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January 18, 2011

Few people could deny the appeal of contests; when it comes to social sites like Twitter, word can be spread about them at a much quicker pace. 

However, one should keep in mind that starting a contest on Twitter requires specific skills. One should know their way around social media marketing, what the laws are for contests in a specific state, what the impact will be on the brand, and so on. The purpose of having a Twitter event should not sit completely with the chance to promote products. It should also impact a company's business goals.

If a company wants to go through with their Twitter project and further brand promotion in a positive way, there are certain steps that should be taken.

Step One: Regulations and Rules

Before starting the contest, it is important to have certain information prepared. How many prizes will there be? Who is eligible? How long do participants have to enter? Will the competition be based on a name drawing, or will people vote on the winner? The rules and steps should be clear and easy to follow.

One should also make sure they are following competition regulations for their state to avoid legal trouble.

Step Two: Details

Exactly what the winners will be getting should be established as quickly as possible. Many companies opt to have a grand prize, a second prize and a third prize. When people have more chances to win something they are much more likely to take part. 

As Twitter is being used for the event, a special hashtag should be created for posts made about it. The tag should be clever, unique and improve your brand image; in this way entries will stand out more and be easily accessible. All participants should be encouraged to use it if not required and even emails and any other outside communication related to the competition should mention it.

Step Three: Promote

A company should treat the process as they would for any other marketing campaign. Each promotional post on Twitter should be planned ahead of time, with dates and even hours of the day mapped for when they will be released. A special calendar set aside specifically for this can be quite helpful.

Messages released to promote the prize giveaway should compel excitement, making people feel as though they would be crazy not to try to enter. Close to the end of the contest, a sense of urgency should also be pushed.

Step Four: Launch It

Once everything has been planned, the event should be officially launched. Messages and posts for awareness are the most critical during the first day, so this should be taken advantage of. One should make sure, however, that they are not going to be overshadowed by another prize giveaway or event. Should this be so, they may want to hold off the launch.

Step Five: Keep Promoting

Once the winners have been awarded their prizes, a company should not just mail it to them and move on. If they want to have long term success and even earn brand loyalists, they should stay in touch with the winners. Winners should continue to hear about special promotions in a message sent directly to them. This will ensure that they stay aware of the company and spread the word for months to come.


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