The winner takes it all: How to run a successful competition

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The winner takes it all: How to run a successful competition

Who doesn’t like free stuff? Competitions tap into our personal aspirations and desires; the opportunity to conquer the odds and take home a prize for nothing appeals to almost everyone. Playing fairy godmother is a rewarding feeling for any company, but there are a lot more benefits to be gained from running your own giveaway. Read on to learn what it takes to pull off a successful competition that gets everyone talking.


How’s it going to work?

One lucky entrant will walk away a winner, but what’s in it for you?  Ask yourself: what’s the purpose of this giveaway, and what do I hope to gain? A competition is a fantastic way to grow your social media fan base, acquire authoritative links from around the web, and get people engaging with your brand on a personal level. Focus on one of these aspects and set clear goals that are measurable once the confetti and celebratory balloons have settled.

One potential avenue would involve hosting the competition on your company blog or Facebook page. This grants you complete control over the process, allowing you to easily measure how the giveaway is developing day-by-day. This is all well and good if you have an existing social media following; but if you don’t, you may witness tumbleweed sweeping across a very sad and neglected Facebook post.

For companies that are still in their social media infancy, a different approach is required. Instead of hosting the competition yourself, gather some irresistible prizes and reach out to appropriate websites that can host the competition for you. Online publications will appreciate the prize and link to you naturally as a result. This method is perfect for spreading awareness of your brand and getting people to follow your future promotions.


Play by the rules

Guidelines shmuidelines, the rules are meant to broken right? Wrong. While a lot of businesses play fast and loose with Facebook’s promotional guidelines, that doesn’t mean you should too. Get caught breaking the rules and Facebook reserves the right to remove your business page without warning, undoing all your hard work developing a fan base – it’s not worth the risk.

We’d recommend familiarising yourself with the guidelines, but the three biggest points you should take from the rules are as follows:

  • Entrants can like and comment on a post to enter a competition, but you can’t ask them to share, invite or tag others.
  • Competitions can be promoted on pages or within apps on Facebook, but not on personal timelines.
  • You are responsible for the lawful operation of the promotion, not Facebook.


Eyes on the prize

Now it’s time for the fun part. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential entrants and decide what would make an irresistible prize. It doesn’t necessarily have to be high cost – or even a product you sell – but it does have to be aspirational and appropriate to what you do. If you run a car dealership, it may be a tad extravagant to give away a car, but a free Sat Nav would work just as well.

Once you’ve decided on a prize, you’ll need some killer competition copy to really sell it. Hire the talents of your best copywriter to entice people into entering; clear and engaging copy is the ticket to success. Make sure to include all the necessary terms and conditions for your giveaway and end with an irresistible call-to-action.


Ask the right questions

While it’s important that you make entering your competition as easy as possible, you shouldn’t overlook alternative methods to gather entries. This is a golden opportunity to learn more about your customers: don’t let it go to waste. Part of the entry process for your competition could involve a mini survey; put together a few simple questions that will help you better understand your target demographic. If you’re a company that sells beds, and you’re running a giveaway on a set of luxurious fluffy pillows, why not ask your entrants a few questions about their sleeping habits? The data you gather could be informative and used in future content marketing strategies.



Once the winner has been declared and the celebrations have come to end, you need a way to keep your entrants engaged with your company. Encourage them to like and follow your social media channels for the latest info on future giveaways, and send follow-up emails to convert interested entrants into sales.


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