How to Use Social Media Contests to Generate Leads

social-trophies1Let’s face it; there’s nothing exciting about lead generation. In fact, it can be extremely frustrating. You spend days crafting a compelling eNewsletter and months creating a killer company blog, but the number of leads coming in aren’t what you expected. If this sounds familiar, then maybe it’s time to think outside box and liven up your lead generation strategy. 

Social media contests are quickly becoming the new “go-to” marketing strategy. From the entertainment industry to the technology sector, companies across all verticals are holding contests via social media. In fact, 70 percent of big companies will use gamification in their marketing strategies by 2014, according to a recently released infographic by Kontest, a company specializing in social contests and promotions apps.

As a result of social media contests, current and potential customers have an opportunity to directly engage with a brand in a unique, fun way.  And when done correctly, they can help bolster social stats, boost customer engagement and improve lead generation. In fact, 52 percent of consumers are motivated to stay connected or provide their input about a current or new product through contests, according to a study conducted by market research firm Ipsos.

However, before you jump into crafting a contest, there are a few steps you must take.

  • Step One:  Set a clearly defined goal. For example, maybe you want to increase your Twitter followers or perhaps you want to generate a solid list of leads? Whatever it is, setting a well-defined goal will help measure your ROI.
  • Step Two: Identify a target audience. While you probably already have a good grasp on your target audience, be careful when choosing a platform to launch your contest, as each social network has its own set of demographics. For example, if you’re releasing a new product geared toward women, your best bet is to hold your contest via Facebook – as research states that the average Facebook user is a woman around the ages of 18-29.
  • Step Three: Choose the right prize. Whether it’s a three-day vacation, cash or the latest tech gadget, choosing the right “shiny” prize is key. Let’s say, for example, you want to garner buzz around a new software solution. Instead of giving away a free trail of the software, why not give away a free iPad that customers can use to run the software.

Need some inspiration? Take a page from Mercedes-Benz. In an effort to bolster excitement surrounding its new luxury CLA vehicle geared toward millennials, Mercedes launched a social media contest via the photo-sharing platform Instagram. The luxury car company chose five of Instragram’s top photographers (based on their number of fans) and let each one borrow the new CLA for one week. However, there was one condition– the photographers had to post photos of their experience during that week. The photographer with the most “likes” wins a three-year lease on the car.


What Mercedes-Benz did was genius. Not only did the company get “free” exposure on Instagram, but it also posted photographs on its Facebook page to double exposure.

Whether you’re releasing a new product or simply want to create buzz around an existing offering, holding a social media contest is a cost effective way to generate leads and boost customer engagement.

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