Use hashtags (wisely!)
Using a specific hashtag to promote your competition is a good way of collecting entries. A good example would be to use something like #YourBrandNameComp. If you’re running this competition on Twitter you can make it even easier to judge the winner by setting a rule on IFTTT to collect any Tweets containing your specific hashtag into a Google spreadsheet.
Just make sure to do your research around any hashtag you wish to use in your competition to make sure it’s not being used for something else already – you don’t want a bunch of accidental entries, it will just make picking a winner more time consuming.
Also, when you’ve finally chosen your hashtag, just make sure you read over it a few times to check for any unintentional words that may accidentally be in there. You don’t want to end up with a PR disaster like at the Susan Boyle album party launch…..
Make sure you know the social platforms rules and T&C’s
Saved the fun part until last!
Unfortunately, each social platform has it’s own rules and regulations when it comes to hosting competitions, so it’s important that you familiarise yourself with these before you begin. We’ll look at the rules of the top two popular social platforms – Twitter and Facebook:
What’s not allowed:
- Asking people to share the competition post on their personal timelines. This is because it basically interferes with Facebook’s algorithms on how it determines what content to show you. If you start posting specific content to your timeline i.e around a vacuum cleaner you want to win, then you’ll start seeing more of this content which is obviously not what you want.
- Asking people to tag themselves in order to enter. You can’t ask people to tag themselves or a friend in your competition posts to enter.
What is allowed:
- Competitions where members have to like/comment on your page post or comment on the page itself to enter.
- Competitions run through third party apps.
- Competitions where members can send a Facebook message to enter.
You also must state in your competition terms and conditions that Facebook is not associated with your competition in any way and state clearly the competition eligibility requirements necessary to enter.
What’s not allowed:
- Encouraging people to create multiple Twitter accounts to enter. You may want to state in your competition T&C’s that anyone found entering on multiple accounts will be ineligible.
- Posting duplicate or near duplicate updates or links. Avoid posts such as “whoever retweets this the most wins!” as this jeopardises Twitter’s search quality, and may cause users to be automatically filtered out of Twitter’s search results. Combat this by saying only one entry is accepted per person.
- Irrelevant Hashtags – Make sure any hashtags used in your competition are relevant, otherwise you might be violating Twitter’s rules on using irrelevant hashtags.
Other than those points, Twitter is a little more relaxed for running competitions on compared with Facebook.
But it’s not over yet!
On top of all the platform specific rules, you also need to adhere to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)’s CAP code for competitions which means you must:
- Always include a closing date (which can’t be changed)
- Always state clearly what the prize actually is (again can’t be changed)
- State clearly any restrictions i.e age.
- Ensure that your winner is picked by chance i.e by using a computer process that produces verifiably random results or via an independent person (or under the supervision of an independent person).
Phew, and that’s just about everything you need to know for running a successful social media competition. We wish you the best of luck with running yours, but if you fancy a hand don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise not to host any rude parties in your name!
Thanks for reading.