How to Create, Manage, and Measure Twitter Contests

Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of my life was being the ninth caller through to my local radio station and winning a copy of the Titanic soundtrack.

At the time, this felt like a miraculous event. Without social media, there weren’t many ways to win things that didn’t involve frantically and repeatedly calling a phone number, or filling out an entry form from a magazine, mailing it in, and waiting with bated breath for a congratulatory call that would never come.

Now, businesses can use social media to run contests that have a low barrier to entry but still create positive brand experiences. One of the easiest platforms to do this on is Twitter. This post will cover everything you need to know about running a contest on Twitter, from setting a goal and choosing a format, to managing the action as it happens and measuring success.

Set a goal for your Twitter contest

Twitter contests are a great way to do something nice for your followers, but with a strategic goal in mind they can also benefit your social media presence and your business.

Your contest can revolve around a Twitter-specific goal, a business goal, or both. Here are some examples:

Twitter goals:

  • Gaining new followers
  • Increasing engagement

Business goals:

  • Increasing sales
  • Raising awareness for a campaign or product launch
  • Driving web traffic

The next step is choosing the type of Twitter contest that can best help you achieve these goals.

5 Twitter contest ideas

1. “RT and follow to win” contest

This is the most popular type of contest on Twitter because of how easy it is for people to enter. You simply have to craft a Tweet that more or less follows this structure:

Want to win [description of prize]? RT and follow us to enter!

Other things you may want to include in your contest Tweet are:

  • A shortened link to your rules and regulations (we’ll cover this in more detail below).
  • A deadline for entering the contest to create a sense of urgency, i.e. “Enter before noon on Monday!”
  • A photo of the prize, which will make it more enticing and help the Tweet stand out in people’s feeds.

Here’s an example of a “RT and follow to win” contest from Toblerone.

This type of contest is great for:

  • Gaining new followers. By including the caveat that people must follow your account to be entered, you’ll see a nice uptick in followers. Just make sure you continue supplying them with quality content after the contest ends in order to keep them engaged.
  • Raising awareness. This type of contest relies on people sharing your content with their own Twitter networks. Use it to introduce a new product or campaign and capitalize on the increased attention.

2. Crowdsourcing contest

Social media offers direct access into the minds of consumers, which means you don’t have to guess what they want anymore—you can ask them.

Ben and Jerry’s U.K. did this when they turned to Twitter to develop a new flavor of ice cream. By running a crowdsourcing contest, Ben and Jerry’s U.K. collected input from their customers about the flavors they wanted by encouraging them to submit their ideas using the hashtag #MyBenAndJerrys. They created personalized images based on some of the submissions and tweeted them back at their followers. Even if your idea didn’t become the winning flavor, having your submission turned into a fun graphic would be worth it.

A crowdsourcing contest isn’t just limited to businesses with tangible products to sell. Your contest could revolve around crowdsourcing the name of a new feature, a company mascot, an award, the name of a scholarship, and so on.

This type of contest is great for:

  • Raising awareness. When you have a new offering, there’s no better way to generate hype than by getting people personally involved with it. The emotional investment created by a contest like this will make your audience feel more connected to your brand.
  • Increasing sales. People will be a lot more interested in trying a new product if they’ve been personally involved in its creation, which can help increase sales. The Ben and Jerry’s contest most likely piqued the interest of those who entered, making them more likely to go and purchase the new product so they could try the flavor that won.

3. “Flock to unlock” contest

This isn’t exactly a contest in the traditional sense, but it is a great way to reward ALL your Twitter followers instead of a single winner. Here’s how it works. You offer something to your followers on Twitter, whether it’s an exclusive offer or piece of content. The catch is that it will only become available after it’s been “unlocked” by a certain amount of Tweets or Retweets.

This example from Bonobos shows one way of doing this. They ran a 24-hour sale that would only become available after the Tweet was retweeted 49 times.

This type of contest is great for:

  • Raising awareness. People who participate in a “flock to unlock” campaign will want to see the goal achieved. This makes it more likely that they’ll share the Tweet with their followers, raising awareness for your brand and offering in the process.
  • Driving web traffic. Challenge your followers to unlock something that you host on your website. Once the goal has been achieved everyone will want to claim their prize, driving traffic to your site as a result.

4. Q&A contest

This type of contest requires a bit more creativity on the part of your followers. Ask your followers to caption a photo, fill in a blank, or answer a question using a specific hashtag you’ve created for the contest. Honda ran a contest like this, asking followers to caption a photo with the hashtag #WinWinter in order to win a set of winter tires.

The only potential issue with a contest like this is that unless you’re going to choose the winner at random, it’s subjective. Because of that, the people who didn’t win may take issue and air their grievances out on Twitter for all to see.

This type of contest is great for:

  • Increasing engagement. This contest will get people talking about (and to) your brand on Twitter. Turn each interaction into something fun and memorable, and a contest like this could lead to a sustainable increase in engagement.

5. UGC contest

This type of contest revolves around user-generated content, which could include either photos or videos submitted by your followers on Twitter. Our own #IWorkFromHere contest (which is open until July 1!) is an example of this.

Anyone can enter by downloading the free Hootsuite mobile app and using it to post a photo of where they work, including the hashtag #IWorkFromHere and tagging @hootsuite. We’re using Hootsuite Campaigns to collect all the entries in a gallery, which is a great way to showcase all of the amazing submissions and give some inspiration to anyone who may be thinking about entering.

This type of contest is great for:

  • Increasing engagement. The people that enter this type of contest are probably some of your biggest potential brand advocates. They’ve gone beyond a simple “Retweet to win” call-to-action, taking the time to create content especially for your brand. This is the type of engagement that any business is lucky to have.
  • Raising awareness. No matter what type of content you’re asking people to create in order to enter, make sure it ties back to your business. Our #IWorkFromHere contest is designed to reward our followers with a new travel experience, but it also raises awareness about how our mobile app can help social media marketers work effectively from anywhere.

No matter what type of Twitter contest you decide on, we can help! Launch a Twitter contest through Hootsuite Campaigns and you’ll be able to:

  • Monitor and moderate the contest in real time to showcase the best of your fans
  • Require a hashtag and/or mention in order to enter
  • Enable voting, encouraging users to share and support the best Tweets

Create rules for your Twitter contest

Make sure your contest adheres to Twitter’s guidelines for promotions. Additionally, you should have your own set of rules that people can easily find. You may choose to add a link to your official rules in your initial contest Tweet or spread it out across two Tweets, as Gillette did in the example below.

How to manage your Twitter contest

Once your Twitter contest is up and running, Hootsuite can help you stay on top of every entry. Set up streams to track your contest hashtag or keywords, and you’ll be able to monitor all the action in one place.

Even if you’re receiving an overwhelming number of entries (woo!), try to engage with everyone who enters your contest. This could be as simple as liking their Tweet, or Retweeting a couple different entries every day.

Make sure the winners know exactly how to claim their prize. Some businesses choose to announce the winners publicly on Twitter and others don’t. I once worked for a brand that had a target audience comprised mainly of teenagers and young adults. While sending out a Tweet that included the winner’s handle would have been a nice way to congratulate them, we knew that it could also potentially expose them to online bullying and harassment.

As an alternative, you can contact winners via Direct Messages and either give them all of the information they need to know about claiming their prize there or ask that they email your business.

How to measure the success of your Twitter contest

To demonstrate the value of your Twitter contest, create a summary report to share with the rest of your team. Include screenshots of some contest entries along with metrics such as:

  • The total number of contest entries
  • The number of times the contest hashtag was used
  • The amount of new followers gained
  • Link clicks and website traffic
  • The number of contest shares

There may be other metrics of success you’ll want to measure, depending on the goal and format of your contest. For example, the number of app downloads your contest generated or the number of coupon codes that were redeemed. Having chosen specific goals ahead of time, it should be easy to connect the dots between your Twitter contest and a positive impact on the business.

Hootsuite Campaigns can help you build beautiful social media contests in a matter of minutes. Get started for free today.

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The post How to Create, Manage, and Measure Twitter Contests appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management


Author: Dewey D. Guinn

Internet marketing for small businesses is not a job for the faint hearted. It requires much effort as well as adapting to newer tips and tricks to keep everything on place. The constant need to be on the on the know is a must. Nevertheless the need to keep your tools sharp, ready and be able to adapt on the ever changing ways of the trade. Though hard as it may seem to be, the success that you acquire in the end is truly rewarding.

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