This morning I came across this great talk given at Social Fresh by Erica Campbell Byrum from Homes.com. She talks about what it really takes to put on and use a social media competition for business that benefits both the contestants and the business while creating fresh, relevant content that can be used over and over again.
Here are my top notes and takeaways from the talk;
- You need to be really really organised and prepared. Erica suggests that it takes a good 2 to 3 months to create a competition that will give you top notch results
- Competitions a great way to create customer engagement on social media and your website
- Creating content is a big task and if you are a solopreneur or have a small team, competitions provide a great way to crowdsource content that is current and up to date
- You don’t need to be a sexy brand to run an amazingly effective contest
- Contests and competitions are great for bringing prospects in to the top of your funnel
- If you create a competition where people are contributing something (such as photo’s they have taken themselves) you can then choose the best of the contestants entries and reach out to them to create a blog posts. Erica found that most of their entrants on a particular comp they had were bloggers. The win win here was that they got some great new content and the bloggers got guests blogging spots that drove traffic back to their blogs. Some of them stayed on to keep adding guests posts regularly giving them ongoing traffic and give homes.com excellent regular content
- Reuse content that has received great engagement. You can reuse the content months down the track. Look at what was successful and re-purpose it. Rewrite the heading and seo the post to get a whole fresh set of traffic. If a particular piece of info was popular once it will most certainly be popular the next time you share it
- Keep building relationships with bloggers and share content with each other
- There are 3 stages when creating a competition that you need to work through (this is where the 2 to 3 months of planning comes in). Stage 1 is Before, Stage 2 is During and Stage 3 is After. Each stage is super important
- some of the key parts to competitons include;
- setting your goals, be specific
- knowing the best type of competition to use for your goals is important (sweepstakes, photo comps)
- research 3rd party platforms for running your competitions, these help you adhear to rules
- make sure you plan out all your images sizes so when you start marketing the competition you have each platform covered. You don’t want to be having to muck around with images sizes to suit twitter because your fb size doesn’t work on twitter. Need to be prepared
- what is your call to action, what do you want people to do?
- what landing page will you use?
- how are you going to capture peoples details? What is your lead capture process?
- what are your legal obligations for each platform? what will you do if Pinterest changes the rules of running a competition with them? How will you manage the change in rules during a competition?
- as a part of your terms of entry make sure you have a clause that states that you own the rights to the content during and after the competition for marketing purposes.
- what are your prizes going to be?
- be creative with prizes. Homes.com did something really cool – they chose some random entrants at the end of their competition and sent them some gifts.
- stick to 1 or 2 platforms at the most to run the competition (market on many though)
- Involve your employees/team to participate in the company competition. You could have a separate company only prize for them such as paid time off work or gift vouchers. Having your team be involved creates some fun at work and also helps push your competition out to their networks
- Make sure you engage with entrants to the competition as they are entering. Great way to build relationships and engagement during!
- Have a strategy for dealing with competition trolls. Deal with them straight away, don’t ignore them.
- Make a really big deal of the winner. Create a press release announcing the winner and get the media involved. If you have a local business use a photo of you presenting an oversized check to the winner or a photo of a rep from your company handing the winner the prize.
- After the competition, keep reusing the content, images, posts that were created during the contest. Stock images don’t work. Real photos from you, your team and entrants can be used. People love seeing their images used (make sure you have the clause added so you have the right to use the images)
- Measurement is a must. Dig into your analytics and look at the numbers. What worked (do more of if), what didn’t work (don’t do that again)!
- Prepare a competition recap. Key metrics could be, how many pins, how many extra followers, how many shares on each platform
And my final take away was that your employees, fans and customers can become your best storytellers as well as your best content creators!
Has this made you think about competitions a little differently? I’d love to hear how you have used competitions in your business or how you now plan to use a competition for your business in the comments below.
Here is the link to the video “How to Create Winning Social Media Contests” if you would like to see if for yourself. It goes for about half an hour so make yourself a cuppa and make sure you have a pen and paper to take a stack of notes.