Twitter Tip TuesdayTwitter Tip Tuesday is a new weekly blog series from Sprout Social: Insights.

Every Tuesday we’ll focus on just one (1) Twitter Tip and show you how to implement it into your social media business strategy.

Today’s Twitter Tuesday Tip: How to Run a Twitter Contest


Running a contest on Twitter is an effective way to get people mentioning your brand – a lot – for a limited period of time.

The idea is to award a prize to the person who mentions your brand and/or retweets your message the most during the duration of the contest.

The main goal of running a Twitter contest is to increase brand recognition or to promote a specific product or event over the course of the contest. Coincide product launches, special promotions, blog posts, etc. with a Twitter contest to increase page views and build a following.

Then, nurture those new connections into loyal followers and new customers.

How to Host a Run a Twitter Contest in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1 – Establish the Rules

TwitLonger - Twitter Contest Rules
Click image for sample Twitter Contest Rules

The key to a successful Twitter contest is to keep it simple. It has to be easy to explain, easy to participate and easy to decide the winner.

 

To keep everything on Twitter, lay out the contest rules using TwitLonger – a Twitter application that allows you to ‘Tweet Longer’ than 140 characters.

Again, remember to keep the rules as simple as possible to increase the likelihood of participation.

Be sure to include the duration of the contest, exactly what the contestants are supposed to do, the prize being offered and (optionally) how you’ll declare the winner in the event of a tie or a dispute.

Step 2 – Promote the Contest

Promote your Twitter ContestOnce you’ve created your contest rules using TwitLonger – give your contest a catchy link that will attract some attention on Twitter.

Use a URL shortener like bit.ly, for example, to customize the TwitLonger link you created in Step 1 to look something like this:

http://bit.ly/Insights_Is_Outta_Sight

Next, come up with some creative text to accompany the customized URL (which is a link to the contest rules and instructions) and start tweeting it to your followers. Through the power of Retweets, a Tweeter doesn’t even need to be following you in order to take part in the contest – they just have to see your original tweet that tells them what to do!

*TIP* Although Twitter Tip Tuesday is about using Twitter tactics to grow your business, don’t be afraid to cross promote your tweet on your other social networks for maximum exposure.

There is no right or wrong answer as to the number of times you can tweet/retweet your contest promotion. Find a balance between getting the contest out to as many people as possible without devolving into a Twitter spammer!

Step 3 – Track your Mentions and Declare a Winner

Now you have your rules, your prize and your contestants are tweeting and retweeting your brand like crazy. So how do you keep track of all these mentions and determine the winner of the contest?

There are several options available…

You can use Twitter itself and simply click on Mentions to see how many times your Twitter name has been mentioned.

You can use Google or Twitter Search to query specific keywords from your target tweet.

Track you Brand with Sprout SocialOr you can use a more sophisticated brand monitoring application like Sprout Social to search on keywords, mentions, new followers, influence, engagement or a whole host of other criteria.

Use this data to begin building relationships with the people who participated in your contest. Invite contestants, respondents to take part in other offers or perhaps consider hosting a Tweetup for local contestants and participants to come together at your place of business.

We’ve shown you how to run a Twitter contest. Now you’ll need to follow through by engaging your new found target audience. How you do this depends on the goals you have for using Twitter for business.

Have you run a successful Twitter Contest? Got another Twitter Tip you’d like to see profiled in this series? Want to vie for a Guest Post in this space? Let us know by leaving a comment below.