How to Run a Twitter Contest in 5 Easy Steps (With Examples)

how to run a twitter contest

A Twitter contest is a great piece of content to share with us when you want to promote your content with our services. These easy to spread messages see huge success when the right crowd influencers get hold of them.

Here are the five steps you must follow to run a Twitter contest that succeeds, finds you new followers, and increases your brand awareness.


How to run a Twitter Contest in 5 easy steps!


Don’t get in trouble: Follow Twitter’s rules

If you want to run a Twitter contest, you had better know what on Earth you’re doing first. Twitter lay out their rules and guidelines for those who want to run a Twitter contest. A few examples that go against their rules include:

  • Encouraging those participating to tweet the same message or link multiple times – that’s spam.
  • Running the contests as a “Retweet this the most to WIN!” entry format.

Be sure to create a page on your website with the contest rules. Twitter isn’t a big lawless place where you can get away with whatever you want. Here’s a tweet that failed at following the rules, AND failed at reaching it’s goal:

Create an interesting message

Creativity is the biggest commodity in social media right now. You don’t need to limit your message any more than the rules stipulate, and your brand requires in order to stay ‘on message.’

To figure out how to run a Twitter contest with the best message, look at:

  1. Why you want to run the contest: To reward loyal followers, increase brand reach, drive people to your website, etc.
  2. Why do you want to do it now? Is there a special event you’re trying to coincide with? A sale?
  3. How will this Twitter contest match your brand voice and message?

The most well run Twitter contests which use our Twitter promotion service look at each of these points before they come to us. Take the time to consider your wording, the hashtags, and the call to action that will best spread the message you want to get out. Choosing the right moment, during a product launch for example, will help push you even further.

Here is one of the weirdest contests I’ve ever seen…from a police department:

Figure out the logistics of how you will run your Twitter contest

This is the basics of the nuts and bolts:

  • What will your Twitter followers have to do to enter?
  • How many times can they enter?
  • Will you use other social platforms to tie in and allow entry?
  • What will you use to keep track of entrants?
  • When will the contest end and begin?

If you do not have these ideas taken care of, you don’t have a Twitter contest to run!

Using a hashtag is a popular way, but be sure to monitor it regularly as the hashtag could be buried under other conversations that are not related to your contest, especially if you haven’t chosen a unique one.

Look here as we know when The Webby Awards ends, creating tension for those to enter NOW:

A great Twitter contest promotes engagement

You don’t want people to do a drive by entry. You want them to enter, feel like they’re welcome, and feel like they want to come back and pay attention to you. Interacting is a key aspect of any great contest, and you have to make sure you have the time to interact.

Keep in mind that this interaction doesn’t have to be a long thank you letter that you expertly craft and turn into a PDF to embed in the tweet. It can just be a Favorite or a retweet!

Keep the momentum going after the initial burst

Most people who run a Twitter contest get the launch right, but fail to keep it going past the initial excitement. Don’t let this surprise you, have a plan in place before the contest even starts.

Ways that you can keep it going include:

  • Having tweets talking about it scheduled in advance
  • Gathering the names of entrants and sending them a thank you tweet
  • Cross-promoting on other platforms and sending those new fans to Twitter
  • Use your email subscription list to make people aware
  • Put it on your website front and center, with a clear call to action to join you on Twitter

Run a Twitter contest effectively by being prepared in advance! Many people believe that viral success just happens. This isn’t true, there is usually the exact kind of planning you find above going on behind the scenes.

Unless it’s a cat meme. No one knows why they’re popular.

by Ernest Thompson

Ernest is an online marketing user and abuser with a keen eye for the latest viral trends. His years of experience in the online marketing industry are presented here on Viral Tactics for you to learn from, and to offer you a chance to add your opinions.