mage of book PR people giving a thumbs up to social media contests.

How to Hold a Social Media Contest

Can a Social Media Contest Market Your Book?

Yes, running a social media contest can be an excellent addition to a book marketing campaign.  It can help you expand your audience, engage with readers (and could-be-readers), and get your name and brand featured more prominently online. If you know the proper steps to take to get your contest up and running, it’s easier than you might think to execute successfully.

1. Set and Understand Your PR Goals

It’s important to know what you’re hoping to make happen with your contest and set it up to achieve your marketing goals as effectively as possible. Knowing what you want to accomplish will also clarify which social networks you should be targeting.

  • Are you trying to increase your email list or gain more social followers?
    • It would help if you made sure that suComic of book publicists planning a social media campaign to promote a book.bmitting an email address or following your account on social media is one of the rules of entering the contest.
  • Are you holding a contest to collect artwork?
    • Have them follow you on Instagram and use a hashtag as a means of entry so that your contest gets free promotion just from people entering it.

Having a clear idea of what you are hoping to gain from your contest will allow you to set it up for maximum reach and effectiveness.

2. Gear Incentives to Your Target Readers

Your book marketing social media contest won’t take off unless your target readers have a good reason to enter. What will they get out of it? If you plan to offer a prize, make sure it’s clear what the prize is and how many winners. (It doesn’t need to be a physical prize – maybe it’s the chance to be featured on your page! Signed book copies, author merchandise, and tickets to relevant events also make great contest prizes.)

Regardless, your prize needs to be something you’d want to receive the roles were reversed. If the criteria for entering your contest is not something you’d be inclined to do based on the reward offered, your audience probably won’t be interested.

3. Launch With a Plan and Strong Contest Elements

  • Use Attractive Graphics – When you launch your contest, you need to capture your audience’s attention. A great way to do this is with catchy graphics that you can re-use anytime you promote the contest.
  • Promote Strategically – Be sure that your followers know that your contest is coming up and when it has launched and when the deadline will occur. Don’t let anyone forget about it!

4. Be Hands-On in Your Contest Management

It’s not a great idea to launch your contest and then let it run for weeks without checking in. You need to make sure your entries are being received and organized as you go. If it involves emailed entries of artwork or essays, respond to applicants to confirm you’ve received their entry. It’s an excellent way to build trust and communicate with your audience.Book marketing campaigns increasingly rely on social media platforms like the ones pictured here.

5. Use Software to Help You

There are many online apps that you can use to help you run your contest and keep it organized.

  • Woobox – This app connects Facebook and your website and costs as little as $1.00 per month.
  • Rafflecopter – This one also works with Facebook and your website, but it also has its WordPress plugin for extra accessibility. Free plans are available.
  • OfferPop – This app boasts many different types of contest formats for you to try out and gives you some valuable metrics. You can pay per campaign or by the month.
  • SnapApp – This one works on basically every one of your social platforms, so it’s great to use if you’re targeting something other than Facebook. It’s a bit more expensive, but many professionals use it, so you know you can trust it.
  • Shortstack – Another option for Facebook compatibility and lots of different contest formats. Free plans are available.