Are you using social media contests in your strategy? Contests are one of the many strategies that can be utilised to generate leads for your brand.

There are roughly 13 different types of contests you can implement at your company to generate leads, but Twitter sweepstakes, Instagram hashtag contests and Facebook photo contests are my personal favourites.

Everyone loves the chance to win exclusive prizes and be featured and contests are a great way to build your following and authentically engage with them.

Twitter Sweepstakes

Twitter sweepstakes are the most simple type of contests companies can use to gets lots of traction and leads. The recommended duration for a successful sweepstakes contest to run is at least one month. The longer the contest, the more increase in traction but also bare in mind you don’t want a contest that drags out where it loses interest and engagement either.

Sweepstakes are optimised to share, enter and set up. Anyone who enters becomes an automatic follower and it immediately sends a tweet that they have entered. One way to increase your following is to have people posting and tweeting about the sweepstake on their personal pages. The increase in views can lead to a higher click-through and bounce rate. Word of mouth also becomes a key factor with this optimised approach.

In order to maintain awareness and interest in your specific contest, your company can tweet about the sweepstake at least once a day but be conscious of not bombarding them. This ensures that the followers will see the contest often, but they won’t become flooded with overwhelming posts. In addition to posting at least once a day, it’s imperative to switch up the copy in each post so the followers don’t get bored. Overkill and redundancy should not be a part of your social media plan.

Another key factor to a Twitter sweepstake is to qualify people entering your contest. Do not give away prizes that are irrelevant to your business. This can attract bad quality leads and followers. Making sure giveaways are relevant and stay true to your brand identity. This will ensure people are still devoted to your brand and that they’re not just entering the sweepstake to get freebies. Building authentic relationships with your following is crucial when planning a sweepstakes contest. As a company, you can even send followers who did not win the sweepstake a consolation prize. Offering 10% off their next purchase is a great incentive to reward and maintain a loyal customer.

Instagram Hashtag Contest

Instagram hashtag contests are another great way to generate thousands of leads. For the majority of these campaigns, followers are urged to use the specific hashtag, post a photo and follow certain social media accounts in order to be considered to win the contest.

Usually, winners are chosen on the most number of likes/comments or based on company preference. Winners are usually announced via a direct message or a public post, sometimes both. Winners can receive free products and be featured on the company page.

In order to have an effective campaign, it is recommended to run the hashtag contest for at least 4-6 weeks. After the campaign has run, you can collect images from the contest and put them together, this is especially useful if the contest required the user to create their own content, allowing you to have access to a database of content relating to your business that you can disperse on your social platforms.

This is great exposure for both the company and the winners. Creating such great buzz and word of mouth will create sustainable relationships with your followers and new customers to come. Contests are a great incentive to gain new followers, but also reward the ones you already have.

Instagram hashtag contests are easy to manage. It’s recommended to post regularly on your social media page to ensure views of the contest are constantly visible. By switching up the copy, post value and post prize information you can still create hype about the contest without boring your followers.

Since most hashtag contests ask participants to follow the company instagram page, the increase in following and engagement in huge! Plus, if you use the hashtag, customers are more likely to follow so they can stay in loop with the contest. Tagging friends is another way to get referrals and expand your network to target your market.

Instagram is a highly visual and engaging social media platform, so keep this in mind with the visual content you will use for this contest. Through this form of organic growth companies are almost sure to have an increase in following.

Facebook Photo Contest

For the third type of contest mentioned, Facebook photo contests are another great way to collect photos for your brand from your following. The photos gathered from the contest are great for any future marketing efforts your business may have.

Since the photo contest requires a little more work from your followers than the others, it’s important to not ask for too many steps in the application process. It is a contest, so you want the experience to be incredibly easy, user-friendly and fun.

Of course, winners of this type of contest will also get a prize. Making sure prizes are relevant to brand identity and contest is just as important in a photo contest as with the others. Usually, winners are based on most votes. This is a great way to encourage your followers to have a say in your brand and have a connection to the company. This contest not only builds relationships and your tribe, but it also creates organic growth and follow through with user-generated content. Voting is key for this contest.

There are many benefits to using social media contests in your strategy. Building a fanbase is by far the biggest one. The organic growth of followers is great for building a strong presence of your chosen social platform. Second, contests are a great way to engage with your followers and create interaction. User generated content is a great way to build a community on your social sites and build your content portfolio. Contests empower your followers to market for you. By tagging their friends, following your brand, and sharing the word, the marketing is being done for you. Plus, you get a great source of content from these contests. Contests should be part of everyone’s social media strategy in order to have both an engaging and successful campaign.

As a final note, every state and country has regulations regarding giveaways and competitions. Please check with relevant authorities to ensure your contest and terms and conditions adhere to legislation.

Image: Olivia Palermo by Sara Escudero (Vintage Collage)