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partyLooking for a way to switch up your daily routine? Want to inject a little enthusiasm and excitement into your online activities? Want to generate some serious brand attention? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it’s time for a good ol’ social media contest.

Yes, apps exist that promise to raise numbers and attract attention, keeping it “simple” for you, as a community manager, brand marketer or membership advisor. However, what these apps don’t want you to know is that hosting an online contest doesn’t have to be difficult; it’s simple on its own accord. Follow the tips below for best results.

Contest Types:

Photos

With the rise in mobile technology, everyone is on a smart phone. In fact, in many cases those smart phones have begun to replace traditional cameras and other pieces of “once necessary” equipment. Use this to your advantage!

Consider hosting a photo challenge. Create a “theme of the week” that somehow relates to your business or association, and encourage members to post relevant images that relate to the theme. Encourage creativity! At the end of the week, select a winner and notify them publically.

Referrals

Why not offer an incentive for referrals to your community? It doesn’t get easier than this. Simply ask your members to bring in new members. Obviously, this doesn’t work for associations where membership is required to be a part of community. However, for businesses and brands it’s an easy way to increase the size of your community. Ask new members to introduce themselves and share who sent them. For each referral, a member receives one entry into your contest. At the end of the pre-specified contest period, select a winner. Easy.

Interactions

Want to go a more traditional route? How about a “like and share” competition. Create a post – it could be a photo, a newsletter article, a link to a relevant article somewhere else or a new product announcement. Then, ask your community members to “like” the post, comment on it and share it across traditional social media sites (linking back to your community of course, with the contest details). Each person who follows the steps receives an entry. Simply select a winner at the end of the contest period, just like the other contests outlined above.

Many other contest types exist, and it’s up to you to be creative and to find what works for your community and structure. But, these are great places to start.

Selecting a Prize

Prizes don’t have to be elaborate or complicated. Think about the interests of your community members. What motivates them? What would get them to act? Sometimes a free month’s subscription to your service could do, or a $25 dollar gift card – general card or to your brand. Sometimes it takes more. What about a lifetime membership or year-long membership to your service? Maybe a free product or collection of products? Start simple, see what happens. If necessary, adjust for next time.

Taking Full Advantage

To make your contest all that it can be, full effort and commitment on your part is integral.

In the beginning, announce the contest everywhere – in your community, on your traditional social networking channels, through an email marketing campaign, on your website and in your store (if applicable).  Make a big deal of it from day one. Your enthusiasm will help the contest catch on. Also, be clear in the contest rules, how to earn entries and when the contest will close. Be as specific as possible from the start.

Throughout the contest period, share updates. Post how many entries there are, who the forerunners might be (if applicable) and other information. Encourage those who have yet to enter to do so right away. A little reminding can go a long way.

The end of the contest is your time to shine. The day before the winner is announced, share what time the announcement will take place – stick to it. Make your announcement public and tag your winner. Share exactly what they’ll receive and what steps are required to access or receive the prize. Check in with the winner after they receive their prize and check in. Share how the prize is being used with your community to repurpose the contest long after it ends.

Ready to inject a little something new into your community? Try out a contest today! Looking for the right place to host your community, and any contests that go along with it? Sign up for a free trial with Social HubSite today!

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