Boost Your Traffic With a Contest (Facebook and Instagram)

*Article by Corri Anna Matheson, Chief of Staff at The Mom Empire

Everyone loves winning – it’s a fact. So why not use that to your company’s advantage? Contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, anything that involves prizes and winning, can boost traffic to your website social media pages, grow your email list, and create a buzz around your brand like no other! 

As far as gift ideas go – useful, popular items win big. You might have products that your company sells that you’d like to raffle off, or you might want to purchase a prize. Got a gift card for a national restaurant chain or store? Consider using that as your prize! It will be a small investment in the beginning, but the amount of traffic and engagement you may receive could definitely prove its worth.

There are many companies out there who, for a fee, could set up a social media contest and run the drawing for you, but I like to encourage free or inexpensive ways to grow your traffic, so I will not be referring to those in this article. Let’s get started!

Facebook Contest

Running a Facebook contest is an easy and inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website and Facebook page, and to build your email list (contest rules are always changing so be sure to check that your contest complies with Facebook’s contest regulations when you create it). The best way to create a contest on Facebook is to create a landing page on your website and link a Facebook post to it. Here are the basics on how to do it (image below is an example by ShortStack):

  1. Create your landing page – Use your company’s email platform (Constant Contact, MailChimp, Flodesk, etc.) to create a landing page on your website. On your landing page, you will list details and rules about the contest. Add an image of the prize and the date of the drawing. Adding a countdown timer would create a sense of urgency. Add a simple form requesting their name and email address (Bonus tip: This is a great opportunity to ask if they would like to be added to your email list).
  2. Create your Facebook post – Include the link to your landing page. Don’t be too wordy, just describe what the prize is, when the drawing will happen, and how to enter (mention if there are ways to get additional entries, such as tagging friends in the comments, asking them to like your page, or share the post). The goal here is to get as many entries as possible. Be sure that your prize is worth the buzz around your contest and include a call to action (for example, “enter our _____ sweepstakes for a chance to win _______!”).
  3. Set a date – Your contest can’t run indefinitely. Make it last a week MAX. The shorter the contest runs, the more hopeful your contestants will be. Aim for the following weekend, while most of your followers are online and thinking about it still.
  4. Encourage engagement – Having your contestants engage in the post will not only create a buzz around your brand, but it will be seen by more people. You want your contestants to work for their prize (have them comment on the post once they’ve entered, maybe about what they would do with the prize for example). If you have the ability and budget to promote your contest via Facebook advertising, I would highly recommend it, although it is not necessary (you may have to run a few contests and see what kind of results you’re getting and then consider if promoting it is best for you).
  5. Selecting your winner – On the date of the contest, list all of your entries in a spreadsheet document. There are websites out there that will select a winner at random for you, or you can use the “scroll and point” method, which saves you time and sanity. Put your finger on the screen, close your eyes, and scroll up and down until you decide to stop. Whoever is on that line is your winner. Congratulations!
  6. Notify your winner and ship their prize – Create a Facebook post and tag your winner and message them for their shipping address. Be sure to ship your prize quickly. You did it!
  7. Bonus tip: Make the contest more interesting! Select a second-place winner to receive a free or hugely discounted service or product from your website. For an ultimate win, create an email list using everyone who entered the drawing, and email them saying they’re a 3rd prize winner, and their prize is a free download, or service discount, or something of that nature. Even if it’s not the big prize they entered the drawing for, they will appreciate winning something!

Instagram Contest

Running an Instagram contest is a fun way to build your Instagram following. Consider how many times you’ve liked and tagged 20+ friends in a post to get more contest entries. Remember that giddy feeling of hopeful enthusiasm you had as you tagged each friend? Because adding website links on Instagram is nearly impossible, you can create your contest one of two ways: 1) You can create a post with your contest details and have contestants click on a link in your bio that leads to a landing page (see Facebook landing page details on how to do this), or 2) you can do an Instagram-only contest with the sole intention of growing your following. I will discuss the latter option below.

  1. Set up your contest – Here you will outline your rules, the contest date, what the prize is, and how to enter.
  2. Add an image of the prize – Use text on your image to make it pretty! People who scroll through various posts and hashtags need something eye-opening to stop them in their tracks and enter your drawing.
  3. Highlight your entry requirements – Make your contestants work for their entries! One entry is simply not enough. You want your following to grow, right? Have them do the following: A) Like your post B) Follow your page C) Tag their friends (each friend tagged is an additional entry). It seems like a lot of work and names to keep track of, but trust me, it’s worth it.
  4. #Hashtag the crap out of it! – This contest is not just for your followers. You want every Instagram user to find your contest. Use as many hashtags as possible when creating your contest post, and make sure your page is public so more people can find it.
  5. Share your post – This one is self-explanatory. Make sure your contest deadline and drawing date are set, and publish it. As the entries come, add them to a spreadsheet (do not add the names tagged, here you only want to add those who commented, and if they tagged friends, add their name on the list again). If you have the ability and budget to promote your contest via Instagram advertising, I would highly recommend it, although it is not necessary (you may have to run a few contests and see what kind of results you’re getting and then consider if promoting it is best for you).
  6. Select a winner – You can select a winner on your spreadsheet by using the “scroll and point” method listed above, or find a website that uploads the list and selects a winner at random.
  7. Notify your winner and ship their prize – Rewarding the winner can become content in and of itself to let viewers know that someone actually won, and that a gift was actually given. Also, it generates more buzz for your next contest (consider doing a contest every month to keep your followers engaged). Create a post and tag your winner and message them for their shipping address. Be sure to ship your prize quickly. Congratulations, you did it!
  8. Bonus tip: To get even more followers, consider partnering with another company on Instagram to run a contest together. For example, David’s Tea uses the following:

Contests and giveaways are a fun and exciting way to grow your social media following, boost your website traffic and promote your brand. If you’ve found this post helpful or have an example of a contest you’ve done that was successful, we’d love to hear about it! Please share your comments below!

~Corri Anna Matheson, Chief of Staff at The Mom Empire