Twitter can be a great source of traffic, but it can be hard to get a handle on it.
It's a place where messages move fast, and a typical tweet has a half-life measured in hours, not days or weeks.
So how do you leverage the platform's popularity to bring in targeted traffic and, ideally, make some extra sales?
There are quite a few strategies you can implement on Twitter, but one of the best tried and true tactics is hosting a contest.
Everyone likes to win stuff, and Twitter's an excellent platform for giveaways.
Whether it's a random drawing, or a photo contest or something else that requires some effort and skill, you may find that Twitter contests win you a surprising number of new fans and followers.
That's what The Print Shop, a printing company from India, did to improve their Twitter presence and generate buzz.
Based on their case study, Jeff Bullas has created a simple but powerful step by step guide you can use to host a Twitter contest of your own.
Step 1 : Think of the contest & it’s prize
The very first thing you need to do is think of a contest theme and it’s prize.
The contest hashtag is used by all the contestants and the host. This makes it easier to manage all the tweets in one place. So, make sure you choose a hashtag for your contest.
Pro Tip #1 : Choose a hashtag that is unique, or else you will also see tweets from people who are not in the contest.
Pro Tip #2 : Try to make your hashtag branded so that people remember your brand. In the case of The Printing Shop, they wanted to make people remember that they are a brand that sells personalized products & the festival was diwali. So, they mixed both things to make it #PersonalizedDiwali.
After thinking about the contest theme, you need to think about a prize you will give to your winner/winners.
In The Printing Shop example, they gave away vouchers to their winners. The goal is to make the winners your customers. You can give them something for free and when they love it, they’ll order it again (or something else form you).
Pro Tip: If you decide to select multiple winners, you can announce the total worth of vouchers you’ll be giving away. This will make your prize look worth more money. For example, if you will give a $20 voucher to each winner and you select 10 winners, you can say, “Vouchers worth $200 to be won!” and so on.
Step 2 : Build the landing page, questions, rules and mid-promo
Your contest must have very simple questions that are easy to answer for anyone in your audience. Your questions should be focused on your brand and the sale your contest is associated to. By asking questions you actually want your audience to learn about your brand and your sale.
Also, you need to always give a link with each tweet. This link will take your contestants to your landing page. So, make sure your landing page is clear and answers every question.
Your contest must not have many questions. About 5 questions is enough.
The Landing Page
The landing page should be simple, self explanatory and tell your contestants the answers to every question that you ask. You need to get all your contestants to this page to get hints to your questions.
Your contest must have a few rules and terms and conditions.
Step 3 : Build an audience for your contest
You need to start building your audience a week before you start the contest. Don’t give more or less than this time because the goal is to build anticipation with your audience.
If you give too much time gap after building anticipation, your audience will lose interest and no one will join you on the day of the contest.
Promote Your Contest
Start announcing the contest by simply tweeting it on your account.
For an example, let’s say that the contest you are hosting is called #MyCoolContest and you’ll be giving away total vouchers worth $200 to winners, you can tweet something like;
“#MyCoolContest is on this Sunday. Vouchers worth $200 to be won.”
But, announcing a contest to an empty Twitter profile is just like screaming in an empty room. If the room is empty, no matter how many times you tell people about your contest and no matter how appealing your offers are, no one will join you.
Do a mini giveaway
Another good strategy to attract more people is to do a giveaway, “right here, right now”.
Keep in mind that the giveaway should be short, instant and should not claim a huge prize because it is just to attract people to the main contest. It should be an entry level giveaway.
Even after the giveaway you need to keep promoting your main contest. Keep tweeting about your contest with hashtags and keep approaching twitter accounts which promote contests.
You need to do it for whole week.
Day before the contest
On the day before the contest, you need to announce your sale. But don’t make your sale the #1 thing for your audience. Just do a 1-2 tweets about the sale.
Step 4 : Start the contest
Finally, it’s time for the contest which is much awaited by your audience.
Before starting the contest
The first thing you need to do on the contest day is announce the exact timing of the contest and make sure to announce it more than once, so that it reaches all your audience and they are there on time.
Make sure you wake up early that day to make the announcement. Announce the timing 3-4 times before starting the contest.
Make a buzz throughout the contest
You have done a lot of work to build your audience. You spent an entire week doing so. Now, you don’t want to make it just a half an hour occasion. Make sure your contest is going on for 3-5 hours. This will help your audience remember your brand and will build stronger connections.
Have a good long gap between two tweets after your contest is started.
What to expect on contest day
On the contest day you’ll be seeing a lot of your traffic coming in from twitter. You can expect uses anywhere from 20-100+ at a given time.
Also, you’ll be having hundreds of notifications on your twitter profile and thousands of tweets on your hashtag.
So yeah, the contest day will be a fun day.
Step 5 : End the contest
Don’t end the contest as soon as you have your last question. Let the contest be up until the midnight of that day.
And finally announce the winners. Send them their prizes.
You can learn more about driving traffic over at Jeff Bullas's blog.