How do Companies Use Social Media to Promote Their Business?

Social media is a busy and crowded part of the internet and the brands that can stick out are the ones that gain the most traction across social channels. One sure-fire way to stick out against other brands competing for the same audience share is to incentivize interaction with your brand with a social media activation.

By making social promotions a part of your regular marketing strategy you are adding yet another value offering to your followers. Additionally, not only are you engaging your immediate followers, but you can leverage the built in social share and interaction functionality of social platforms to further boost your message and brand.

Check out this post on Social Media Activations, why they matter, and briefly explore the function of social media brand activations

What Are Social Media Contests and Giveaways?

Social media promotions are digital promotions that leverage one (or multiple) social media platforms as the means of entry rather than a more traditional microsite experience. Targeted at followers, social promotions typically see higher engagement rates due to their lower barrier to entry.

Running a social media promotion typically falls into one of two categories, social media sweepstakes or contests. The big difference between the two is the means in which a winner is determined. Sweepstakes winners are chosen randomly from the entire pool of entries while contest winners are selected via judging or voting.

When you go to launch your promotion, there are two (2) tried and true means of calling uses to enter:

    1. Comment to enter. Probably the most common and quickest to run, invite users to comment on Instagram posts or reply to your Tweet to be automatically entered into the promotion.
    2. Make a social post including a promotion hashtag. Your promotion hashtag is what ties these promotions together. Best used when trying to generate wide-spread engagement outside of your core following. Hashtag promotions come with “built in” channels to promote the contest or sweepstakes as more and more users participate.

Once your team has decided to run contests or sweepstakes on social media, the decision then comes to determining your call to action. Are you going to run a photo contest and collect user generated content? Are you going to leverage the built-in share buttons on social platforms and run a viral hashtag promotion?

To explore more on Social Media Strategy related to sweepstakes and contests explore our products and services guide today.

Why Run a Promotion on Social Media?

Over the last several years, a strong brand presence across social channels has been critical to the success of many B2C brands. Not only does a strong social presence keep your brand top of mind with consumers, but it also provides the opportunity to interact directly with your followers and build a personal connection.

As the attention of consumers becomes increasingly competitive, keeping current with social media activation ideas will ensure your brand stays on top.

Brands that engage actively on social media with a consistent mix of promotions that target consumers see a boost in ROI, engagement, and presence across social channels.

Explore our blog post on the benefits of a strong social media engagement strategy today to learn more.

Pull Contest or Giveaway Entries From Social Media

The biggest consideration when putting together the social media marketing strategy for your promotion is what channels are you going to invite users to enter through. The issues that most brands face is that the social platforms make it difficult to fully understand what is and is not allowed. At Realtime Media, we have been running promotions across social platforms since they launched and our team of promotions experts always stays on top of what you can and (more importantly) can not leverage for your promotions.

Not only do you have to consider what platforms you are going to leverage, also what content you are going to leverage from those platforms? Are you asking people to like a post? Comment? Post a hashtag? Tag and mention your brand?

Realtime Media makes it easy to understand the capabilities and options you have when putting together your social media marketing campaigns:

How to Run a Social Media Contest or Sweepstakes

Unlike more traditional contests or sweepstakes that have more “traditional” microsite, social media promotions rely on an engaged user base to interact with your brand across platforms and participate and share on their own. There are three (3) considerations to make when putting together your promotion strategy:

  1. What is your call to action? How do people know about your promotion? Oftentimes brands will see the most success around social promotions when all social channels and media spend are in sync with pushing user attention to the promotion.

    Also, consider what you are asking them to do in exchange for what you are providing back to them? Are you asking them to simply post the promotion hashtag, or are you asking them to post a 2 minute video as an entry? Make sure that your call to action matches your user base.
  2. What is your incentive to participate? A retweet/repost from your brand or a celebrity is not a strong incentive. Most often, users enter promotions for one reason, the prize they could win at the end. When putting together the prize pool for social promotion we often recommend several low-level prizes to accompany a grand prize.

    If there is only a single, grand prize offered, it may lead users to think, “there’s no way I will win this prize, it’s not worth it”. But when more prizes are offered the chance to win (although not the grand prize) goes up and so does user participation.
  3. How are you collecting the information required for prize fulfillment? One of the major downfalls of social promotions vs. traditional site-based promotions is that you lose out on the chance to capture user registration data in exchange for the social buzz that the promotions create.

    Directly messaging winners over social media to let them know they’ve won is one thing, but collecting their personal data can be messy and is often not secure. Realtime Media’s Prize Claim Solution makes collecting user data quick, easy, and secure. Safely and easily collect first name, last name, email, mailing address and more. This solution makes it easy for you to track winners, and ensures you capture accurate information to deliver their prize to the correct destination.

Learn more about prize strategy and winner administration related to social promotions today.

All Social Media Giveaways Need Official Rules and Must Comply with the Social Network’s Policies

As a full service social media promotion agency, we help make sure your brand is covered in all aspects of digital promotions. Our in-house team of dedicated promotions experts will write your official rules and make sure that all elements of your promotion are within the bounds of state and federal laws. 

Additionally, we take compliance support a step further by reviewing all marketing and promotional material. As previously noted the terms of use around social media promotions are always changing, at Realtime Media we make sure to stay up to date to provide expert guidance when crafting your promotion. Our digital promotions experts are well versed on the ins and outs of social network compliance policies. We help make sure that your brand stays within the boundaries of those policies and incentivizing genuine user interactions.

Explore our full suite of legal administration services for digital promotions.

Elevate Your Promotion to The Next Level

When planning to launch your social promotion, consider the user’s journey and the depth of information you want to deliver to them. While not necessary to launch a successful digital promotion, creating a dedicated microsite for your promotion allows your present additional brand information to users.

A flexible solution, Realtime Media’s quick-turn templated microsite provides you flexible options to leverage additional web real estate for your promotion. Create a full on-site user flow for your promotion or create an informational page that links to product/brand education and additional engagement material.


In conclusion, there are many considerations to make when putting together your social media promotion strategy. As a one-stop-shop for digital promotions Realtime Media will help make sure that you have all of your bases covered. With decades of experience and in-house teams dedicated to the success of your program.

Interested in putting together a quote? Build one in five minutes or less!

Would you rather schedule a demo with our team? Contact us today.