Choosing the entry method for your competition can be tricky – it’s the competition equivalent of standing in the supermarket aisle wondering which brand of shampoo you should choose. Sadly, just like with shampoo, you usually just go with the one you know, the one that everyone uses and recommends. I don’t know what brand this is when it comes to shampoos, but in the competition world, it’s usually the good old ‘like us on Facebook to win’.
Let me tell you now: Facebook like competitions are boring, they’re overdone and there are so many other exciting and rewarding entry methods you can explore for your competition – entry methods that will get real results for your business, beyond the vanity metrics of Facebook likes.
So let me show you the world… of entry methods.
Whilst this list is designed to be comprehensive, the author (that’s me) is human and can be forgetful, so if there’s an entry method you’re toying with using and would like to see reviewed below, please comment below or email me and we’ll update our ultimate guide to entry methods.
Like us to enter / like to enter competitions.
This entry method is the safe, I-couldn’t-be-bothered option of competition entry methods. To gain an entry into your competition, your audience need to like your Facebook page or like a specific post. Sure, it might mean you get 100x the likes of your regular posts or grow your page following, but how are you going to turn those likes into sales? Likes don’t pay bills y’all.
Pros: Quick and easy for people to enter, if they like your page to enter, your posts will then be visible to them after the competition for future marketing opportunities – in theory. Great way to get your numbers up if you’re starting out. A popular and familiar entry method your entrants will recognise but not necessarily be inspired by or motivated to enter.
Cons: There’s not a huge amount of value in like to win competitions beyond ‘vanity metrics’, if you don’t use that new audience to market to. Though liking your page means they should then see your future posts, in reality, the big bad algorithm will decide who sees what, how often and when; so even though they like your page, they may never see your posts again. People can also choose to like but ‘unfollow’ on Facebook which means they like your page for the entry, but choose not to see your future messages in their feed by unfollowing you and you’ll be none the wiser. Let’s face it, like to win competitions are boring as batshit.
The biggest downside of running a like to win competition where entrants must like your page to enter, is collecting all of those entries together at the end of the competition to pick a winner. At the time of writing, if you head into your page settings and click ‘People and other Pages’ you can see a list of people that like your page and the date they liked it – but there’s no export option, so it’s a manual copy and paste into a spreadsheet to pick your winner. Lot of work for a few extra page likes, don’t you think?
If you’re running a ‘like to win’ competition on Facebook make sure you make it extremely clear what constitutes an entry. Is it a like on your page or a like on a post? If it’s a like on a post, explain clearly what reaction they need to select to enter – are you going to allow all reactions to enter or just likes? If someone really wants to win and enthusiastically clicks the LOVE button in the hope it pulls more weight with you, are you going to disallow that entry? What about if someone gives the angry or sad reaction? Definitely something to be mindful of when using post likes as your method of entry.
Follow us to enter / follow us to win.
Follow to win competitions are mostly used on Instagram (and Twitter if that’s your thing) and, like Facebook page like competitions, can be a pain in the arse to pick a winner for. They are, however, a great way to build a following on Instagram if you’re just starting out and you’re strategic about how you run your competition.
Pros: If people follow you, they have a higher chance of seeing your future updates, which may lead to click-throughs to your website and even enquiries or sales. Again though, we’re slaves to the algorithm on Instagram, so just because someone follows you, it doesn’t mean they’ll see your future content. It’s a great way to build an audience and works well when paired with a comment on our post to enter competition.
Cons: It’s difficult to track who followed you during the competition period on most platforms, as the time/date of follow isn’t recorded in your follower list so you don’t truly know who just followed you organically or who followed you specifically to enter your competition. Again, with follow competitions, beyond them having a higher chance of seeing your updates, it’s pretty much just vanity metrics.
PRO TIP: instead of making the entry method of your competition specifically following to win, try making it commenting and see how many followers you naturally gain as people choose to follow you rather than being forced to follow you for an entry. The ones who choose to follow you usually stick around after the competition and are a lot more engaged too – bonus!
Comment to enter / comment to win.
Of all the competition and giveaway entry methods on social media, comment to win is probably my favourite. Here’s why…
Pros: Running a comment to win competition not only allows you to run a game of skill as opposed to chance, saving time and money applying for licences but also gives you the chance to collect user-generated content, ideas and feedback from your real-life ideal demographic. Not only that, but comment competitions are far more engaging than simply asking people to like your post/page. Facebook thinks so too and rewards content that sees quality comments and engagement in the algorithm stakes. People are also more likely to come back and visit your page to see if anyone has replied to their comment and even give you a follow to keep track of the competition.
Cons: You do need to keep a close eye on comments to make sure they’re valid and appropriate and it can be time-consuming to monitor and reply to every comment. Bear in mind that games of skill or comment to win competitions can see lower entry numbers (but higher quality entrants) as this entry method requires more ‘effort’ to enter. Don’t be lazy and ask people to comment ‘done’ or ‘me’ or ‘win’ – it’s boring, unimaginative, unengaging for your users and worst of all, Facebook will punish spammy posts like this, so you could actually end up harming your chances of your posts being seen after the competition.
PRO TIP: keep comment to enter competition entries to one single post if you want to use a tool to select a winner.
Tell us in X words or less.
Love them or hate them, tell us in X words or less (usually 25 words or less) competitions are a really useful little tool for your competition toolkit.
Pros: Tell us in X words competitions are qualitative, or games of skill so it means you don’t need to apply for licences (woohoo!) but being a game of skill, it also means you get to pick your winner instead of leaving it to chance. People can get really creative and submit poems, acrostics, limericks and even songs all in a bid to stand out and be crowned winner. These types of competition entry methods are great for collecting user generated content or finding out what your audience really thinks of your products/services. Finally, in keeping your entries to 25 words (for example) or less, it makes it quicker for you to sort through your entries instead of reading essay-length submissions.
Cons: As it’s a game of skill and effort is involved, tell us in X words or less competitions generally have a lower entry rate than games of chance, but generate more quality entries. As mentioned above, it’s pretty time consuming to sift through your entries to shortlist your potential winners, but you do get to chose a winner who is truly deserving of the prize and – hopefully – sidestep any prize pigs too. It’s advisable to have a pre-decided set of criteria for judging entries; for example, most creative entry wins, the slogan the judges believe best sum up our company values wins etc.
Submit your email address to enter / win.
One of the most popular ways to grow your customer base is to run an ‘enter your email to win’ style competition. Usually hosted on a dedicated landing page or on a competition landing page on your website, submit your email competitions are one of our favourite entry methods of all.
Pros: The biggest advantage of collecting email addresses is that they’re really valuable for future marketing efforts. With a couple of strategic automations and well-timed emails, you can convert your competition entrants into paying customers. With the growth of enter your email to win competitions, they’re an entry method that’s easily recognised and trusted by your target audience and incredibly easy to export your list and pick a winner. The reason we love submit your email address to enter competitions over social media competitions is that you then own the email address and the right to contact them as opposed to borrowing the right to talk to them on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Cons: If you’re anything like me, your email inbox is sacred and you don’t go handing your email address out to just anyone, so the prize on offer must be worth handing over their email for. Depending on how you set up your email entry collection, you may need to fiddle around with code or pay for a third party plugin such as Zapier to connect your entry form with your email provider so the emails automatically transfer over.
PRO TIP: on that note, try creating your email form in your email provider. For example Mailchimp has ‘Mailchimp subscribe’ which helps you create a simple landing page via which you can collect names and emails for your competition. If you choose to embed your form on your website landing page or you’re using a third party competition app, be aware you may need paste in a chunk of code, so ensure you have access to the back end of your website and know what you’re doing with basic html code.
Where’s the rest of the competition entry methods?
Right here. We created a handy download that includes more than 20 entry methods from like us to win right up to guess the number of jelly beans in the jar (no seriously)… and you can download it for free by popping in your name and email and your download will begin instantly.
Grab a copy of our ultimate guide to entry methods and get creative. There is life beyond like to win competitions and when you see your audience converting to customers, it’s worth every second you spend taking the time to carefully decide which entry method is right for you, your business and your competition.
If you need a hand working out which entry method to choose, why not book in a chat with the experts?