Win with Social Media: 
Everyone likes winning something right? Whether it be a candy bar after a round of trivia (yay Freshlime!), a t-shirt, or even a trip to the Bahamas, you get excited (K, maybe I would get more excited about going to the beach). I can’t tell you how many radio, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook contests I’ve entered to get anything from a blogger’s dance party tickets to a swimsuit from Etsy. I know I’m not the only one – otherwise I would’ve won every contest I entered (here’s to hoping everyone else drops out of the next contest I enter). People like free stuff. It’s a known fact. So why not use this to help you and your small business?

Sound complicated? It’s not, I swear.

First, what is the contest for?
Is this to gain leads? Grow your reach? Drive more people to your website? Get more friends? Not the best tactic, but maybe it’ll work. Give me a trip to the Caribbean and I’ll be your friend.

Focus on what you want to accomplish. If it is to gain leads, make sure you include a way to contact them. Maybe put in a questionnaire. If you want more people to your website, make sure you have a promotion going on, make sure it is optimized, and make sure it is easy to navigate.

Second, choose your platform.  
Whether that be Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook – choose a main one. Facebook has plugins that can be used to set up a contest, so it makes things a bit easier.

Although there is a way to run contests straight on your website, marketing it on your Social Media accounts is key. You want to put out word as much as you can that you are having a contest. If it is on social media, it is easy to share just by the click of a button.

Third, deal with the legal stuff.
Rules should be clear, and so should terms and conditions. Look into what platforms need what. Each platform is different. Facebook is more finicky about how you run contests, so look into that. You want your contest to run smoothly.

You need to make sure that you have all your bases covered. Have the rules outlined and comprehensible.

Fourth, details.
How long will the contest run? What equals an entry? Who can participate? How many winners will there be? Also, make sure you have one sure way to enter the contest, and then several additional ways to get more than one entry. For example, following a company on Instagram and commenting on the contest post can count as one entry. Tagging friends in a post can count as additional entries.

Fifth, follow through.
When you hold the contest, announce the winners. Seems like an easy enough step, but some companies don’t do it. Announcing the winners lets everyone know that a prize is actually going to be given away, rather than a company using the contest just as a marketing tactic.

Whatever your reward is, make sure it’s relevant. Say you’re an outdoor gear company. Give away a tent, or a gift card to your online store, or even some new hiking boots. That is relevant, and people that go to your website may want these rewards.

At the end of the day, people like contests, and this is a way for you to get your name out there. This contest also reflects you as a brand, so be aware of that. Keep a good image, and address any concerns people may have early on. Contests are fun, so don’t forget that too! Have fun with it!

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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