Using competitions to engage customers on social media

Posted in Marketing and social media.

Social media is a very useful tool for marketing and interacting with customers. It need not be mentioned that many people look to social media when researching brands. Also, it creates a platform to connect with your customers. One way that social media can be used to both create a “sense of community” and attract new customers is to create a competition.

Social media competitions attract people

Whether it’s the promise of a prize, an innate motivation to compete, or just out of random fun, competitions draw people in. Social media makes competitions more… well, social! It’s not a set rule that applies to everybody, but generally if people are doing something others will follow suit. That is partly how trends are governed. What this means is that if people are attracted to competitions, others will be attracted by the people being attracted.

Social media magnifies this attraction. Due to the nature of social media, the more people that come to your page or view your competition, the more that competition will be shown to people. Additionally, if part of your competition includes a hashtag, or a way of introducing others to the competition, you end up spreading the competition almost exponentially, and by reference, your brand as well.

This sort of snowballing effect can be used as its own form of marketing. Much the same way word-of-mouth spreads from person to person, social media facilitates the same sort of spreading albeit on a larger and faster scale.

Social media reinforces engagement

As a business, it is always good to build bonds with your customers. A good bond generally translates to customer loyalty. But what is even better than a bond between a business and its customers? A bond between two customers who have a connection with a business. In a sense, community strengthens loyalty.

If people can share their love or preference for a business, they can connect with others who also have a preference for that business. Slowly but surely, a community develops. People with the same interests will usually get together and a community of people with the same interest may encourage others to join in on that interest. If you can make your business that interest, you have managed to cultivate customer loyalty.

Using competitions to foster engagement with your business is much more effective through social media. If competitions are a rare thing, the rewards and experience play a big role in the outcome. If competitions are a regular thing, people can expect to see more competitions. If they came to you solely for the competitions, they may still follow you on social media just to participate in those competitions. As a by-product, they are more likely to see your marketing, possibly increasing their chances of buying from you.

The experience that a competition gives can form positive associations with your brand and make it more likely for people to further engage with it.

Some examples of social media competitions

Before deciding to hold a competition, it is important to sort out the logistics. Who is your target audience? What is the prize? With the available tools, what kind of competition can you hold? These are all things that need to be considered first. Much like a marketing campaign, if a competition rubs people the wrong way, it can really put your image in a negative light.

Understand who you want interacting with your brand. If you cater to the IT department maybe design a competition with tech as a theme. Try and keep the theme of the competition inline with your brand’s image and values. If your brand is about sports and exercise, perhaps an essay competition about teenage romance may feel like it comes out of left field.

Simple ideas for competitions include:

  • Lotteries – Depending on how it is done, lotteries have the potential for attracting a shallow following. The only engagement with lotteries is with the prize. Generally, it would be best to pair lotteries with more engaging activities.
  • Art or music contests – If you are looking to attract the more creative people, art and music contests are a way to go. Possible prizes include designing a new logo, brand design, or any other appropriate prize such as money. People posting their art or music on their social media are likely to attract more people.
  • Quizzes – Quizzes are usually simple to design, but offer a lot of satisfaction for customers who already like your brand. These quizzes can centre around a current marketing campaign or just relate to themes related to the brand.
  • Choose the best comment – The competition can revolve around comments that people make. The best one can be chosen by you or by other social media users.

Make use of social media to expand the scope of the audience. Requiring a like, comment, retweet, hashtag, or any other sort of way of spreading information across social media will ensure that it reaches many people with minimal investment.

There are a variety of ways to structure and organise a social media competition. Get creative with it and make it fun. Understand your market and leverage this knowledge. Use jargon that resonates with your audience and create a competition that they will engage with.