How To Run Successful Twitter Contest: Step-By-Step Guide

How to Leverage Twitter Competition to Build Brand awareness for your Small Business.

The retweet feature is a stroke of genius. Thanks to the guys who invented Twitter.  If enough people retweet your post, it will reach beyond Twitter galaxies you dare not Fathom. 

The quick and easy way to get these coveted retweets are to entice people via a contest. You can create a simple follow and retweet competition in minutes. Although simple, they both build brand awareness and increase followers.

This is also an excellent way to gain social proof online.

Twitter contest grow mailing lists, build relationship and brand awareness and increase sales. One contest app reported that 70% of people take part in online competitions. Complete competition forums exist to hone the craft. 

The Twitter contest comes in all shapes and sizes. They range from simple sweepstakes to the more advanced user-generated content (UGC) contests.  Some need a large fan base and even a significant investment of time and money.

So, how can a small business run a contest that produces meaningful results and on a budget?

I will share the complete process to run a Twitter competition that works for the small business. It will grow your account, earn you thousands of impressions, build brand awareness. There is no massive investment of time or money. This makes it a perfect Social Media strategy for the small business.

Like everything I share on my blog: I’ve tested this model over and again for many clients, and it works every time. 

How to craft a winning contest tweet

You need to craft a  simple, yet powerful tweet. It should look like this:

Follow&RT @username to win £20 Love2Shop Voucher C/D 03/01  #Competition #monday #socialmedia http://bit.ly/246HYNJ


Elements of the content tweet

  • Tell people what you’d like them to do
  • You need to include prize draw
  • C/D stands for closing date and is essential.
  • The hashtags serve three purposes
  • #Comp stands for competition and enables die hard competition fans to filter you out.
  • #monday: day-related that place you in current conversations
  • #socialmedia: relevant industry hashtag (you will need to change to your niche.)
  • Finally URL of the terms: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1so04e7

[Add your terms to a free tweetlonger.com page]
[You will need to shorten URL using https://bitly.com/]

A simple twitter contest terms

  1. The promoter is [Company name] whose registered office is located at [Address]
  2. The competition is open to residents of the [United Kingdom/USA/Canada] aged 16 years or over.
  3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  5. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are explained in each tweet
  6. The social media platform for competition is: Twitter
  7. Closing date for entry will be March 2, 2015.
  8. After this date, the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  9.  No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  10. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice.
  11. The prize is as follows: £20 Love2Shop Voucher
  12.  Participants are picked at random and notified by DM
  13. Participants are required to share their winnings by taking a photo and mentioning @London366 in the tweet.

How to decide on the use of hashtags

According to RiteTag,  #Competition is a good quality hashtag to use in competitions so you don’t need to change this.

Stats for the Hashtag of competition.

Stats for the Hashtag of competition.

You shouldn’t just hashtag random words. There are several services that you can utilise to select hashtag that will work for you. One such service is Hashtagify.me.

  1. Go to  Hashtagify.me
  2. Enter suitable keywords in the search field (top right)
  3. Once results are returned
  4. Hover over corresponding hashtags
  5. You need a hashtag with high popularity score, high correlation and reasonable character length

How to build your brand using visuals

Tweet with images are 35% more likely to be retweeted [Social Media Stats source

  • You should, therefore, include strong brand visual on your competition tweet.
  • Attach two images each with dimensions of 440 by 220 px.
  • You should add a picture of the prize draw to entice your audience to take part in the contest.
  • Include an image with you logo, products, services, etc.

How to share your twitter contests

  1. Share your tweet daily in your timeline.
  2. Each day, change the day related hashtag
  3. Pin new tweet to your profile daily
  4. Ask large communities to share your tweet
  5. Competition sites are an excellent way to help you spread the word about your contest.

How to measure the reach of your Twitter Contest

No doubt, you will be able to see the results of the competition each day. But, once the contest is complete, use TweetReach to measure your reach. They have a free version and a simple login with your Twitter account will let you access the data.

How to fairly select a winner

Law binds Twitter competitions, and the draw has to be fair and square to follow legal requirements. There are many contest software, but they don’t cater for retweet competitions. I found this nifty tool called TweetDraw that does a bulk of the work for you.

  • First, you need to gather all the tweet URLs.
  • You do so by clicking on each tweet in the competition.
Twitter Contest

How to find Twitter URL for your contest tweet.

  • Copy and paste URL in Excel document
  • Once you have all your tweet URLs- Go to tweet draw
  • Enter each URL in the first field and pick a random winner
Select a twitter contest winner

Tweet draw allows you to choose a random winner for each tweet.

  • You should have one potential winner for each tweet.
  • You can then draw them from a hat or
  • Use a service like pick-a-random-name to choose your winner:

What to do after the competition

Inform the winner by DM and make it public in your timeline. Ask the winner to capture a photo of their winning and send it to you so you can use it for future promotions.

Please share your experience of running social media contest. How did it work for your business? What are the barriers of running a social media contest?

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Your Digital Marketing Coach!

Digital Marketing Strategist. The author of The Practical Digital Marketing Planner. Top 500 Social Media Influencer by Agilience. I work with small to medium size companies and entrepreneurs to develop a robust Digital Marketing Strategy so they can thrive online.

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