​Social media is meant to be a conversation. It’s not only between you and your guests; it’s also between your guests and all their friends. A social media contest is a great way to raise awareness of your property and start a conversation with current, past or future guests.

If your property has a modest following, there’s no better way than to share a social media contest to gain more followers. A great reason to have a social media contest is for anniversaries (of your presence on the social media platform or of the property) or new experiences.

Today we’re going to talk about new experiences. More and more guests are looking for a full "experience" when they choose a hotel, not just a place to sleep. When there's a new service to improve a guest's experience,  ​you can promote this new service, and start building up your reviews, with a social media contest. ​

Here’s the step by step guide to creating the contest.

#1 Choose Your Prize

First, decide what you’re giving away and how many prizes there will be. This may not be as simple as you think. You need to determine the prizes before launching, so you can choose the proper contest supporter.

People love underdogs, so settle on a prize that is for more than one person. This could be as complex as giving away 10 full experiences (which include a night stay) or as simple as giving away the new service in a raffle (a massage, birthday celebration, new dinner item, etc.).

One you know the prize, it’s time to pick the contest.

If you’re a small property or an unknown property, you could trade likes and follows for entries. This could be as simple as saying anyone who likes our page within this time period is entered to win. But while you’re looking to improve followers, why not improve your engagement as well?

Ask for comments on your page or on the contest post for extra entries. ​Have a specific question for people to answer-such as "What is the #1 thing you look for in a great hotel?"

​You can learn more about the people interested in your property and increase your page's visibility with more comments.​​​

No matter the platform you use to promote your contest, make sure it complies with their rules. For example, Facebook forbids contests that require people to share on other timelines for extra entries. You can learn more about Facebook's promotion rules here.

#2 Choose Your Tool

There are several social media contest tools for you to choose from. The best tool for you depends on your desired outcome-more Facebook followers, more emails, more Twitter followers, etc.-and your price point.

Also consider how long you want to spend setting up your contest.

For SPEED: Use Rafflecopter. You can have your contest set up in under 3 minutes.

​For MULTIPLE ENTRY OPTIONS: Use Gleam. You can use email, blogs, social media and several other options to gather entries. 

​Want more information on social media contest tools? Check out this breakdown of the top tools for 2018.

​#3 Set-Up Your Contest

Now that you have your contest and your tool, set it up. Most of the tools will have step-by-step instructions on how to integrate the contest on your site and your top social media channels.

Choose how long you want to run the contest. Too short and you won't gain enough interest. Too long and you might bother your new and existing followers instead of keeping them. A week is a great starting point, especially for your first contest.

#4 Launch!

​Push "Start" on your contest. Remember to continue to promote it on your social channels, your website, your blog and in your newsletter. Keep a healthy mix of other content on these channels during the contest to avoid spamming your followers.

#5 Award the Prize

Once the contest is over it's time for you to give out the prizes! Also, let people know who won on all of your channels. It shows the contest had a winner and makes your company more real. Send a thank you out to the other participants as well.

#6 Check Your Metrics

​How did the contest perform? Where are all of your new followers? When did they sign up? What content resulted in more engagement?

Ask these questions and look at the data from your social media contest tool to get to know your new leads better. Determine what did and didn't work so you can create an even better contest in the future.

#7 Keep Up the Momentum

Now that you have all of these new followers and raised awareness of your brand, it's not time to stop!

If you gathered email addresses, keep in touch with valuable and interesting content they want to open in their inbox-not just discount codes.

​For your new social media followers-keep them engaged. Continue to post interesting content to your social channels that showcase your property, your services and the unique experience you offer. Don't just talk about your property, though.

Interact with guests on social media, promote other local businesses and highlight the destination as well. Ask for feedback and show off your great hospitality skills.​

​​​Has your hotel used a social media contest? Share your experiences in the comments.

A great way to keep engaged with your new followers is to share exciting content with them from your blog. Get started with these top 5 hotel blog posts.

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