Want to attract new followers? Build traffic to your website or Facebook page? Get more “likes”? Help raise your brand’s profile or name recognition? A social contest could be just the ticket.

Contests vs Sweepstakes

Contests, or games of skill, can include things like a competition to design a t-shirt, create the best new cupcake recipe, or post the most popular viral video of kittens behaving badly. A sweepstakes, on the other hand, is purely a game of chance, where a winner is determined at random. Why choose a contest instead of a sweepstakes? Sweepstakes are heavily regulated in many states, because they’re considered a form of gambling, so they require specialized expertise to conduct legally. The Small Business Administration has some tips to help you run a legitimate contest, sweepstakes or giveaway.

What’s a “social” contest or sweepstakes?

You’ve probably participated in one, if you’ve spent any time on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Typically, it’s a contest that is either run directly on a social media platform, or involves “liking,” sharing or Tweeting something to get extra contest entries. In some cases, a contest may involve using social media to vote on contest entries (with the most-shared or most-liked content being declared the winner). In this contest, run by the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, you have to share your team memory (in the form of a photo or video) on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat or Twitter with a certain hashtag to enter. This sweepstakes, run by Castello USA, a cheese company, involves a relatively standard entry process (state your preference of which two items belong on their virtual cheese board), but also allows entrants to get extra entries by sharing the contest on their Facebook timeline or in a message.

Next week, I’ll share some tips on how you can use your social contest to meet your content marketing goals.


Kathleen Hanover
Certified Go-Giver Speaker and Copywriting Trainer
Kathleen Hanover helps entrepreneurs tell their story, attract their ideal audiences, and persuasively communicate their value. As a highly-regarded marketing copywriting trainer, she teaches persuasion psychology and the magic words that build rapport and sales. And as Ohio's first Certified Go-Giver Speaker, Kathleen shares the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from the international best-seller, "The Go-Giver," by Bob Burg and John David Mann, with business and community audiences alike.
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