Twitter contests can be a great way to engage with fans and followers of your brand, and hopefully also attract new ones. You won’t know how successful you were, however, unless you take some steps to set things up before you kick things off. (If that’s not you and you’re here hoping for a way to capture data for a contest that has already ended more than a week ago, see the note at the bottom.)
Plan how you’re going to capture your data.
You don’t want to be scrambling to collect data after your contest has ended. You don’t need to set up a TweetReach Pro account with a Tracker if that’s out of your budget. Do keep in mind that free snapshot reports only collect a maximum of 50 tweets from the past few days of when you run it; if you try to run one on a contest a week after it has ended, you aren’t going to get the data you’re after. The $20 full report will bring back up to 1500 tweets and goes back up to a week.
If you know this ahead of time, you can plan to grab snapshots of your contest hashtag at regular intervals so you don’t miss any data. (You might still want to skim the next section for contest planning tips.)
Already have a Pro account or going to get one? Then all of your work can be done ahead of time, and the Tracker for your contest will collect all the data you ask it to (within its limits, of course) until you turn it off and analyze it. We’ve got tips and examples below.
Plan what you’re going to track.
Of course you have an official contest hashtag or two that you’ll be tracking, but make sure you plan for any misspellings or misinterpretations of your hashtag people could use while they participate. You’ll also want to track just the words of your main hashtag, in case someone leaves off the “#” sign accidentally.
For example, a Canadian police department recently ran a Twitter contest called 8 Days of SWAG (Students Working Against Gangs) and used a TweetReach Tracker to track all of the following:
in addition to the phrase ‘swag8days’
This let them capture the maximum number of people participating in the contest, which was incidentally also a way to raise awareness of issues associated with gangs that teens in the area high schools might have to deal with. The contest was open only to teens from those area high schools, helping ensure their target audience was more effectively reached. Prizes leading up to an iPad mini were given away, to incentivize teens to participate.
The top hashtag results indicate that teens were both listening and participating:
When you’re planning your Twitter contest, think about who your target audience is and what kind of prizes they might be most interested in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something fancy and expensive to get people involved, if you’re able to reach those who would be most interested in what you have to offer as a brand of entity in the first place.
Also, try to keep your hashtag as short as possible while still being relevant. A really long hashtag like #StudentsWorkingAgainstGangs leaves a lot less space for participants to tweet in. Depending on the nature of your contest- do they have to answer a question, or just tweet the hashtag to enter?- it could affect participation.
It’s best to keep the contest as simple as possible with Twitter’s concise character limit, and point participants to details at your website (you don’t have to build one specifically for the contest, but you should at least have a place on your site or blog that announces it in order to help people find out about it, promote it, and participate correctly). The Tracker will also show you the top URLs that were linked in tweets containing the hashtags and phrases that you’re tracking:
In this case, it paid off for the police department to have a website dedicated exclusively to the contest, as versions of it were the first two most shared URLs, followed by news stories about the contest and the police department’s attempt to raise awareness around key gang-related issues.
Finally, pay attention to the Top Contributors column in your Tracker– these people either participated the most or gave you the biggest boost in exposure. Keep in touch with them in the future, and if you have the means, consider rewarding them as well. It could be as simple as a handwritten thank you note with a little something else that makes sense: a coupon code for a discount, a piece of functional company swag. Think about what you would like to receive.
One Last Note.
Did you find us after your contest already ran? Our historical analytics can capture everything for you. Pricing is based on the volume of tweets and the time period your contest ran, and starts at $49 for a limited time. Talk to us at the link above to get a quote.
Track and report on your Twitter efforts with TweetReach.
Simple, beautiful Twitter analytics for PR and marketing pros.