Social Media Contests: Post-Game Marketing

Don't want to get painted into a corner? You need to start at the end and work backward.

When you decide to do a social media contest, think past the logistics. Arguably, the most important part comes after the festivities have ended. You don’t want to short-change contest planning: after all, you want to make sure your target market has fun, engages with your brand and participates. But, you don’t want to lose sight of your company’s objective, namely to use the information you gather during the contest to market to these people in the future.

If you design your contest properly, the contest itself will reflect the marketing you plan to do afterward. So, start at the end and work backward.

The first question you should ask yourself is what you want to accomplish: set some objectives. Then, think about the types of marketing you will want to do with the information you gather during your contest. Will it be on Facebook or Twitter? Do you plan to push a few email blasts or drop mail? You have plenty of tools at your disposal, you just need to choose those that will be part of your future plans.

Your contest should gather the information that you need, therefore, for your post-contest marketing activities. If you want to do an email blast, you’ll obviously need to gather email addresses and contact names. To drop mail, addresses will be important, and for Facebook, you’ll need users to form a relationship with your page so you can reach out to them later. This may seem like a healthy dose of common sense, but it’s crucial to the contest planning process, and missing a step now can cost you a wide range of alternatives later.

Next, you need to figure out how you are going to get your target market to supply this information to you. Will you have them become fans of your page, follow you on Twitter or complete a survey on a landing page?

Now, you get to the place where you probably thought you’d start: the beginning. With all your objectives and future plans in order, you can identify how you will attract your target market to your contest pages and decide what exactly your contest will be. You can sort out the logistics, get your creative put together and generally kick off the nuts-and-bolts aspects of your social media contest. And, you’ll know that everything you’re doing will set you up to execute all the future marketing campaigns you have in mind.

Don’t start at the beginning when you’re thinking about a social media campaign. If you do, you’ll probably find your hands tied later, as you come up with an endless stream of great ideas that you can’t pursue because the information you need isn’t available. Plan for the future, and consider the long-term opportunities before you. Only by taking this approach will you have a platform for lower-cost marketing and much higher ROI … because you did it all right the first time!