Smart business owners know that lead generation is a critical part of being successful. Whether you’re a solopreneur operating an online retail store or a small agency team of 6 offering a service, it is important to continuously generate new leads in order for the business to grow and thrive. While 65% of businesses cite generating traffic and leads as their biggest marketing challenge, many are still clueless on how to do this effectively. Conventional inbound content marketing wisdom focuses primarily on content creation and frequent blog posts, and while these methods are effective in their own right there is another less considered alternative.

Social media contests are often overlooked as a viable way of generating new leads. In some ways, this is in part due to the fact that many business owners are not familiar with the specifics of running an effective social media contest. When done effectively these contests can be a great lead generation tool and we’ve outlined 5 reasons why in this blog post.

 

1. Your potential customers are on social media

Many of your potential customers spend a ton of time on social media – 68% of adults use Facebook while Instagram and Twitter record usages of 35% and 27% respectively. Of this number, 75% of Facebook users and about 60% of Instagram and Snapchat users visit these platforms daily, whether through mobile or desktops. This means if you’re not using social media as a means of generating leads you are seriously missing out since this is where your prospects are hanging out. If your business is present on social media and you’re not utilizing contests you’re sitting on dormant potential.

 

2. You can target the right prospects

The key to generating qualified leads from a social media contest is to make sure the prize you are offering is desirable only to your ideal customer. If your business sells curated travel experiences a great idea for a contest would be a discount coupon – maybe 20% off a travel package – to the destination of the winner’s choice. That way, only persons who are actually interested in booking a vacation package will enter the contest and these will be the kind of customers you’re looking for anyway. On the other hand, sending your contest winner to New York to see Beyonce would hardly give you the right leads, since everybody and their grandma probably wants to see Beyonce in concert or visit New York. The beauty of social media contests is that they give you the freedom to be very deliberate and specific with your prize and this ensures that you collect the right leads.

 

3. Social media contests are free or inexpensive

In many instances it can be completely free to set up a social media contest for your business, barring the cost of your prize. And even that can be free to you or low cost if you’re strategic about it. A discount on a service (a spa could offer a day pass which costs nothing out of pocket) or a free product if you sell merchandise are prizes that your prospective customers would enjoy and appreciate but neither requires any spending upfront.  

While contests that generate leads will require you to collect email addresses, even that piece can be simplified with a link to a Google form, a free MailChimp plan, or some similar service. Even if you are looking for a more robust option, like a landing page and other support the cost for implementation is still significantly lower than many other lead generation options or advertising.

 

4. Social media contests receive high engagement

In many ways, social media contests are like viral content. Even if you’re not willing to admit it now, at some point or the other you’ve probably tagged a friend, shared a post or reposted a photo in the hopes of winning the coveted prize in a contest. Contests where users tag their friends or share the post are a great way to increase engagement and get your brand in front of more eyeballs. The beauty about these contests is that it’s all organic traffic that you don’t have to spend any advertising dollars to promote. Your loyal fans and interested prospects will share it out of enthusiasm and a desire to win. Just be careful when setting your contest rules. You want to ensure that nothing you ask users to do violates any terms of service for any of the social media platforms.

 

5. Social media contests are easier to set up than most other lead generation methods

If you google lead generation chances are most of the blog posts in the results will tell you about creating a piece of content – an eBook, cheat sheet, report or infographic – then giving it away in exchange for an email address. And while this is not a bad idea, the beauty of a social media contest is that you don’t need to wait as long or spend as much time preparing your giveaway. With contests, defining your rules and deciding on a prize is the hardest part. The rest is smooth sailing, which gives it an advantage over all the other labor-intensive lead generation methods.

 

Social media contests aren’t generally the first pick for lead generation. But that doesn’t mean they are not effective. Use them properly and your business will reap the benefits repeatedly. The key is to customize all elements of the contest based on your business and your target audience.

Have you ever tried using social media contests to generate leads? Are you giving it some thought but are still on the fence? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

Pin It on Pinterest