Twitter is a great platform for brands to use when trying to make an impact on social media. After all, there are over 302 million active monthly users on Twitter sending 500 million tweets per day on the service as of March 2015. It’s worth remembering that 80% of users access Twitter via their mobile devices, so for brands looking to engage with the mobile audience, it’s one of the best platforms. Many brands use Twitter for running promotions, some more effectively than others. First off it’s good to know that Twitter has official guidelines for promotions and that some contests do run afoul of these guidelines.
For example, Twitter highly discourages “whoever RTs this the most wins” contests that have users retweeting (RT stands for Re Tweet) the same content over and over again. Having users retweet something once for contest entry is fine, but if single users repeatedly post the same thing over and over again, you risk having their tweets excluded from Twitter searches.
Twitter also encourages brands doing twitter promotions to tell their followers to mention them (use the brand’s handle) in contest tweets to make sure that brands see all the entries to the contest. Using software like Hootsuite or TweetDeck can also help keep track of entries.
Don’t use Twitter as simply a broadcast medium. Connect and engage with your followers at least a few times a week. Retweet them and respond to them and they will become loyalists.
Another easy way to keep track of entries is to use a unique hashtag. Using a common hashtag like #contest is good but there are hundreds, if not thousands of other brands using the same hashtag. By creating and using a unique hashtag, you can easily search (and find) entries into the contest. A word of advice: don’t make the hashtag too long or too hard to remember or users won’t bother entering.
Make sure your rules and regulations prohibit the creation of extra accounts for the purposes of ‘gaming’ the contest. Some contest forms allow a Twitter verification to ensure the entrant is following a specific handle before they can enter, but as of right now, there’s no way to double check how many Twitter handles belong to a single email address.
Twitter works best when there is someone on the other end of the handle helping to answer questions, or just promoting the contest. After all, the platform is about engagement, not just another way to passively advertise.