3 Reasons to Try a Multiplatform Contest

By Shannon Maguire Each day, we spend anywhere from two to four hours on social media networks and 65% of that time is spent on mobile. As social media marketers, we have to step back and look at, not only these facts, but our own consumption when crafting campaigns to build a user-friendly and brand-friendly (aka successful) contest or sweepstakes. One of the most important things we must learn is that we are not confined to one network or platform, because our fans are not. They are constantly switching between apps and sharing across multiple platforms, so we must too – break free of the single network shackles and embrace the multiplatform contest! 1. The Hashtag – Hate it or love it, the hashtag is on top. While this metadata tag first gained popularity on Twitter, it is now the standard across multiple platforms, from Facebook to Flickr. Not only is using a hashtag a great way to engage your fans and get them talking about your brand or event, it’s also a great way to gather contest entries. When you utilize the same branded or unique hashtag across multiple platforms, it becomes your point of entry. Now you’re reaching your fans in their comfort zone, where they are, instead of where you are.

2. Twitter Popularity – Yes, Facebook campaigns are pretty, safe, and easily managed, but who ever said social media marketing was meant to be easy or safe? Step away from the Facebook and look at the bigger picture of your entire social network makeup. If you’re on Twitter, it’s important that you include it in your social campaign initiatives, now more than ever. According to Mashable, in a recent teen survey, 26% of those polled chose Twitter for their favorite network, followed closely by Instagram and Facebook sharing the #2 spot with 23%. These numbers show that if you want to reach a larger fan base, consider stretching your campaign across all, or at least the most relevant, of your networks.

Not only has Twitter's popularity grown immensely over the past year, but the network has also slowly rolled out a new 'direct message' format. Mashable reported in October that Twitter had changed an option in its settings to allow users to accept DMs from accounts that were not followers. While this was not an option most private users were willing to agree to, being able to receive DMs from people your account is not following was a huge game changer for brands. Not only did this make customer service a tad bit easier, but also it allowed for brands to begin accepting entries through DMs without having to individually follow each participant.

3. Sharing is Caring – Last, but certainly not least, one of the best reasons to launch a multiplatform campaign for your brand is to embrace sharing. Last year, right before the Facebook’s acquisition of the photo sharing app, around 20% of Instagram users had accounts connected to Facebook. While there isn’t much similar data since the acquisition, we can only assume the number has grown significantly. One of the benefits of fans and contest participants having their social accounts connected is in fact sharing. Not only is a public entry beneficial on each specific network in terms of brand promotion, but when that image or text is shared across multiple networks, it broadens your reach. Encourage your fans to share the good word of your contest, whether for voting purposes or extra entries.

Launching a multiplatform contest does not and should not mean you must have the same call to action across the different networks. While in some cases this is appropriate, you have to be aware of what your specific audiences are capable of and are willing to do. The concept of hosting a campaign across multiple networks, focuses more on being inclusive – never allowing a specific section of fans to feel ‘left out’ – because at the end of the day, you are building a community of supporters, fans, and friends.

Have you ran or participated in a multiplatform contest? Share in the comments below!