Online Contest Strategies for Winning Schools

Student holding an iPhone and backpack

Online Contest Strategies for Winning Schools

Student holding an iPhone and backpack

Photo by Josh Felise

Everyone likes to win; it’s so much better than the alternative. Contests provide us with winning opportunities that don’t require too much effort. They offer all of the hopeful anticipation and feeling of delight without the struggle. Contests are also a valuable promotional tool, especially when launched and marketed via social media. For educational institutions in particular, channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more are an ideal way to reach that potential enrollee, and forge a connection.

However, there are definitely dos and don’ts when it comes to creating online contests. As an avid contest-enterer, I’d like to give you a few hints from the user’s perspective.

The Dos and Don’ts of the Contest

  1. Do: Make Your Contest Fun

Whatever you are going to offer as a prize: a scholarship, a free class, a gift certificate to the student bookstore, etc., make it fun for me to go after. I am so tired of just ‘liking’ a Facebook page or following yet another Twitter account. Also, asking me to include a generic comment will only elicit, “This would be a great prize!” or “I’d love to win!” every time. I won’t remember your institution either because so many other contests I’m entering have the exact same requirements.

Instead, ask me to post a photo on your Instagram page of my ‘winning face’. Then, ask your followers to ‘like’ their favourite ‘winning face’. Or, if you want to get a bit more inventive, create a game for me to play. Metropolis at Metrotown just wrapped up a great one called, Lucky Lunar Scratch and Win. The player gets the virtual experience of scratching a lottery ticket and is required to visit Metropolis’ Facebook and Twitter pages, along with their blog in order to get promo codes to enter. These types of contests are enjoyable, memorable, and encourage the participant to promote the contest on his or her own social media accounts.

  1. Don’t: Make Your Contest Too Complicated

Entering your contest should not require too many actions or steps. I don’t want to have to like your Facebook page, follow you on Instagram and Twitter, tag ten of my friends, pin a picture of your school to my Pinterest board just to get an entry into your contest. It’s a frustrating experience that will leave me with a case of the grumps forever associated with your school’s name.

  1. Do: Care About My Opinion

This goes back to point #1. Generic comments are useless. Use your contest as a way to conduct some market research, and make me feel like my thoughts matter. For example, suppose your school has asked a web design company to submit new logos for your institution. You’ve narrowed your choices down to three. Why not ask me to state, as part of entering your contest, which logo I like best? It’s not complicated. You’re getting useful feedback. Moreover, you’re attracting the attention of potential enrollees.

  1. Don’t: Let Me Leave on a Negative Note

Only one person who enters your contest is going to win. Naturally, that’ll leave some people disappointed. So, when you announce your winner, soften the blow a bit. Perhaps send all of your entrants a discount code for the next semester along with some information about your course offerings. Oh, and definitely thank everyone for entering and invite them to free upcoming information sessions on campus.

Everybody Wins

Launching a fun, creative, and uncomplicated contest on social media will pay off for your school. You’ll engage your target audience in a way that they’ll remember. New individuals will become part of your social media audience and help to amplify any subsequent online marketing efforts you engage in.

At Think Profits.com Inc., we’d like to help you promote and monitor your contest on social media. As an experienced digital marketing agency in Vancouver, we know how to make this a winning strategy for your school. Contact us today!

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