A good contest is a great way to engage audiences. But if your brand has yet to acquire a strong following or fan base, you might have to look at other ways to build contest awareness beyond just posting updates on your Facebook page.
1. Facebook Advertising & Sponsored Content
One of the best ways to reach your target audience on Facebook is through Facebook ads. They’re great because you can filter your audience according to specific demographics and psychographics. You can tailor your message more directly to people, according to what their interests are and what communities they’re a part of.
It’s wise to link your Facebook ad directly to your contest’s landing page. The fewer steps to engage with the contest, the better.
Sponsored stories are another way to build contest awareness. You can pay for specific stories to be highlighted in people’s news feeds. If someone interacts with your brand or contest on Facebook, it will show up in the newsfeed of anyone who is friends with them. These friends might like the story and may even click through to learn more.
You can also pay to promote certain posts. A lot of activity happens on Facebook, and posts can be easily missed. With a simple function available right at the time of posting, you can ensure a larger percentage of fans will see your post. This comes in handy if you’ve got regularly scheduled contest updates you want as visible as possible.
2. Content Strategy
In support of your Contest Marketing en devours, you should also be carving out a content strategy to promote awareness and engagement across multiple channels. These kinds of strategies usually consist of a series of themed posts and tweets you schedule to be pushed through Facebook, Twitter and any other social platforms you’re a part of over the duration of the contest.
The purpose of a content strategy is to do more than generate contest awareness. This is how you create actual interest. You can post photos, or video; you can create hashtags, and polls. And remember, you’ve got multiple mediums at your disposal to inspire your audience to engage with your contest so have fun with it.
When you’re mapping out your calendar, keep in mind the content shouldn’t abruptly stop once the contest is closed. If your campaign was successful, you likely have some new friends and followers on your hands, and you’ll want to keep them engaged so they don’t delete you as soon as the contest is over. Plan ahead for how to keep the conversation going, and keep your new audience members interested.
3. Web Directories
Another contest awareness strategy is to post your website or contest microsite to one or more web directories. A web directory is a searchable list of websites divided into categories and subcategories. It is not a search engine. It ranks your site based on the whole website, not just keywords or pages within the site. There are niche directories that list only specific types of websites (such as shopping directories), and there are larger, more general web directories that cover many different categories of websites (like Yahoo! Directories).
Some directories let you submit your site for free, while others come at a price. This price will either be monetary, or you may just have to post a link to the directory on your website in order to be submitted. Paid submission often means a smaller directory, which can yield more positive results and rankings for your site.
There has been debate as to whether links in directories can benefit a site’s search engine rankings. Directories can be helpful so long as there is a proper editorial policy where not all links are accepted, and there is clear editing when it comes to anchor text and site descriptions.
If you’ve got a contest to promote, this is a good time to explore any possible influencers you might have in your network. Do you have close relationships with any bloggers or people who boast a large and loyal following? These connections could represent a great opportunity for additional exposure and endorsement.
If feasible, you could arrange to provide certain influencers with incentive to promote your contest. You’ll want to be mindful of what their endorsement is actually worth, but you may also increase your exposure exponentially (depending on who’s listening and how much they trust the person talking). You could acquire whole new audiences through this method.