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Should Contests Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy?

Should Contests Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy?

If you really want to get a bunch of small business owners talking, ask them what they think about contests as a marketing strategy. Some business owners swear by them, while, frankly, others swear about them.

We think there’s some real value to be found in using contests as part of your marketing – but (big surprise!) you have to be strategic and have a plan to make contests truly work or you. Here’s what you need to know:

Before You Have a Contest, You Need a Goal

Don’t just have a contest for the sake of having a contest. Instead, you want to know, clearly and concretely, what you want to accomplish with your contest. Identify and articulate your goals for the contest. For example, would you like to introduce your company to 5,000 new people or give a new product line a significant boost as it is launched? A contest can be a good way to accomplish these goals.

Understand That A Contest Is An Investment

There’s more to a contest than giving away a prize. You need to be aware that a contest takes time to promote, oversee, and follow up on. Contests do not function like the proverbial field of dreams: this is not a build it and they will come type of situation. Instead, plan on devoting some serious hours to promoting your contest through traditional and social media, as well as through your place of business. If you do not promote your contest actively, it will be a big flop. Remember that promoting the contest doesn’t stop after you’ve chosen a prize winner: for maximum impact, you’ll want a big campaign announcing the final results in a way that encourages all the people who didn’t win to do business with you anyway.

Targeting Matters – A Lot!

When you’re creating your contest, you’ll want to think about what kind of experience will strengthen the relationship new or existing customers have with your brand. One of the biggest complaints business owners have with contests is that they attract large numbers of people who would never, ever be their customer. You can mitigate this issue both by choosing the right prize and making entering the contest a little tougher than just clicking ‘like’ (a tactic that Facebook frowns on, by the way!)

One of the best contests we’ve ever seen was run by a landscaping company that gave away $300 worth of shrubs and flowering trees to the winner – but to enter, contestants had to submit a photo showing exactly where they’d plant the prizes. This cut a lot of people who enter contests just for the thrill of winning right out of the picture, keeping the focus instead on people who are truly interested in landscaping.

Data Capture, Data Capture, Data Capture

The real value of running a contest is the amount of data you can capture about people who are definitely or potentially interested in your business. As you’re structuring your contest, you need a way to collect email addresses or other contact information, as well as opt-in permissions allowing you to contact participants in the future. Follow up contests with a marketing campaign that keeps your brand in front of your customers’ eyes: that’s the best way to translate the excitement of a contest into something even more thrilling for the small business owner: sales!

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office