Association Management, Non-For-Profit

How to Run a Successful #SocialMediaContest

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Social media contests can be a great way for any association to engage its members as well as key stakeholders within the industry. Whether it is run once a year or once a week, there are essential things to keep in mind in order to ensure that the contest has a positive impact on your association’s social media audience.



Use #Hashtags



It’s 2016 and hashtags run the online world – they are now used across all key social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Creating hashtags that are short and easy for your audience to remember are the key to ensuring they will become engaged on a regular basis. Remember to do your homework so you aren’t using the same hashtag as someone else.


Be creative with this and use a hashtag that can stand on its own – if you work within a specific industry, try and include a key industry word in your hashtag. If there is more than one group of people you are trying to engage in your contest, be sure to create more than one, so that all stakeholders can properly contribute. Using the hashtags should be a requirement to win any social media contest, so be sure that this is properly communicated with your audience.



Have a Dedicated Person Running Your Contest



Having someone whose key responsibility is running and monitoring your social media contest is the best way to ensure it is live and engaging. Find a tech savvy person within your association who is passionate about what you do and how you do it. Having this person develop contest rules, messaging, prizes and key milestones is a way to ensure they stay engaged throughout (these are also great things to keep on file for developing future contests!). This person should be engaging in conversation with your audience members online as often as possible. Running these contests can be time consuming, so be sure you have someone else from your association who can offer a helping hand if needed.


Set Clear Objectives with Your Audience & Reward Them


Whatever the goal of your contest is, the audience has to be made aware. They want to know why they are posting and what you are hoping it will do. Whether you are trying to raise awareness for your association within the industry or promote an event, be sure to let everyone know! The best thing to do is give your audience examples of the types of posts you want to see. Tell them what pictures you are hoping for or what key messaging you need to see. These are all things you can use to promote your association in the future, so don’t be afraid to be specific!


The best way to ensure participation is to be clear on your rewards. You want to make these rewards tangible and easy to deliver – online gift cards seem to work well. Be sure to give people a choice in prizing so that you don’t limit interest. When winners are chosen, share their posts on your social media accounts so that your audience can see that these rewards are being given out.



Track Your Success


If this is a contest you will be running on a regular basis, tracking its success is the best way to improve it! Follow your hashtags to see how they are being used. Keep track of specifics – number of times they were used, on which platform and who they were used by. If you didn’t succeed in engaging all stakeholders, be sure to alter your contest for maximum impact next time around. Don’t be afraid to share your contests successes with your association as well as through your social media accounts!


Blog post written by Nicole Cork, Senior Account Coordinator at Managing Matters Inc.

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