Running a contest on twitter is one thing and making it a raving success is quite another. The act of creating a twitter contest has become so automatic that anyone with a basic knowledge of twitter in particular, and social media in general, can create and run a promotion. But to bring the result that will justify the return on investment (ROI), one needs to do much more than simply running a contest.

To be successful one need to ensure that the twitter contest reaches far and wide so that more and more people can participate and justify the investment. And that is what I am going to talk about in this article.

Identify important Hashtags

Creating a custom hashtag for the promotion is an important step that one needs to take in order to ensure visibility on twitter, but a custom hashtag is like an island and until a proper communication system is established (through promotions and other means), not a single soul will go their for a trip. This is where already-used hashtags feature in. There are like ferries that bring boatloads of people to your contest.

In order to make the most of your contest investment, you need to find important hash tags that people in your niche or geographic areas constantly use in their tweets. Find the ones that have the critical mass for amplification, and include them in the tweets that you use to promote your contests. Prepare a series of promotion tweets and use different hashtags to expand the reach. You can go to Hashtags.org to begin your search.

Find and mention influencers

In every niche there are some influencers or mega hubs or mega connectors whom almost everyone in the niche follow. Their tweets are noticed and retweeted quite frequently. You need to find these people and connect with them. This should not be difficult because source of the social capital (and fan following) of mega-hubs and star connectors is their “insider knowledge” of the happenings in the niche they are active in. They like to flaunt their knowledge.

Before you run a twitter contest you should connect with these influencers and rope them in. You can also think of mentioning them in your announcement tweets to amplify your reach. One good starting point to find influencers in your niche could be wefollow.com.

Align your campaign with trending topics

This one is tricky, but if you can do it successfully, you will get the most out of your campaign. Twitter users, as you know, have a flavor of the day/ week/ month hashtags which they use more than others during a given period. You can make use of these trending topics (both local and global) to align your contests for maximum exposure. Quite often it is not possible to anticipate the topics that will trend in coming weeks, but there are occasions when you can peripherally guess what kind of topics will trend. You can plan your contest accordingly to take advantage of such topics. But this is a risky affairs. You should be very cautious when deciding the topic you align your contest with. You can find the list of trending topic either on twitter or on websites like whatthetrend.com and Trendsmap.com.

Time your tweet

This is the least you should do to ascertain maximum visibility of your tweets. There are times and days when people are more active on twitter, you need to find the most active hours and days for your niche or geographic area or users, and then use the exact timing to send out tweets related to your contest. There are some studies in the timings of tweet as well, which may give you an idea about when to tweet. You may wish to read them before sending your tweet announcing the contest out in the twitter universe. You can also use tools to know when is the best time to tweet.

You may want to begin with the linked article published on kissmetrics blog, and the tools suggested in this Mashable article.

Conclusion

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As you might have guessed that you will need to do some preparatory works if you want to successfully launch your twitter contest. A good deal of work begins long before you send the first announcement tweet out. It is in the preparatory stage that the real seed of twitter contest amplification is sown.

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