(Originally posted at Forbes.)
Marketing teams thrive on engaging with customers.
Sometimes a little bit of fun competition can offer a great incentive for customers to engage with your brand.
Consumers are individuals, and finding ways to connect with them on a fundamental level may be challenging. Assets like data and analytics can inform a company where it should focus, but the actual act of driving customer engagement falls to the marketing team.
Competitive, fun ways of engaging consumers can drive a marketing team’s efforts toward success. Below, 10 experts from Forbes Communications Council discuss several ways that marketing teams can increase customer engagement by organizing and promoting competitive events.
1. Engage Members Of The Media
Increase word-of-mouth about your competition/campaign by engaging local, national or trade press. Pitch them early to secure buy-in and work their involvement into your messaging and social media strategy. Consider pitting one local news station against another, especially if the competition aims to benefit a local charity or nonprofit. – Monica McCafferty, MCM Strategies LLC
2. Connect With Industry Influencers
If your company is hosting a competition, this is a key moment to connect with influencers. Make them feel important by giving them the exclusive news about the competition and asking for their input. Remember, their industry clout depends on what they can bring to their audience and people love the opportunity to win! Done right, the influencer will be happy to share the news with their followers. – Vivien Garnès, Upfluence Inc.
3. Compete For A Good Cause
Last year we held a food drive for a local charity to get more community involvement and raise awareness for the food pantry. We made it a competition between departments sharing results as they went on social media. People will give more when it is for a good cause, and we were able to get a lot of social media engagement, pushing our digital presence even further. – Sarah Lero, Peerless Products Inc
4. Encourage Consumers To Share On Social
Social media is a great platform to promote a fun competition among consumers! By encouraging consumers to post comments or images using a specific hashtag, a brand can track the content and get user-generated content that further builds buzz and can drive even more engagement. A brand can also leverage an influencer to promote and participate in the competition, too, creating even more momentum. – Sherry Jhawar, Blended Strategy Group
5. Run Video Contests
Many of your customers are eager for an opportunity to get in front of their cameras. To capture your audience’s attention (and inner Tarantino), run a 15- or 20-second Instagram video contest under your brand’s contest hashtag. Judge the videos according to creativity, humor, inspirational content or a combination of the three. If one goes viral, your exposure will skyrocket at zero added cost. – Amine Rahal, Regal Assets
6. Make Customers The Stars
We often run campaigns that promote customers doing their own thing, but with our products or names. The best examples are rewarded and or re-promoted in much larger venues. For example, we used 12′ customer case study photos with credit in our national exhibition, customer stories in advertorials, and social media posts that tag us and showcase our brands win prizes. Everyone wins! – Mollie Barnett, Satco Products, Incorporated
7. Reward Better Engagement
Take an integrated approach to promotions and reward participants who engage the most. That means your website, app, emails, social and print all work together to bring people in. Then, reward participants who interact or share the most. Make sure each touch point is consistently branded and that the benefits increase as engagement grows! – Jessica Terashima, Consultant
8. Tie The Competition To An Event
Online competitions are a dime a dozen, to the point that many customers are no longer interested in participating. However, everyone feels FOMO — especially when it’s a must-attend event. Tie your competition to an event that’s sufficiently hyped and watch your customers scramble to be a part of it. Not only do your customers get excited, but your company profits from the associated buzz. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
9. Do A Post-A-Thon
During events and conferences, we have run some fun competitions to find people that post/tweet the most or get the highest likes for their posts. This allows them to be creative and try various ways to showcase our content/organization. Doing a countdown to the contest itself creates anticipation and increases engagement. – Preeti Adhikary, Fusemachines Inc.
10. Hold Social Engagement Competitions
One easy way that we create engagement with competitions and our customers is to use our social media and pictures. We ask our customers to post their best pic of a theme we have, like best holiday decorations, best backyard or best costume on Halloween, and we will pick a winner. It’s pretty easy to do this around holiday times. Valentine’s Day is coming, so we may do best Valentine’s story or date idea. – Ellicia Romo, Peoples Mortgage Company