Hot Tips for Running a Successful Twitter Contest


Twitter needs no introduction and neither does its importance in a marketing plan. Using Twitter to run a contest is also not something a seasoned marketer has never heard of, in fact, many of them have even tried it and also experienced some degree of success with it. And this “some degree of success” is what has made this article necessary, as a huge sum of money goes wasted in failed campaigns bringing  “some degree of success”, and which leaves the marketers far behind their set target.

In this article, I am sharing some tips on how to successfully run a contest on Twitter. I am not going to begin with asking you to define your objective, or telling you about setting the rules of the contest, prize, etc., which I suppose you’d do for any contest and must have done that in the past. Taking it from there, I am going to share some actionable tips which may not work on other platforms for running your contest, but on Twitter, it will create a huge difference. Here are the list of tips for running a successful twitter contest.

Create an appropriate Hashtag

More than anything, a hashtag is what makes your campaign successful. Discovery and sharability of your tweets depend a lot on hashtags, so you should pay a special attention to the hashtags that you may include in your tweet. As I see it an appropriate hashtag should:

  • Be easy to remember
  • Create a connect, and
  • It can be campaign specific, and/or unique for brand (use both types when using more than one hashtags)
Align with some popular hashtags

Along with devising a new hashtag for your contest (or brand) you can also think of aligning at least one popular hashtag with your campaign. For example, if you are running a contest for people in a specific geographic location, say Delhi, you may want to include a popular hashtag related to that place. You can find popular hashtags on

Create a custom shortened URL with bitly

There are many URL shortening services, but I prefer using bitly, for the control it gives on the shortened URL and the URL report it provides for each URL shortened using bitly, and all this for free. When creating a shortened version of URL, I’ll suggest you to use your main hashtag in the URL. For example, let’s say your hashtag is IPL2013, you may think of using a shortened URL that reads, provided it is not taken.

Write Contest Ads

It may sounds a little strange, but each tweet is like a small ad, which performs a particular role that, to the least, is to grab attention and generate interest, if we follow the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) model.

When creating a tweet to announce or promote your contest, you need to keep in mind that the goal of that tweet (or series of it) is not to make people take any immediate action, but it should be to make people click the accompanying link. The rest of the work of taking action should be done on the page which is on the other side of the link.

A tweet is a too small a medium to influence the ultimate action, but it is a very powerful a way to generate interest and grab attention. And for that end, you need to create tweets that deliver a punch. You may need to take help of professional advertising copywriters for the work, particularly of those who specialize in creating powerful jingles and one-liners.

Build a network

When all set and done, you need to take one final step, which is to seed the tweet among twitter users who are most likely to not only participate in the competition but to tweet it further. To that end, FollowerWonk, a third-party twitter user data mining service can come handy. You can try other services as well, but what is important is you must involve yourself in twitter outreach to get in touch with Twitter users from your niche.

This is it for the post. Use these tips the next time you run a Twitter contest, and I’d be glad to know how successful you have been with your Twitter contest, so please share your experience in the comment box below. Finally, more than anything else, it is the content of a tweet that matters the most.


Bikram K. Singh is an SEO and Social Media consultant, and a content marketing strategist. He has helped businesses of all sizes (including fortune 500 companies) gain competitive advantage on the Internet through SEO, social media, and content marketing. Since 1998, he is hooked to the Internet – initially as a consumer then as a producer, and since 2006 onward, as an SEO consultant and content marketing strategist. He develops and executes SEO, Social Media, and content strategies for businesses of all sizes (including fortune 500 companies). You can reach him on [email protected]