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Four Great Venues for Running Social Media Contests and Sweepstakes

Whether you’re readying for your first foray into social media promotions or you’re a veteran of engaging directly with your customers through these digital channels, you may find yourself wondering, “Where do I launch my next branded social media campaign?”

Here are 4 ideas to get you into the arena.

1) Facebook: It may seem obvious at this point, but the World’s Most Widely Used Social Media Network is a great place to start. Boasting 600M users and counting, Facebook is where users “Like” brands 50M times per day, according to @LeenaRao via @TechCrunch. Facebook treads the impossible balance of centering on genuine, person-to-person interaction, while also still being a widely-accepted forum for brands to interact with users in authentic, unobtrusive ways. Your Facebook page is a familiar, recognizable place for users to encounter your brand, and a contest or sweepstakes is a proven way to expand the audience. And Facebook features such as Like-Gating, Connect, news feed notifications and other branded sharing functions make it very accessible for users, and easy to inspire a viral effect. UK Style By French Connection launched an easy-to-enter sweepstakes via Facebook to promote the brand at Sears. Users enter the sweepstakes to win the UK Style Tour Car, and can share photos of their own personal UK Style.

2) Microsites: Prior to the broad adoption of Facebook and long before anyone had uttered “Twitter,” there were microsites. Concise, user-friendly websites with highly visual designs, linked to but separate from a company’s main website, dedicated to a specific product or service, launch, event or other singular purpose. Even with the proliferation of new social media channels, having a branded microsite to serve as the primary destination, the campaign home to which all traffic for a contest or sweepstakes can be driven, remains incredibly useful.  Control the microsite’s design, it’s functionality, and how users interact with it- including generous linking to Facebook, Twitter, and other sharing services. $100K Follett Challenge: Recognizing Innovation Video Contest Destinations like NovaSure’s Get Back To Life Video Contest and The Follett Challenge: Recognizing Innovation, are thoughtful extensions of the parent brand, but more importantly, completely dedicated to their standalone video contest campaigns: For NovaSure, sharing stories of how their procedure improves womens’ health and lifestyles. And for Follett, tales from schools who have used technology innovation in their libraries to improve student engagement and information literacy. Both incredibly important missions for highly respected brands, and both executed on the foundation of a microsite.

3) foursquare: When Starwood Hotels and Resorts launched a new Resorts web destination to promote the loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest and its 200 luxury resort destinations, SPG not only orchestrated the SPG Pack Your Bags Giveaway and gave away 10 resort stays to lucky winners from 20 nations, it then extended the brand message to foursquare, the wildly popular mobile check-in platform. SPG invites users to connect their SPG and foursquare accounts, earn Starpoints for check-ins via foursquare, and get more chances to win Free Resort Night Awards. Tremendous cross-platform branding, from corporate sites to microsites to one of the hottest emerging social platforms.

4) All of the above: It’s a marketer’s dream: design the perfect brand promotion and extend it across multiple social channels where users congregate and interact. Launch a promotion to a receptive audience with a Facebook contest application.  Extend it to users on the go with a custom mobile app. Add in a foursquare check-in component.  Offer the same call-to-action via Twitter. And tie it all back to the a custom microsite, with a sortable gallery of user-generated photo submissions, voting and commenting, and sharing tools for email, Facebook, Twitter and beyond. Find your customers where they are, and make it easy for them to participate, regardless of their favorite social venue.


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