VerticalResponse Blog

Many social media programs are goaled on the amount of friends or followers as well as the engagement levels of those friends and followers. Contests, give-a-ways and polls are all great ways to build your followings and increase your engagement. Here is a list of some of the great ideas I have seen work for small businesses:

Offer a gift card to your store to a randomly picked Facebook Fan every month. This builds your fan base and keeps them coming back every month.

Give a free service to the first 5 people who answer a question about your company on Twitter correctly. This gets people tweeting to you while they learn more about your company.

Poll your audience on pop culture facts, industry news, their daily life or habits. The polls that do not directly relate to your business tend to have some of the highest engagement rates. If you host these polls on your Facebook Fan page, LinkedIn profile or Blog you will benefit from the added attention it can bring.

Host a scavenger hunt. Hide a badge on your blog or website and give your social media audience hints for what they are trying to find. The first person that sends you an email with a correct guess will be featured in your next email newsletter. An even better idea would be to get together with a few of your partners and each hide something on your blog – the first person to get all of the items correct wins a prize. This would help you get in front of a much larger audience while still engaging your current one.

Start a photo, video or blog contest. Ask your audience to submit photos of them using your products, videos that relate to your industry or blogs that you could post as guest blogs. Pick the best submission then feature and promote it. The person’s item that you choose will show it off to their audience as well, helping you build your friends and followers.

Social media isn’t a one to many interaction like much of your traditional direct marketing, it is a many to many. Your audience freely takes your message, interprets it and passes it on. So make sure that you always have something for them to talk about.

Has anyone had any success with a contest? Social media or other?

© 2010 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Daniel

    I am going to try polling my audience to see the results. Great Article.

  • Sabine Mertes

    All these are nice ideas knowing that Social Media is now becoming very important in online promotion techniques

  • Will

    I did a “Favorite Server” contest on Facebook with one of my clients who owns a local restaurant chain. We took pictures of each server in action, uploaded them to our Facebook page, then told our fans to “like” the picture(s) of their favorite server(s). The winning server would receive a day off with pay and free meal for their family.

    At the start, we had about 35 fans liking and commenting. As the numbers grew, regular customers would come to the restaurant and tell the servers they voted for them. The servers, who were very uninterested in technology (Facebook included) became interested. They switched from flip phones to smart phones, created facebook accounts, connected with the company pages, and were inspired by all the votes and positive comments they received. That was truly an unexpected outcome! Near the conclusion of the contest, each location had more than 80 new fans and they saw a spike in new business.

    The contest ended in a tie between a husband and wife who were servers at two different locations. Both got a day off and a romantic dinner. We took pics of them eating their dinner and fans (customers) followed right along. Most of the customers I spoke with said they felt more connected to the servers and restaurant as a result of the contest.

    Today each location has a little over 500 fans and many keep asking when we are going to have our next contest. It’s coming soon.

  • alex

    great post,i like it

  • Half Baked Potatoes

    I have found that polls or quizes work the best. A lot of time spent on facebook is really just killing time so it suits.

  • Gift Baskets Toronto

    Great ideas! We have launched our Facebook page awhile a go and noticed that giving a gift card every month has triggered hundreds of fans to join our page. It’s pretty hard to manage a Facebook page but with a little creativity and thinking outside the box you can definitely achieve what you want.

  • zidcard

    Good article and comments! I will try out soon. Thanks for posting.

  • Michael

    Free stuff for the first people to retweet is a can’t miss idea especially if you have an engaged following.
    Never tried the scavenger hunt idea.

  • holzgrill

    Thanks for these ideas.
    The photo/video comp requires a little more thougth so that it is perceived as fair

  • kefkin

    Now, what about SOPA AND PIPA… OMG

  • Martin Vass

    Nice info. I really like the photo contest idea alot. I will try to use it and see what happens. Thanks for the article.

  • Angela @ farragio

    Great ideas! I’m bookmarking this.

  • Kyle Clouse

    Great advice….helps to gauge the ROI.

  • Colin

    Give away something they can’t buy. We just ran a promotion at our radio station to an interactive member of the facebook page. The winner received “the radio station for the day.” She got to spend the day in the station, pick the music, and learn the ins and outs of the station. The promotion boosted likes by %800 and fan interaction by %967. People love the opportunity to win things that can’t be bought.

  • James

    Some great ideas that will be worth trying while promoting our website. I think free promotions are always worth trying.

  • Nishadha

    These are great ideas, but from my experience users you get by offering some free gift don’t tend to engage with your brand after that

  • Malendaz

    I fill that content is key when engaging your members… Great Post..

  • Megan Mansfield

    These are wonderful ideas! Our company (Cuddledown) is currently running our first photo entry submission contest on Facebook, which also incorporates a video we filmed ourselves here in the office. While we’re not being overwhelmed with submissions, it’s definitely given us a boost in Facebook “likes” and the video has also gotten a decent number of views. We will have to try some of these other ideas as well! Thanks for the great article.

  • InsideView – Koka

    These are great suggestions and exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the post.

  • Rick Clark

    Good info. Major corporations have proven over and over that people love getting free things and giveaways definitely get people’s attention.

  • allanoor mansoori

    I like these ideas! I have an issue building my ‘community’ and getting my 100+ members engaged in the site.
    If you’ve got a minute I’d like to see what ideas you’d come up with to help engage my users.

  • Peter | laptop comparison

    I personally find the scavenger hunt an very good idea. I just wonder, how big do you recommend your audience to be in order for this tactics to work?

  • annalaura brown

    These are great ideas. I have done the twitter one before and it seemed to work okay although keeping the buzz and momentum going is a challenge.

  • April Graham

    Great ideas! We just launched a social media campaign for our shopping center Lincoln Court. Now that it’s launched we’ve asked the question “Im on here now what”. We are getting ready to implement Facebook contests to help build our fan base and encourage engagement. Your post provided great tips and information!

  • Ryan

    I like these ideas! I have an issue building my ‘community’ and getting my 300+ members engaged in the site.
    If you’ve got a minute I’d like to see what ideas you’d come up with to help engage my users.

  • Building Your Traffic

    Great ideas i especially like the scavenger hunt and the give a free service idea.will try them out.

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