Holiday Giveaways: Social Media Contests 101

Social media is a pretty amazing invention thanks to the Internet. It allows people to connect from across the globe, let friends know where you are, and gives businesses an even playing field when it comes to marketing. Social media has changed the world in many ways. This is especially true for businesses like restaurants. Holiday giveaways are an excellent way to use social media to garner more attention for your restaurant.

Benefits of Contests

You may be wondering what type of benefits do I get for putting my time and effort into a contest. The truth is that there are more benefits to be had from a contest than appears at first glance. Yes, you are working to find a reward for loyal patrons that will help them to keep you in mind, but this also has the benefits of attracting more patrons to your restaurant. The way that this happens will depend on the type of contest that you’re running. You may have incentivized your social media followers to share your restaurant with their social media network so that their friends and family will be introduced to your business.  If you tie your contest to orders, this may incentivize people that might not have thought about ordering from your restaurant to try it out.

Perfect for the Holidays

Running contests around the holidays is perfect for garnering all of these benefits. Winning a contest for many individuals is like putting money back into their pockets, and everyone is feeling the pinch when it comes to budgets. It doesn’t matter if your rewards will be a free meal, a gift card to your restaurant, or some product. This reward equates to them not having to open their pocketbook to purchase this item. That’s a pretty nice incentive at the holidays to get people participating.

Determine an Award

There are a number of awards that you can set up for the contest from big to small. You can give out a bunch of smaller prizes or a large grand prize. For instance, you can give out a weekly free meal for a year as your grand prize with some smaller prizes, like a free meal or a t-shirt promoting your business. You’re only limited by your creativity.  You can even give out an award for playing or interacting, like a free dessert or a coupon for a discount. The award you determine should be something that you can afford to give while being interesting enough that people want to enter the contest. If you’re not sure what will be the best prize, run a quick poll on your social media platforms asking your audience which rewards they will like the most.

Types of Contests

There are a number of contest types that you can run for the holidays that gets the attention of busy loyal patrons and new patrons alike. You can create a photo contest where your patrons need to post a picture of their order from your restaurant on social media to be entered to win the contest. You can use an online ordering platform that is integrated with social media to allow them to earn entries into your contest. Another fun contest idea would be to have people submit ideas for a new addition to your menu and allow people to vote for the most interesting options. You can create a contest where they get entered into it by liking or sharing your page or posts with their social media network. An essay contest may be a fun idea where you invite your loyal patrons to share their favorite story of visiting your restaurant.

Keeping Track of Your Contest

There are some contest software programs that can be used, like Rafflecopter, which will allow you to give your patrons several ways to earn entries into your contest, such as getting referrals for others to like your page or sign up for text messages about upcoming specials. This can take a lot of the work out of creating a contest and can make it very fair when it comes time to pull winners. There’s nothing wrong with printing out entries and putting them into a hat to pull if you choose to go that way instead. This can even make an excellent social media post video that can draw more attention to your social media efforts.

This guide to social media contests is meant to give you the tools that you need to set up your own contest. The benefits for running contests at the holidays or throughout the year is twofold: your loyal patrons get to interact with your brand in a way that can be rewarding and it introduces others to your restaurant. There are so many different types of contests that you can run using your social media accounts this holiday season. Pick your favorite and get attention.

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