Are brands fooling themselves by organizing Twitter contests?

Contests and social media have ‘almost’ become synonyms these days with the frequency at which brands are organizing contests on social media platforms. Not a single event is missed out! Whenever there is any occasion, some or other form of contest is organized on Twitter. Gone are the days when contests were thought be ‘one of’ the social media tactics to spur engagement on respective social media channels. Do you disagree with me? Just notice the hashtags that trend on Twitter every other day and I bet at least one of them would be of a contest run by a brand.

Being a social media strategist, I too have to run such contests for the brands I look after. However, deep down a question itches me. Are the contest participants really bothered about the brand and the products/services offered by them? Or, they are just participating for the fun quotient of contests and are more oriented towards the prize?

The picture becomes scarier when just a search of keyword ‘contest’ in Twitter bios results into this:

Twitter contests

On the other hand some of the India’s Twitter popular influencers have themselves accepted that they get roped by brands for certain campaigns.

Some of the unanswered questions that bother me are:

a) Are Twitter contests meant for influencers and contest freaks only?

b) Do brands realize that contest participants who are participating in their contests are actually participating in 10 other contests in a day?

c) Even though these brand influencers and contest freaks do help brands gain momentary viral effect, is it sustainable?

d) Would it be wise to trust or feel proud of community that gets built due to the influence of these contest freaks?

e) Have brands made diligent efforts to check such contest freaks?

f) Will brands have guts to stop making these contest freaks and Twitter influencers winners just because they ‘influence’ (where the genuineness of influence itself is doubtful)?

Does this mean brands should not organize contests on Twitter? No! Wait for my blogpost in future where I would discuss how brands should organize Twitter contests!

Till then,  share your experience.

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4 Replies to “Are brands fooling themselves by organizing Twitter contests?”

  1. Great article. I wrote something similar. I personally, call these contest hungry people zombies – no religion man, they got no religion.

  2. Hi Anandan. Wonderful article. Very interesting indeed.
    Twitter contests mostly end up in the sunk cost category, but then it depends upon the circumstaances
    I have participated in over 300 twitter contests in the past. Here is my attempt to answer your questions.
    a. Influencers are meant to rope in more people and create buzz about the brand through this contest. It works because there are lot of people with more than 1000 followers and when they participate, it becomes a chain reaction. But, I have noted that certain tweeps with high follower count play contests by specific brands only. So, the buzz is generated but has a life of not more 24 hours.
    Looking at the prizes which are being given away, a lot of people on twitter have become regular contest players. The hashtag and buzz is generated about the brand but then, it is always these same people playing those contests.

    b. since majority of the brands have outsourced this part to agencies, they might not be aware of this fact, unless they are told. Since the objective to trend is achieved, millions of impressions are generated, I guess the brands won’t really bother unless they are giving out huge prizes.

    c. If a certain offer is to be promoted then twitter contests are fine, the effect of the promotion is not more than 24 hours because there will a be new contest by some other brand the following day

    d. if a brand gains followers from non-contest freaks, people who are on twitter for other reasons, then it would make sense to run a contest, such people can be actually turned into brand loyalists unlike contest freaks who interact with brand only for contests and offers.

    e. There was a time when I used to play 5-10 contests daily on twitter since I had the luxury of time, after a lot of victories, lot of brands stopped rewarding me. So, maybe they are keeping a tab but it depends upon the admin/manager.

    f. there are agencies that run contests for their clients wherein small value prizes are given to contest freaks and influencers, the bigger value prizes are either given to popular tweeps or some brand loyalist. But then, this is not the entire truth, there are a few devils in every field.

    1. Hey Hitesh,

      I am extremely for a late reaction. Somehow missed you comment on this blogpost. I am really happy and appreciate the efforts you put to answer each of the question raise by me.

      I totally agree with your thoughts. Yes, I feel brands and agencies that run Twitter contests need to be more vigilant and start penalizing contest freaks.

      It would be better to play a fair game.

      Thanks for your inputs.

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