can help them with.

Competitions are like puzzles: each piece, including your goal, your target audience, your entry method, your follow up marketing, your advertising, is designed to create a successful campaign that builds your business – and if sales are your goal, your bank account too.

A little strategic thinking goes a long way to building long-term and meaningful client relationships with your new community.

About Suki Harrison
OrigamiGlobe was founded in 2015 by Chief Giveaway Guru, Suki Harrison to help inspire more businesses to run effective competitions and giveaways that get real results. Having worked with the big names like AAMI, Allianz, Disney, Coles, Pepsi and Woolworths on nation-wide competitions and campaigns, Suki decided it was time to take her unique knowledge of competition strategy and passion for meaningful marketing to inspire and help small to medium businesses grow.