Should I Run a Contest for Linkbait or Social Media?

Contests may be one of the most popular campaign tactics for linkbait and social media. They’re easy to organize and they
can get large numbers of people to promote on your behalf. Yet, many businesses stumble and fall. What goes wrong?

Contests are good for

  • Introducing brandsWhen no one knows your business a contest can introduce your brand and get people to visit your website.
  • Getting mentions on Twitter and Facebook streamsTwitter and Facebook are fertile environments for making contests go viral. Design your entries to be invitations from contestants
    to enter.

    I just entered to win an iPad from @YourBrand. You can too. http://contest.url

  • Getting links, especially from blogsMost links to contests are either low value or temporary. Some links get deleted when the contest ends while others slip into
    the blog archives. Linkbait success usually means lots of low value links.

All this is good in the new world SEO. Newer metrics like click-throughs to your website and brand mentions on other websites,
as well as old-school metrics like links will all increase your website’s authority and influence.

What contests will not do

  • Contests do not drive sales
  • Contests do not generate good prospect lists

Unless your contest targets a well niched audience that already trusts you or your brand it is usually a mistake to attempt
to drive sales or prospecting with contests. People enter contests to win prizes, not because they want to buy from you or because
they have interest in your product or service.

Do you sell a popular product or service or one which will become a cultural phenomenon? If so, your own product or service
will make a compelling prize. If not you need another prize. This is not easy for many merchants. It requires shining the harsh light of reality
on your situation and dashing any illusions. If people are already clamoring for what you sell, chances are you are not
considering the need to run a contest. Even if your product or service is not the next great thing you can still give it away.
Just make sure you supplement your prize with either
enough cash or another, more compelling product. For example, the iPad launches next month, so this would make a great prize. Trips to warn
sunny places seem especially popular. There is no shame in wrapping your prize with pizzazz.

Contests can be great promotional tools for SEO, social media and branding. Just make sure you run yours for the right reasons
and that you create a large enough reward to guarantee success.

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