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We’re big fans of makeup tutorials; maybe you are, too! These days, any beauty vlogger can become a certified online sensation, simply by discovering something she’s really good at and sharing it with the world. Okay, maybe with the help of a cute little gimmick, but you get the idea.

If vlogging is not your thing but you want to drive massive traffic back to your website, get more followers on social media, and sure, go viral while you’re at it, try running an online contest! Contests are a fantastic way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, and are easier to execute than you might think. If they’re not yet part of your marketing tool kit, you’re missing out on an inexpensive but highly effective way to generate leads and attract new customers to your brand.

5 types of contests to get your brand out there


“What’s in it for me?”

Contests answer this age-old question, by offering some form of gratification through prizes, points, giveaways, and other enticements. Plus, if you promote your exciting offer on social media, or even run it exclusively on any of the popular platforms, you allow your followers to do your marketing for you.

Video promotions, giveaways, quizzes, photo challenges, and comment tags are just some of the more popular and easy-to-create contests that you can launch quickly. See if you can find one or two that fit your needs!

Videos


Speaking of makeup tutorials, L’Oréal Paris Australia took these viral videos up a notch, when it launched their national search for a makeup director via a contest. The prize? You mean, besides any makeup artist’s dream job? A year-long contract with one of the world’s biggest cosmetic companies plus other prizes, for a total value of $80,000. Posh!



This one campaign gained more than 147,000 views on YouTube, a ton of engagement on social media, and press coverage, too. Talk about makeup videos going viral.

As a small business owner, you too can run your own video challenge, but inject a bit of your creative personality into it! If you’re a baking school, ask mums to upload baby’s first cake smash. Maybe you can get your followers into cosplay and go baking like they’re Martha Stewart on crack. To join your contest, participants only need to share the post and ask their own followers and friends to like, comment, and share. The result: a chain reaction promising wider reach and engagement with potential customers.

Giveaways


In a throwback-themed partnership with LA Gear, fast fashion retailer Forever 21 put a few products up for grabs and nearly blew up Instagram! All the participants had to do was mention their favourite films from the ‘80s or ‘90s, follow the two brands, and tag two friends with a hashtag. The promotion drew almost 300,000 views in just three days!

This one campaign gained more than 147,000 views on YouTube, a ton of engagement on social media, and press coverage, too. Talk about makeup videos going viral.

As a small business owner, you too can run your own video challenge, but inject a bit of your creative personality into it! If you’re a baking school, ask mums to upload baby’s first cake smash. Maybe you can get your followers into cosplay and go baking like they’re Martha Stewart on crack. To join your contest, participants only need to share the post and ask their own followers and friends to like, comment, and share. The result: a chain reaction promising wider reach and engagement with potential customers.



If you’re teaching an amazing new class, why not launch a similar giveaway promotion and raffle off a couple of seats? Because everything is better with a friend, that’s why, and also, giving away two seats instead of just one is a smart referral strategy that can effectively double your mailing list in a single campaign.

Notice that some of your products are doing better than others? Try combining your fast-sellers and slow-movers into a single basket of goodies. Or if you can, do like Forever 21 and partner with other brands (the more popular the better) to come up with a killer combo that your followers will love!

After drawing the winners, simply post the name of the winner on your website and on social media, to inspire others to engage with your brand and participate in upcoming events. It’s the contest that keeps on giving.

Quizzes


Know anyone who’s never taken an online quiz, to find out once and for all to which Hogwarts House they really belong? Buzzfeed even has an Insta account dedicated only to quizzes! (How are we supposed to get any work done now?)

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I'm definitely a Luna 🌙

A post shared by BuzzFeed Quizzes (@buzzfeedquiz) on



A good quiz sucks you in and simply compels you to share the results with your friends. (You think Gryffindor but really, Slytherin.) At the end of the promotion, you just pick a winner among thousands of participants who have now been introduced to your brand in a highly engaging way.

Creating your own quiz? Make sure your questions are short, easy to answer, maybe even a little witty. A fun brand deserves a fun quiz, after all. Besides, participants will neither finish nor share a questionnaire, if they find it boring or difficult. Even better, use photos!

Photos


If you’ve got a big workshop or event coming up soon, a photo challenge can help get more bums in those seats. It certainly worked well for Domino’s Pizza, when they offered $10,000 in return for a follow, photo, and hashtag. While not everyone can give away a boatload of cash just like that, maybe you can put together a package of your own products - a good way to clear inventory, too!



A tip about running your own photo contest: Make sure to keep the contest rules simple to follow. Upload-tag-share - that’s it! This will encourage participants to submit as many photos as they want, use your hashtag, and spread the word about your business. Tempt them with the right prizes and then just sit back and watch your contest generate large engagement and widen your customer reach.

Comment Tags


Photos (and also infographics) usually go hand in hand with comment tags. Try putting up a three-picture post that includes your contest name, mechanics, and prizes and then, ask commenters to tag friends and use specific hashtags to qualify for an entry to the contest.

For example, when Hydro Flask reached 200K followers on Instagram, they celebrated with a contest that earned them even more followers! Simply by following @hydroflask and tagging two friends in the comments section, fans got a chance to win a 32 oz flask. For a prize valued at about $55, the post earned more than 12,500 likes and reached a wider network for the brand.


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