Digital Marketing Insights

1. Time-sensitive

Contests, deals, and all other types of incentives work best if they are for a limited time only. This is because your potential customers feel as though they may miss out if they do not claim the offer now!

2. Stay focused

While it may be tempting to plan an all out contest extravaganza across all of your social media channels–we recommend that you don’t. It is not easy to design a one contest fits all social networks as each channel has it’s own set of rules or guidelines that need to be followed.

3. Write the rules

To ensure all fairness, create rules to govern your incentives. Even if it is as simple as “How will we choose a winner? How many entries per person?” having a system in place will ensure fair conduct of the contest and streamline the process.

Additionally, each social media channel has its OWN rules surrounding contests and incentives. Please do not break the rules, as you risk being penalized by the network in question (Facebook rules, Twitter guidelines).

One rule I often see disregarded is “share to win” or “tag your friends to enter”. According to Facebook official page guidelines:

Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

4. Follow contest rules

If you live in Canada, there are also some strict guidelines about contests. In general, I have outlined a few items you should disclose in your contest rules. For all of the specific details please visit the Competition Bureau’s Promotional Contests and the Competition Act.

  1. Number and approximate value of prizes
  2. Regional allocation of prizes, if applicable
  3. Chances or odds of winning
  4. If prize is based on skill or random
  5. Contest starting and closing date

Rule breakers!

By no means are these ALL of the rules to using incentives on social media. You should take the time to develop a contest strategy to ensure a great return on your efforts and to ensure all of the governing rules are followed. And if you don’t think a contest strategy is a grand idea, check out these consequences for unfair competitions:

From the Competition Bureau’s archives: “OTTAWA, November 23, 2009 — The Competition Bureau announced today that Manitoba-based Elkhorn Ranch & Resort Ltd. (Elkhorn), which sells time shares for vacation properties, has agreed to pay $170,000 for running misleading promotional contests.”

5. Track & optimize

The contest isn’t over (for you) when you’ve awarded your winner. It is imperative that you analyze and track your results (number of entrants received, an increase in site traffic, increase in-store traffic) to ensure that your efforts are rewarded. Tracking and optimizing become especially important when you’ve run a few contests and can compare your results.

What secrets to success have I missed? Please share your social media contest tips in the comments section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to take your digital marketing to the next level!

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Mouneeb is an experienced digital marketing strategist with a passion for helping clients achieve their goals online. With over 15 years of experience in designing, developing, and managing a team that develops top-notch web projects, he brings a wealth of information to the teams that he leads and the leaders that he follows.

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