How Challenger Brands Should Run a Promotion on Social Media

Halloween is fast approaching, and you know what that means: heaps of holiday-themed contests. Costume contests, pumpkin-carving contests, how-many-marshmallows-can-you-fit-in-your-mouth-at-once contests, and others proliferate this time of year. The lift in competitive spirits is especially evident on social media.

Many promotions are put on by Challenger Brands taking advantage of the holiday to up their social engagement. Such social media branding efforts are an ideal strategy to gain more followers, raise brand awareness, and have some fun with your fans.

Challenger Brands find promotions particularly appealing because they are all social media-based, and the only expense is whatever prize is being offered (which can be anything from branded merchandise to a weekend getaway). Executed correctly, a promotion will amplify the brand name through social media with minimal effort. After all, the participants are doing all the work for you!

This kind of promotional marketing can be held on almost any social media platform. Read on to find out how:

  • Facebook – There are a number of different kinds of promotions that can run through Facebook. This can include photo or video competitions, caption contests, or a simple sweepstakes. The most effective Facebook promotions encourage followers to interact with the company page through likes, comments, or shares, all of which will amplify your brand’s reach at an exponential rate as their actions are subsequently broadcasted to their friends. It is best to use one of the many third-party applications, like Woobox or North Social, to facilitate these promotions because they create an elegant user experience and are guaranteed to comply with Facebook’s rules for promotions and contests.
  • Twitter – For Twitter promotions it is essential to create a unique #hashtag in order to easily keep track of all entries. In a sweepstakes, all people have to do is Tweet with the hashtag to be entered to win. Getting more creative, you could have participants vote on jokes, captions, photos, or videos by retweeting them, or submit their own content to a panel of judges via Twitter. If your hashtag reaches the Trending Topics sidebar, you know you’ve hit it big with your social media branding efforts.
  • Google+ – In Google’s fine print, they clearly state that, “you may not run contests, sweepstakes, or other such promotions directly on Google+.” However, this does not stop you from hosting the contest on another website and using Google+ to spread the word. Nor does it prohibit sharing the creative entries on Google’s social media platform. If you really want to skirt the system, just call promotion entries “applications” as Google itself did when they were promoting Google Glass.
  • Pinterest – As one of the newest and fastest-growing sites, holding a Pinterest promotion signals forward thinking and innovation. Ask participants to create pins from images on your website and watch as traffic rises sky high. For even more engagement, set up a promotion where people must create themed boards filled with pins from all over. As with Twitter, including a specific title or hashtag in entries will increase virality and make it easier for you to track participation.

Regardless of what type of promotion or social media platform you choose, there are a few important notes to keep in mind. For legal purposes, make sure to clearly define all rules for entry, including eligibility requirements, the time frame, and exactly what the prizes are. Ambiguity will only result in frustrated and angry participants. Many social media sites have their own guidelines for promotions, so check those out before you begin.

Social media promotions can be held any time of the year, not just during Halloween. However, the holidays do offer a plethora of festive and fun themes from which to choose. So get started on planning that pilgrims-versus-Indians-recipe contest, because Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!

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