The prizing is set, the contest or sweepstakes is designed, and the microsite is being built. It’s time to consider how leveraging social media can drive interest and participation in your promotion.

Even contests and sweepstakes that are not hosted on a social platform can benefit from the strategic use of social media to build awareness, increase engagement and garner additional entries.

Here are three ways to amplify your promotion with social media:

Build a Robust Media Plan

To get the most out of your contest or sweepstakes, you’ll need a strategy for attracting attention and driving visitors to the promotion. Our clients often plan targeted ads on social media platforms to announce the promotion, inviting their engaged social media audience to participate in the giveaway.

Advertising on your primary social media networks ensures your posts are seen by the maximum number of viewers. And with a link directly embedded into the post, users can instantly click through to the microsite to register straight from their phone. Ads allow you to catch someone in the moment they learn about the promotion and convert their enthusiasm directly into entries.

The most successful social media ads feature the prizes, with a prominent call to action, or utilize submissions from a brand’s previous contests to generate excitement. If a brand has run a UGC contest in the past, they own the rights to submitted entries and can utilize the photos or videos again as ads for a new contest.

Some clients, such as beauty brands, will also sponsor content from influencers or micro-influencers to announce a promotion and drive social traffic from a variety of sources.

Although Realtime Media does not handle media planning or buying, as a full-service sweepstakes management company, we regularly collaborate with agencies and other professionals to ensure the success of any campaigns related to our promotions.

Share for Entries

After entering a sweepstakes, there are several additional CTAs that brands can choose to display on the thank you page and confirmation email. One popular option is to incentivize social sharing through our One2Many technology. A user will be given a link to easily share the promotion on their social channels, and they’ll be awarded an additional entry for every friend who uses their unique link to enter.

Although this isn’t available on every platform, we see a healthy amount of social sharing in all the promotions that select this option. The additional entries earned via sharing give users a better chance at winning the prize and therefore make them more likely to help promote your sweepstakes.

With One2Many social sharing, brands can effectively boost their earned media and encourage participants to spread information about the sweepstakes.

Follow for Entries

Brands can extend the promotion’s impact to their own social media channels by incentivizing participants to follow them for extra entries. In this scenario, the thank you page and confirmation email will include links to the brand’s social channels. Realtime Media tracks the clicks and awards users extra entries for their follows.

This call to action works well for our clients, as clicking to follow is a low-effort way for users to earn additional entries.

Social media can play a powerful role in driving excitement and registrations to your promotion — and it shouldn’t be limited to contests or sweepstakes hosted on social platforms. With a targeted media plan and incentivized shares or follows, brands can maximize exposure and interest while maintaining the strategic benefits of hosting the promotion on their own microsite.