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Top Mistakes Online Entrepreneurs Make When Running Social Media Contests

Social media contests are some of the best ways of reaching out to potential customers and improving the sales and profits of your online store. However, as simple as the task may sound, it does take a lot of careful planning and excellent implementation if it is to be successful – and it is in these aspects that many online store owners often commit mistakes and fail – wasting precious time and money along the way. To ensure that your social media contest is successful, do try your best to avoid these common social media contest blunders to maximize your ROI.

Having No Specific Goals

Everything you do for your online store must have a set of clearly defined aims and goals as these can help you to identify which types of social media contest to run and be your guiding light throughout the process. Do you simply want to improve your online store’s presence on social media by getting likes and shares? Do you want to increase the number of email subscriptions that you have so you can do more email marketing? Who are your target contestants? Teens? Parents? Answering these questions and more should be able to help you craft your goals and make your social media contest way easier to plant and execute.

Making You Social Media Contest Complicated

There are many types of social media contests which you can use for your online store, and choosing among them is not always an easy task. However, whatever type you choose, whether it is a sweepstakes, photo contest, or a pin and repin contest, just make sure that you keep the barrier to entry at its minimum. Avoid asking for emails and full names when possible (they show up in the contestants profile anyway), and avoid asking for time-consuming requirements as well (e.g. write a 150 post about how much you like our product, etc.) Often times, simple “Like to Win” or “Share and Win” contests will be able to generate enough publicity for your social media contest (“likes” and “shares” can grow exponentially – seriously).

Not Cross Promoting Your Contest

Cross promoting your contest is a must. Even if you have a “Like/Share” contest on Facebook or a “Pin It to Win It” contest on Pinterest, be sure to leverage your other social media platforms and reach the customers there. You can tweet about your Facebook contest or promote your Pinterest contest on Instagram and Vine or vice versa – remember, limit your contest to one social media platform only, but be sure to market it in other platforms as well. There is no rule that says that you can’t.

Having a Poorly Designed Copy

Copies (which includes your tag lines and images) are generally the main things that attract contestants to join your social media contest, and having a boring image and an awkward (or over-used) catch phrase is a sure fire way of sending away contestants. Thus, be sure to invest in a good looking picture for your contest (an image of the prize works pretty well) and a catchy catch phrase that will convince and convert your contestants (hire a copywriter if you need to) – the time and effort this takes is bound to bring more people to your contest and encourage sharing as well (great images are shared very often and people will share it even if they don’t care about winning).

Failing to Set Contest Rules

Contest rules are very important because the lack of such can result in a lot of problems as the contest progresses. You need to specify the length of time that the contest will run, as well as the requirements for entry. If you are running an online store that sells vintage wines for instance, you want to make sure that your contestants are well above the age of majority (18 in some countries and 21 in others). Identifying the rules will also help you avoid running into legal complications during your contest period – yes, some legal issues do apply (depending on where you are mostly and the nature of your contest or product). Running a social media contest is a great way of promoting your online store and products, but it doesn’t come without challenges. However, avoiding the mistakes mentioned above should make the task a lot easier and more successful – and thus generate more income for your online business endeavor.


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