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Running an Awesome Twitter Contest

Despite its lackluster performance in the stock market, Twitter is still one of the busiest and most important social networking sites out there. People still rely on Twitter as their best source of real-time news and on-the-go entertainment.

It also remains to be the best place for consumers and brands to converge and interact because it provides engagement you can’t get anywhere else. While Twitter may have seen better days in the stock market, we don’t see brands backing out of the platform.

If you’re a brand owner or a marketer, Twitter can help you achieve your marketing goals through the immense amount of engagement it can deliver. One of the best ways you can drive engagement and attention to your Twitter profile is by running a contest. Twitter contests are highly rewarding and can easily be managed even by smaller, up-and-coming brands.

Learn everything there is to know about running an awesome Twitter contest below.

Image credit: MoneyNewsDaily

The Do’s

Hosting a Twitter contest is easy but running an AWESOME one takes a bit more work. In order to ensure your campaign’s success, you must set aside time and energy towards thinking your strategy through. An awesome Twitter contest should have the following characteristics:

  • Identifiable Goals
  • Clear Rules and Guidelines
  • Healthy Engagement Between Contestants and Brands
  • Works to Solidify Brand’s Social Proof
  • Vast Awareness from Target Audience
  • Memorable
  • Time Sensitive

Find out how you can run a Twitter contest that has all of these characteristics in our detailed guide below.

Identify Your Goals

You should treat a Twitter contest just like you would any other marketing endeavor. You have to put a good amount of time and energy into setting identifiable goals that will set the course of the entire contest.

Ask yourself what you want to achieve at the end of the contest. You need to be clear about your goals as early as now so you’ll have clear, agreed-upon procedures on how to conduct the contest later on. Now is the perfect time to gather your entire team so you can align your goals with one another.

Set Clear Rules

Avoid setting using excessive gatekeepers or click-throughs that may confuse contestants and deter people from joining. You must also make sure your contest rules are in compliance with Twitter’s Community Guidelines.

Violating any of the rules stated in the guidelines could get you or your followers suspended.

Ask Them to Mention You

Before launching your contest, make sure you have a system in place that will help you track all of the entries you receive.

One way to accomplish this through your notification tab is by asking your followers to @Mention you on their tweet. By being mentioned in their tweets, you can easily view all of the mentions in one place.

Come in Strong with Convincing Social Proof

Gaining a credible reputation on Twitter can be challenging for brands who are relatively new to the platform. If you don’t have the time nor the patience to wait on organic growth, you should consider purchasing a few thousand high-quality Twitter followers from a reputable provider. These bought followers will help you attract more attention and draw in more people to join your contest.

Hype the Launch

Now that you have all the rules in place and a militia-sized army of bought followers to strengthen your social proof, you need to hype your contest up to get even more people to join in. A few days to a week before you launch your contest, publish teasers that explain the rules to the contest along with the prize that is up for grabs.

Use a Unique Hashtag

A contest is the best time to use a custom hashtag to help your branding efforts. Many brands come up with a unique hashtag for their campaigns to make them more memorable to more users. Remember to keep your custom hashtag short and sweet for more visibility and mileage.

Set a Schedule and a Deadline

Launching a contest without a schedule or a timeline in mind can be chaotic, both for you and your followers. Make sure you have adequate time dedicated to launching and hosting your contest to avoid burning yourself out.

You should also give your followers ample time to join in. Run the contest too long and people will lose interest, but run it too short and we’re sure you’ll get a lot of complaints.

The Don’ts

Just as there are do’s to hosting an awesome Twitter contest, there are some don’ts you have to be aware of. Failing to avoid some of the pitfalls we will mention here can have devastating results. Be a law-abiding Twitter citizen and avoid the following.

  • Don’t Encourage Contestants to Create Multiple Accounts
  • Avoid Spamming or Flooding
  • Don’t be Limited to Twitter When Promoting

Don’t Let Contestants Create Multiple Accounts

Creating multiple accounts for the sake of winning a contest is against Twitter’s Community Guidelines.

By violating the rules, contestants risk getting banned from the platform for having multiple accounts. Make sure you explicitly say in your rules that creating multiple accounts is strictly prohibited and are grounds for disqualification.

Don’t Encourage Flooding or Spamming

Flooding and spamming also go against Twitter’s rules. Don’t encourage your contestants to submit multiple entries in one day.

These repeated entries make it difficult to track other entries from other users. Instead of asking contestants to submit multiple entries, ask them to focus on engagement-worthy tweets to help drive the right kind of attention.

Don’t Just Promote it on Twitter

When running a Twitter contest, you have to promote it across different channels. Use all your social networking channels to spread the word about your contest. This is the best time to encourage existing friends and followers who may not be following you on Twitter to start connecting.

Different Contest Formats

Now that you’re acquainted with the rules of running a Twitter contest, you need to get to know the different types of Twitter contest you can take inspiration from for your own campaign.

Photo Contests

Photos get a lot of attention on Twitter because they are among the most visible type of posts. If you want to amass a lot of user generated content (UGC), this is the best way to do it. You can use the photos you receive for your future campaigns as long as you have the owner’s permission.

A photo contest can be highly subjective so it’s important that you set clear criteria when it comes to choosing the winner. Be as transparent as you can about the rules of the game to avoid confusing contestants and deterring other users from joining.

The Chiquito is a hip Mexican grill that effectively uses Twitter to get their customers to upload photos of their signature margarita. Customers can join in the fun by taking a snapshot of their margarita and uploading it to Twitter using the hashtag #SayFreeze.

While we really don’t know what their customers can get from this, we can say their current strategy is working and margarita sales are probably through the roof.

Hashtag Contest

These days, people of the internet remember hashtags more than they remember brand messages. Hashtags not only make you easier to find by creating a search index, they also make you more memorable to your target audience. Using them as a central element to your contest is the fastest way to get your marketing message across.

Last year, Degree Deodorant for Women gave everyone a chance to win tickets to a Becky G. concert through the hashtag #EveryMoveCounts. They asked fans to tweet them their favorite dance move of all time for a chance to win concert tickets. Their followers became quite creative and submitted videos, running man GIFs and more to score those coveted tickets.

Crowdsourcing Contest

Twitter contests are also a great opportunity for brands to gain fresh ideas from their fans through crowdsourcing contests. Asking for people’s opinion or ideas about a new product or service you may be launching is a great way to get them more invested in your brand.

Ben & Jerry’s has always been an intuitive brand that knows how to get ice cream fans more invested in their product. On their website, people can submit ice cream flavor ideas in the hopes of seeing them on the shelves one day.

Ben & Jerry’s UK stepped it up even further by asking fans to submit ice cream flavor ideas through Twitter. Some of the best ideas were turned into custom graphics. While these flavors may not be hitting the shelves anytime soon, it’s admittedly cool to see your idea materialize on social media, posted by one of your favorite brands.

And if you want some more ice creamy goodness:

Caption This Contest

Internet users love having their brains picked with difficult challenges. One way to get their creative juices flowing is by running a ‘Caption This” contest. You upload an image and ask fans to come up with creative or hilarious captions for it.

Canadians know their snow and Honda Canada took advantage of this by running a ‘Caption This” contest on Twitter. They asked their fans to come up with creative captions to the image shown above. It may not sound difficult, but when you look at how bad so many of the submissions are you might think again.

They did receive some hilariously honest entries as well, all from Canadians who wanted to win a pair of winter tires that are essential to surviving their notorious weather. They picked a great picture to go along with the product they offer.

Retweet Contest

A retweet contest is a great opportunity to drive positive traffic to your profile while putting your product or services in the spotlight. When it comes to choosing the winner, you can either choose them at random or you can have a clear set of criteria for contestants to adhere to.

Gillette UK gave away signed soccer gear from England’s No. 1 player to a lucky follower who RT’ed their post.

They got enthusiastic and often funny responses from avid soccer fans. The image strategically featured a Gillette Fusion shaver and every retweet gave them free press on the internet.

Host a Contest, Win at Twitter Marketing

If you haven’t run a Twitter contest yet, now is the time to do it. This is a great opportunity to gain more followers while maintaining healthy engagement among those who already follow you.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money in order to make a Twitter contest work. The secret behind an awesome Twitter contest lies in the amount of planning you invest on the project beforehand.

Even the most spontaneous Twitter contests require ample preparation. Sit down with your entire team and identify your goals in order to lay down the rules to your contest.

You should also consider buying yourself an impressive amount of Twitter Followers to strengthen your social proof in time for your launch. Buying a few thousand high-quality Followers from a reputable provider will help you attract more organic followers while efficiently strengthening your credibility online.

What are you waiting for? Start giving away prizes and winning at Twitter marketing by running your own very awesome contest!