What Works Better: Content or Contests?

Within the social media marketing landscape, content may be king but contests are the sexy queen.

While a steady flow of solid content can be a beneficial way to engage with consumers, contests are the “digital honey” that catches their attention, pulls them into the “hive” and, as important, keeps them coming back.

Let’s face it: people like to win prizes or receive free stuff. And contests are great way to feed these desires. The power of social media is it provides people with an easy and efficient way to share the news about their prizes, which creates a ripple effect for companies looking to maximum their contest activities.

So what’s more important: content or contests?

The reality is creating content involves a lot of work and effort that has to happen on a regular basis. To feed the beast, fresh content has to be continually generated. And there is no guarantee the content being created will resonate or be shared by people – even if they enjoy consuming it.

On the other hands, contests are appealing because they tap into the appetite among consumers to win things. Contests have been a long-time staple used by companies to attract attention and build their brands. So it’s no surprise contests have been enthusiastically embraced by companies looking to boost their social media marketing efforts.

From the outside looking in, it is difficult not to get the impression contests are better than content because they’re easier to offer and less expensive. Why not just offer a steady stream of contests to attract and retain users as opposed to investing in the effort to create content?

It may be a tempting to love the Contest Queen more than Content King but a more realistic and better approach is a happy marriage between the two.

Content offers a company’s social media efforts a solid foundation than can provide a competitive and long-term edge. Meanwhile, contests can be layered nicely on content to give social media programs some sizzle and pizzazz from time to time.

An important thing to remember with contests if they have to be easy for people to participate in, it has to be simple to share the contest with other people, and, if possible, there should be incentives for people to spread to word (e.g. an additional entry for each person who is notified about the contest or enters it.)

Another consideration is the prizes don’t have to cost a lot of money. In most cases, it’s not the size of the prizes that matters but the chances of winning and the ease of entering. In an ideal world, there is a happy middle ground between a prize that is too modest to be appealing, and one that is too expensive to offer.

Within a successful and effective social media marketing program, content and contests are be an effective one-two punch that can complement each other.


2 Comments on “What Works Better: Content or Contests?”

  1. Great article! I think it’s also important to mention that there are certain rules and guidelines you must follow when running a contest on social sites like Facebook, for example.

    It’s incredibly important to abide by Facebook’s rules and guidelines because if you don’t and you get caught, you run the risk of having your account entirely disabled, thus losing everything you worked to develop.

    See this link for the rules: https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php#contest

  2. Pingback: Social Media Weekly Roundup | Spark Boutik

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