‘A picture says a thousand words’ is an adage that we have heard all our lives, but in times as busy as ours, 140 characters are enough! Twitter has come a long way since its launch in July 2006. Listed as one of the top 10 most visited websites, Twitter has become a revolution in the world of social networking. With celebrities around the globe fairly active on this micro-blogging site, Twitterverse has become the breeding ground for any so called ‘Breaking News’.

Brands across India have shown urgency in getting their Twitter handles up and have become more ‘Twitteractive’ in the last year and half. A lot of digital agencies have been hearing from their clients on getting their hashtags trending on twitter. Is that stupid? I do not think so. Trends on Twitter are visible across India (or across the globe, if you trend worldwide), so who will not want that kind of visibility for his/her brand? The easiest and the most common way to create this so called ‘Buzz’ on Twitter is through Twitter contests. I am listing down some points that will help you plan for a successful contest on Twitter.

1. A Wise Hashtag:

I will strongly suggest that keep your brand name in the hashtag (like #YesBankMaximum or #PepsiIPL etc. ) and not just do it randomly (like #ILoveChocolates or  #MeandMom). The chances of people tweeting non-branded hashtags are higher than ones with brand names, but it does nothing for your brand if you manage to get your hashtag trending, and it doesn’t contain your brand name.

2. Strict Call To Action:

Yes, there has to be a call to action here as well, and you should try to put this within the hashtag itself (For e.g. #ILoveTwitterBecause #MyCadburyMoment). This is straight, direct call out to the Tweeples urging them to respond.

3. Timelines:

The duration of the Twitter contest had to be decided well; studies have shown Thursdays – Fridays are good days to have contests on Twitter. Keep in mind, however, that there are no fixed rules to this. Just try to avoid Mondays. Whether you want to run the contest as a one day contest/ or a weekly one, completely depends on you. I would suggest a one day contest, since those work well, and you will pick up speed either instantly or it will die out. You will have to put in lot of efforts to sustain it for a long time, especially on a social media forum.

4. Start Talking:

Before the contest, keep your followers engaged on teasers around the contest. Do not worry if your follower base is not big, talk to the influencers who have a huge follower count and urge people to retweet. Some handles like @Contest_alert can also promote your contest on the Twitterverse.

5. Twitter Background:

This may seem like a small thing, but it is very effective. Change the background theme of your Twitter page at least few days before the campaign. You can mention the contest theme, contest duration on the cover picture itself.

6. Terms and conditions:

This need to be posted as a tweet with a link to the creative mentioning the terms and conditions or any other Dos and Don’ts clearly. This will be much needed to avoid any hassles or consumer complaints post the contest.

7. Giveaways:

Announce your plans for giveaways beforehand, because people are always interested in some unique goodies – like celebrity signed cricket bats, T-Shirts, custom goodies etc.

8. Mentions:

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It is very important to ask participants to mention the handle and the hashtag with their tweets, because these mentions not only increase virality, but also promote your contest to a wider audience.

In the end, one very important tip – Space out the contests, to maintain the excitement levels in your audiences/followers. Remember, the end motive is to get your brand or product communication going , so keep talking to consumers about them once the contest is over. Do not forget the followers post the contest, and keep engaging.

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