Social Media Contests and Driving Site Traffic

At, I wear many hats. Today, I took on the role of “inbound marketer” and “social media marketer”. This is pretty much uncharted territory for me. I’m doing my best to soak up everything I can and I think I’m doing a pretty good job. (But since technology is ever changing, I need to be constantly learning and there’s a lot to learn.) Today, my challenge is to plan a social media contest that we can use to help increase our subscriber base.

We are already running an off-the-cuff Twitter RT contest for a free monthly Premium membership (It ends on 1/31/13… take a look and enter here) but now we want to think bigger. We would like to drive more subscribers to and I don’t just mean twitter followers, but free email and paid subscribers as well. We’re ramping up the prize level and we really want to make a strong go of this.

It turns out that running a social media contest is not as easy as: pick out a prize, dump a link on a social media site and hope for the best. Some social media sites have rules for their contests beyond “don’t be a jerk”. (Facebook for instance has strict guidelines, which basically takes all of the responsibility off of them… they just provide the pool of people.) Twitter and Pinterest, for instance, are a little more lax in their guidelines.

There are 3rd party software/service providers that will run contests for you. (I never knew that. I guess there’s really no reason to know unless you’re running a social media contest.) They offer ease of use, logistics and knowledge. (They already know how to work within the guidelines of the social media sites) Also, they have already written software to track entrants and traffic and all the other logistical information that is necessary to run a successful campaign now and in the future. (Past contests, ads, campaigns and the information they provide are not dead and gone when they’re finished. They provide intelligence. They are learning tools. Remember that.) Since we’re not exactly sure how this is going to turn out, but we don’t mind experimenting, we most likely will not be using a 3rd party for this attempt.

I’m still pretty early into my research, but the first thing I know that I have to do is plan. Here are a few questions I need to answer to get this off the ground:

  • What do I hope to accomplish? I know that one… Increase subscribers.
  • What type of contest are we running? Giveaway (Sweepstakes, which is luck-based, not skill-based or judged).
  • Using what platforms (FB, Twitter, Pinterest, etc)? Don’t know yet.
  • Develop and post rules.
  • How will we track / filter our entrants? I suppose that will be platform dependent.
  • Will we be using specific CTAs (Calls-To-Action) like forms, landing page on PSW, etc.? Not sure.

Here are some articles I found to be a great starting point for my efforts:

I obviously have a bunch of questions to answer, and after that I’ll have a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ll post about the outcome at a later date.


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