July 10, 2014 Chad Richards

Your Social Media Contest Failed Because Of These 3 Reasons

social media contest failed

You were so excited to launch your promotion on social media, but then masses didn’t share your enthusiasm or participate in the way you hoped they would. It happens a lot. Here are the top 3 reasons why your social media contest failed to be successful.

Why Your Social Media Contest Failed

Chances are you did at least one, if not all, of these things. It’s okay, it’s not just you. We see it all the time from brands who reach out to us after a failed social media contest attempt of their own.

1. You failed to promote it

If you launch it, they will not come. You’ve got to promote your promotion. How?

Send an email at the start of the campaign letting people know it’s started
Send an email during the final week of the campaign letting people know it’s their “last chance” to enter. We often see this call-to-action in particular generating a lot of participation. A lot of people wait until the last minute to enter.
Put a prominent link on your website.
Run targeted social media ads to raise awareness and drive traffic to your contest.
Encourage, or entice, your brand advocates and influencers to help you spread the word among their networks and audiences.
Put up signs if you have a physical location that people visit, like a retail store or restaurant.

The last thing you should do is expect your social media contest to simply go viral and promote itself. It’s not going to happen.


RELATED POST: Social Media Contests: 40 Rules That Will Make Or Break Your Promotion


2. You requested too much on the entry form

For a sweepstakes, you need to collect a name and email address. Collect one additional piece of information if you like. If you request much more than that, you run the risk of people abandoning your entry form.

When it comes to photo and video contests, the easier you can make them to enter, the more likely it is that people will. For most people, photos are easier to take and upload than videos. Therefore, photo contests will typically have more participants than a video contest.

If running a video contest, making it more accessible to more people by keeping the concept simple and the requested video length short will ensure more participation. Requesting a 30-minute masterpiece will interest only a limited number of people—namely, aspiring auteurs.

Legal teams often unintentionally “kill” contests because of the amount of information they feel necessary to collect. There is a direct correlation the size of your entry form and the number of people who enter: the smaller your form, the more people will enter.


RELATED POST: Your Social Media Contest Prize Will Make Or Break Your Promotion


3. Your prize wasn’t enticing or worth the effort

If you offer a prize that everyone already has, everyone can easily obtain on their own, or that nobody wants, people will not enter. It’s critical that the prize you’re offering is desirable. And the wider the appeal of that prize, the more people will enter.

Also, people won’t jump through a lot of hoops for an insubstantial prize. So if you’ve got a $50 VISA gift card to give away, don’t run a video contest—it’s too much work for too little a payoff and I guarantee you’ll see few, in any, entries.

Your social media contest prize will make or break your promotion—so make it a good one.


Keep these 3 things in mind when planning your next social media contest and it’s sure to be a smashing success!

So your social media contest failed to thrive and deliver the results you were hoping for? Firebelly is here for you. Call us at 317-557-4460, email us at hello@firebellymarketing.com or fill out our contact form.

Chad Richards

VP, Social Media Services at Firebelly
Fun Fact: Chad was named "Most Influential Up & Comer" at the inaugural Social Media Summit. He's been with Firebelly since 2007.
Chad Richards

About the Author

Chad Richards Fun Fact: Chad was named "Most Influential Up & Comer" at the inaugural Social Media Summit. He's been with Firebelly since 2007.

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