About Shayna

Shayna has a love of social media and community building. She has spoken at national conferences and panels on social media marketing and social promotions.She is the Marketing Manager at Votigo, a social marketing platform powering social for some of the world's biggest brands.

Engage Fans with a Back to School Contest

Running a back to school contest or sweepstakes is a great way to engage your social media audience during a peak retail event. As students and parents rush to prepare for the new school year, they seek shopping guidance, suggestions, and offers that will help them make purchase decisions.  Give them a reason to engage with your brand or business and build a relationship that will last well beyond the fall.

Electronics, fashion, office supplies, and even home décor brands are all poised to take advantage of the spending frenzy that occurs during the late summer months and into the fall as students prepare for the new school year.

Would a back to school contest or sweepstakes be a good fit for your brand? Here are some questions to consider:

1)      Who is your target market? Back to school season affects a wide range of ages and demographics, from young parents sending their children to school for the first time, to college students buying their dorm room accessories with a limited budget. Decide if your target is involved in back to school purchase decisions, and if so – where do your products fit in and what role do they play during this retail season?

2)      What products is your audience most interested in during back to school season? Maybe you sell a wide range of bags – including backpacks. For back to school season, backpacks are going to be most relevant. Think about how you could build a promotion around your most relevant products.

3)      What are your goals? If you sell computers and your goal is to build lifelong relationships with first time computer buyers – an innovative contest geared towards college-aged students would surely help you achieve your goals. Maybe you are a clothing-company who wants to build awareness of your affordable and stylish clothes. A viral sweepstakes would help you expand your reach and build awareness during back to school season.

4)      What channels should you run your promotion on? Consider where your target market is already hanging out. Facebook contests are a great way to reach a wide range of customers, while YouTube or Instagram will each reach a different demographic. Maybe you want to capture customers who are already visiting your site – in which case a contest widget or microsite would be more relevant.

Running a back to school promotion is a great way to make the most of the last summer and fall seasons. With a little bit of planning and a great technology partner you can engage your fans, grow your audience and generate buzz during a peak retail event that only happens once a year. So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to run a back to school contest. Contact Votigo to find out how you can run a great social media promotion.



How to Run a Contest on Facebook

If you’re looking for a way to get Facebook likes, a Facebook contest or sweepstakes is the perfect way to accomplish your goals. Running a promotion on Facebook doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact, with the right tools, it’s pretty simple. The steps below outline how to run a contest on Facebook so that you can get Facebook likes and grow your audience.

Step 1: Determine Your Objectives

Clearly understanding your objectives will help determine if a contest or sweepstakes is right for you and also what format will suit your needs best. If a high number of participants is your goal, a sweepstakes is probably going to receive the largest number of entries. This is because sweepstakes are easy to enter -for the most part all you need is an email address. If you’re looking to really engage your audience, a contest is going to be a better choice for you. The easier the contest is to enter, the more entries you’ll get, which is why video contests typically receive fewer entries than photo contests.

Step 2: Outline The Details

Once you’ve decided on a format, you’ll need to decide what type of prize you’ll be offering. This may seem like something you can figure out at the last minute, but you’ll want to decide this early on and make sure it is a well thought out prize. A prize can make or break a contest. It needs to be worthwhile for the participant to enter, and it needs to be even more worthwhile for them to share your promotion with their friends.

You’ll also need to decide how your winner will be selected. If it is a contest, you can let your audience vote on the winner, or you can select a winner yourself. You can allow for multiple rounds of voting with finalists and semi-finalists or you can have one round of voting. Think about how long you want your promotion to run and what will produce the best results for you based on your objectives.

Lastly, decide what user information you’ll be collecting. One of your motivations for running a contest will likely be to collect participant info for later marketing efforts. Decide what information you’ll need to administer the contest and ask for other information sparingly. Again, the more you require of the user, the less likely they are going to be to participate, so keep it simple.

Step 3: Follow the Rules

When running a Facebook contest, it’s important to follow the Facebook promotion guidelines. These guidelines state that “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.” So, what does this mean? You’ll need to either create an app yourself (Votigo offers tools for that) or you need to work with a developer who creates an app for you (Votigo does that too). You also can’t use Facebook functionality as a means to enter a promotion, so “like this post to enter our sweepstakes” is not allowed – the same goes for “upload a photo to our wall to enter our contest.” You need to use an app. It’s that straightforward.

Step 4:  Promote Your Promotion.

The old saying “If you build it, they will come” is certainly not the case with Facebook promotions. You need to actively promote your promotion in order to garner entries and votes. This doesn’t need to be costly or complicated, in fact – one of the best ways to promote your promotion is by simply posting about it on your Facebook wall. Timely reminders and updates to your existing audience will help ensure that your promotion is a success. Email reminders, social media posts and website mentions are all opportunities to promote your promotion. For more information on promoting your promotions check out this recent post.

Step 5: Moderate and Manage

After your promotion has been launched, you need to continue to manage the promotion. How you manage your promotion will depend upon what details and format you’ve decided upon and also what your ongoing promotional plans are. If you’ve chosen a photo contest and you are going to pre-screen submissions – you’ll need to actively approve and reject submissions throughout each day, or at least once per day. You’ll also need to select and notify a winner once your promotion has ended.


Step 6: Use The Results

Running a promotion is a great way to get leads and quality user-generated content, so make sure you use your results. Nurture your new leads with an email campaign or another promotion. You’ll also want to find ways to use your UGC entries. Often times when a contest is over the marketer fails to capitalize on the great photos, videos, essays, comments and relationships acquired during the campaign. Instead, create a photo or video gallery of the entries on your website or mix a few quotes into your advertising campaigns. Any of these will strengthen the relationship you’ve built with your customers and make your marketing more authentic.

Once your promotion has come to a close, you’ll want to analyze the results and measure success. Take a look at the promotion as a whole, there may be benefits or successes that you had not anticipated. Perhaps your promotion revealed a new market for your product, or an existing perception of your brand or offering that you were unaware of. Take a look at what content you received from entrants and see if you can glean new insights about your customers. Try and learn as much as you can from the promotion. Find out what worked, and what fell short. Take these lessons with you the next time you run a promotion and build upon your successes, while learning where you can improve your strategy.