How to Run a Twitter Contest that Succeeds & Finds More Twitter Followers

How to Run a Twitter Contest that Succeeds & Finds More Twitter Followers

Knowing how to run a contest on Twitter can be the difference between you successfully finding more Twitter followers, and you finding a new way to give away money for nothing. A well run Twitter contest can drive engagement and help you really get noticed by people who haven’t heard of your brand before.

Read on to find out what a Twitter contest can do as I look at:

  1. Why you would want to run a Twitter Contest for your brand
  2. Choosing the type of Twitter contest you want to run
  3. How to promote your Twitter contest

Let’s get to it!

1. Why you would want to run a Twitter Contest for your Brand

A Twitter contest can be bigger for your brand than any giveaway in a magazine as it’s able to use the power of the web’s connectivity, as well as mobilize your existing fans in new ways. Knowing how to run a Twitter contest is great, but you also have to look at the why question as well!

Twitter contests can: Convert casual Twitter followers into real fans

When you know how to run a Twitter contest properly, this can be first contact for Twitter followers who have never heard of you. It isn’t uncommon for them to see a friend’s activity, become interested, and give you a follow as they enter the contest as well. Being able to see promotions and special deals is a big reason why people follow brands on Twitter – 52% of the time according to Twitter’s data on it!

Twitter contests can: Engage your existing fans

Social media is all about value added marketing. A Twitter contest not only adds value to your Timeline, it adds value to the Timeline of followers who retweet your contest. This is the exact kind of engagement that you want to drive with any Twitter campaign, and a contest can be the perfect way to do it.

Twitter contests can: Amplify your brand’s reach on Twitter

As I was saying above, retweets happen readily with a Twitter contest. Get enough retweets and suddenly you’re going viral! A contest in a magazine will only have so finite a reach, the number of people who buy it, while Twitter’s reach is to all 645,000,000 of those on there!

If you really know how to run a Twitter contest, you’ll build this into it. Ask for retweets as part of the promotion, use a hashtag specific to the contest, and speak with some viral influencers to get their help reaching a wider audience.

2. How to choose which type of Twitter contest to run

The type of contest that you choose to run on Twitter will largely depend on what you want to accomplish.

Choosing a Twitter contest: Off-Twitter contests

There are a nearly limitless number of ways to run an off-Twitter contest. The most common way to do this is by including a link to the desired page within the tweet. This can allow you to have a page where you collect an type of information you want from the Twitter followers who enter.

Another way to do this is with an app. Require use of the app, along with some sort of information exchange during sign up, in order to enter.

Both of these types of off-Twitter contests have the problem of people being hesitant to leave Twitter. You’ll have much higher engagement if you keep your Twitter contest on Twitter, but you will not get that data you may want. Off-Twitter contests are best run alongside other social media platforms and contest advertisement strategies.

Choosing a Twitter contest: Those which are held within Twitter

These types of Twitter contests take place entirely on Twitter, with no referral to any outside website or social media platform. They also do not involve any personal information being provided to you. They’re easy to enter, prompting lots of engagement from your Twitter followers. They can involve following a certain account, retweeting a certain tweet, replying to a tweet, or giving a tweet a Favorite.

The problem with them is that you don’t get any actionable data points, such as email address for your email marketing, about the people who enter. You’ll only want to use these types of Twitter contests when you’re doing a drive for more Twitter followers, and they can work great with our own Twitter Retweets service as we spur on even more retweets amongst your active fans.

Choosing a Twitter contest: Follow + Retweet campaigns

Twitter users see these types of Twitter contests all the time as they are the surest way to increase engagement and get more followers. It’s also easy for you to set up as all you have to do is type up your tweet, give a clear call to action no how it works, and let your followers do the work.

This type of Twitter contest does have the problem of not capturing any good data as the above one does. You get more Twitter followers, for sure, but you don’t get anything else to use. You’ll also need a way to track who has retweeted the contest. I’d suggest pinning it to the top of your Timeline so you can find it easily.

Choosing a Twitter contest: How to use a hashtag as part of your contest

Twitter hashtags are a great way to promote your business. Using them as part of a contest allows you, and your Twitter followers, to get much more creative with how the contest is run. The sky is the limit, as long as the hashtag appears in the tweet.

A very well run Twitter contest using a hashtag can also see itself in the sidebar as a trending topic, that is when serious virality can happen as your followers don’t even have to do the work anymore!

The problem you will face is with Twitter users who just want to cause a problem, see the EsuranceSave30 campaign as an example. Expect a troll or two who are going to try to shake things up, but we know how to deal with problems on Twitter!

Choosing a Twitter contest: Ad campaigns

Several of the Twitter ad campaigns can help you run a Twitter contest. Yes, it costs money. But you can use a Twitter lead generation card to start capturing important data, like email addresses, to truly push your Twitter contest out of the Twitter world and into the broader world of the web.

3. How to promote your Twitter contest

How you promote your Twitter contest is going to be a big factor in how successful it is. The type of Twitter contest you choose from above will factor into how it is advertised, but you can’t overlook having a concrete plan in place.

How to promote a Twitter contest: Tweet it out with an image

A Twitter contest that doesn’t include images will be much more likely to be ignored. Work up a memorable image with the contest deals in it, and tweet it out with further directions. A photo can even drive higher engagement levels on Twitter than video, who knew?

An image is worth a thousand words, which comes in handy when you only have 140 characters!

How to promote a Twitter contest: Send an email blast

Your email subscribers are an important group. Send out the image used in the tweet, add a link to your account, and put a great big “Twitter Contest Announcement” in the subject. Watch your openings shoot up!

How to promote a Twitter contest: Post to other social networks

You’ll want to be careful with this. A Twitter contest that is exclusive to your followers on that social platform can help add value to the retweet button. There can be some apathy when people believe it’s just another contest that they can find anywhere else.

You can get around this by directing people on your other social platforms to go to Twitter as you point out that it is exclusive to that social platform. This may be very important on Facebook as Twitter is currently beating it, help drive those people from Facebook to what’s hot!

How to Promote a Twitter contest: Partner up with other users

You can work with any number of partners and crowd influencers on Twitter:

  • Other companies that are part of your supply chain
  • Other companies that are in a similar industry (A company that only makes baseball bats teaming up with a company that only makes baseball gloves)
  • Companies which are completely unrelated to you, see the Vancouver Whitecaps with a marketing agency below
  • Twitter users with big followings that are relevant to your brand
  • Celebrities

The list is nearly limitless, you just have to talk to people and find what will benefit the both of you.

How to promote a Twitter contest: Embed it on your site and blog

As you’ve seen time and time again through examples on this article, you can embed actual tweets that are part of our contest into your website. It’s easy to do with WordPress, but every type of website will allow for it if you know how.

This will help drive website visitors to the Twitter account of your business, capture them as followers, and keep them around your brand rather than losing them to the next click of their mouse.

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