Twitter contests: what you should know about them

Different types of contests are possible on Twitter. So everything depends on the goals the company plans to achieve.

If the goal is to increase the number of followers or email newsletter subscribers, then a simple contest when users have to follow you and do some not complicated task will be perfect you’re your case.

If the task is immediate sales, then launch the contest when for participants (not only the winners) can receive coupon.

In case brand is looking for better audience engagement, then it is worth to run a contest- election, thanks to which you will receive user generated content (photos, videos, etc.).

Now let’s consider more in detail all possible variants of Twitter contests and their special features.

Questions & Answers

This type of contest usually doesn’t have a virus effect, however it allows brand to interact with the customers on the regular basis. Besides, it is quite easy to prepare and hold such contest.

Preparation.  Make a list of  questions and determine the contest time frame. Specialists recommend to answer questions which relate to the brand or its product/services. Then choose the prize – it could be also your product or something connected with the brand. Next step is to inform followers about the upcoming event, its time, rules and prizes. The key to success is to create as much buzz around it as possible  before the contest starts.

Contest launch. Post question on Twitter and track the answers users give, put them all down in Excel.

Choosing a winner. To select the winner you can use one of the following methods:

– award the user, who was the first to answer the question;

– give the prize to the person who gave the most precise answer;

– select the winner randomly;

– award the user with the most creative answer.

Example. In 2010 KFC ran a contest on Twitter, offering to compete for $20,000 college scholarship. To win, participants had to write the most creative tweet with hashtag  #KFCScholar in which they had to explain why they deserve the prize. Over 2,8 thousand people took part in this contest.

To simplify the monitoring system, include a strict requirement – to mention @brand. Hashtag search doesn’t always work properly.

Contest which requires target page

Such contest could be hold for a long period of time with prize drawing once a week or month.

Preparation. Create target page corresponding to the contest topic. Write rules, time limits and prizes. Add tweet text which users will have to share. For example,  “to get the prize, follow @name and RT this message. http://link”.

Contest launch. User clicks through from Twitter to the target page with information about the contest and clicks “I agree to the terms and conditions”, then follows the brand and shares the standard message.

Monitoring. The most difficult part. You will need a suitable monitoring tool as the number of tweets can be very high.

Problem: it will difficult to find all the retweets of the message, that is why it is important that the user retweets from target page exactly.

Choosing a winner. Winner is selected randomly. You can use any of the special services (including free of charge), which will pick several names from the list – for example, Random.org.

Voting contest

The easiest way to make users interact with your brand.  There are several approach to how organize the event and select a winner. The winner can be selected by contest hosts or by users (although the second option is less suitable for Twitter than for other social media services).

– Photocontest. The brand encourages users to upload their photos, invite friends appreciate them. Author of the best picture prize is awarded. One of the varieties of the contest – to come up with an interesting offer users a photo caption, laid out by the organizers.

-Photocontest. Brand encourage users to upload their pictures and invite friends to rate them.

Let’s take an example of Starbucks in the United Kingdom. The brand offered to its Frappuccino fans to participate in Twitter contest. Every day the most creative photo authors were awarded with the coffer house £10 card.

-Videocontest. Users have to film a video an upload it (for example on Vine).

-Writing a story, poem or message featuring brand name or special hashtag.

Example. In August 2011 г. Moleskine ran a contest for such “writers”. Participants had to write a hokku with the word Moleskine and hashtag  #MyMole. The challenge was not to exceed the 140-character limit of tweet. Contest winners received branded notebooks.

Contest with hashtags

For majority of Twitter contests brands will use hashtags anyway. However, there are some kinds of competitions for which hashtag is a must.

Ask your followers to use a special hashtag  in their tweets and then select the winner randomly. To increase their chances, people will add the hashtag as frequently as possible.

Contest with apps

You can also use applications to run your contest. For example, Binkd is a free platform, which allows to launch the competition on Twitter. Thanks to the app brands will be able to create target page with company logo, post the rules and information about the prizes. The winner will be selected randomly after the contest ends.

Twitter contest rules

If you have decided to run a contest on Twitter, make sure to check microblog service guidelines. Main chapters are the following:

– you cannot create multiple accounts;

-you may not post the same tweet several times;

-follow the law and regulations concerning the contests in your country;

– Twitter also encourages the use of topics relevant to the contest.

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