Using Social Media Contests & Research for Lead Generation

March 5, 2011
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People love to win prizes. They love to win in business and in life. They will usually be willing to give up a little personal information if they think that they will win something. Social media contests are no different. 

People love to win prizes. They love to win in business and in life. They will usually be willing to give up a little personal information if they think that they will win something. Social media contests are no different. 

From the outside, it may seem as though the only ones who are benefitting from a contest are the contestants. That is actually not true. Social media contests are a wonderful way to build up your list of prospective clients. Many, many people who use the Internet have entered a contest online at some point in the recent past. Many people participate in contests on a regular basis.

As a business owner, it is simple for you to set up your own social media contest. Make sure that the theme of your contest is compelling and worthwhile to those people who you want to enter it.

Here is how a contest works:

  • Choosing contest winners: contest winners are chosen through an evaluation process (such as an audience voting for a particular individual or the contestants having to meet certain criteria). With a contest, you are able to control contestant participation and thus you can customize it to your target audience choice.
  • Choosing a goal: Your objective, when running a contest, is to create a buzz. However, you can also use your contest to gather a list of contacts, collect research results and educate your contestants. You need to ask yourself which specific goals you want to accomplish:
    • Educating your contestants: In order to accomplish this goal, you might ask that your contestants view a video before entering the contest. Another possibility is to send them a detailed Email that includes a list of instructions for the contest.
    • Gathering information: Your contest entry form might include names, addresses and phone numbers, Email addresses, social media handles, etc. It is very important to remember to request permission to contact the contestants again in the future. You should look at it as though the contestants agreeing to this is a privilege that they are granting you rather than your right.
    • Collecting research: A good way to accomplish this goal is to ask the contestants to complete a survey before they enter the contest.

It is critical to remember that the contest can never be about selling anything. There is absolutely no purchase necessary in order for them to enter the contest. In fact, it is not legal for you to make purchasing your products and/or services a requirement before entering the contest.

The contest rules

The rules are dictated by laws (both state and local). You should always work with someone who has knowledge of the legal aspects of contests so that you do everything correctly.

Picking the prize

You need to be very careful when picking the prize for your contest. You want to pick a prize that will draw a great deal of attention. The prize should be fun, valuable and useful. Another effective prize is one that can be shared among people (for example, entrance to a party or tickets to an event).

Promoting your contest

A good pool from which to draw contestants is your current website traffic. You can send out Email invitations or discuss the promotion on social media channels. Once you have reached out to your initial connections, you can get people to your Facebook Fan page, where they will be able to enter your social media contest. Of course, you need to make sure that you have a healthy number of Fans on your Facebook Fan page. Once you have gotten the initial people to enter the contest, you should encourage them to speak with their friends about entering your contest. It is an excellent way to get a large number of people to enter the contest.

Concluding

After you have all of the contestants that you feel you would need, you need to pick your contest winner. At this point, you will not only award the prize to the winning contestant but you will also promote the end of the contest. Make sure that you follow the contest rules to the letter. It is a very good idea to inform all of your connections who opted in about the contest results. You should offer them some sort of reward for having entered the contest. Now, your ultimate goal is to take those contestants and convert them to clients.