Running a Twitter Contest

January 11, 2010 by Melanie  
Filed under Twittering


If you want to attract online attention to a particular product, service or cause, consider running a Twitter contest as Twitter is an ideal social media platform for this marketing strategy.

How to Run a Twitter Contest to Promote a Product

Let’s say you want to promote a new product – we’ll call it “Miracle Copywriting” – that sells for $89. You tweet about this new product, including the link to your site where the product is sold.

You’d like other people to tweet this link also. What will motivate them to do so?

You launch a contest that everyone who tweets the link will be entered in a random drawing to get a free copy of “Miracle Copywriting.” (You can track who tweeted by using to let you know whenever the link appears on Twitter.)

You send out the information on the contest through your email optin list, you post the announcement on your website, and you create an announcement through to tell people on Twitter about the contest.

Now if you write a good headline for the twitwall announcement, you can get extra exposure for your product. Perhaps the headline will be: You Only Need to Tweet Once for a Chance to Own “Miracle Copywriting”

How to Run a Twitter Contest to Increase Your Email Opt-in List

Let’s take another imaginary scenario: You run announcements on Twitter about a contest for the top five essays by Internet marketing college students. To enter, contestants have to go to your website, where they will find an opt-in offer for a free report on top tips for Internet marketing.

Then, of course, you would post the winning essays on your website and tweet about these essays. More people would be motivated to come to your site to read these winning essays – and again be exposed to your opt-in offer.

How to Run a Twitter Contest for a Non-Profit Cause

Now let’s say you want to use Twitter for fundraising. You can attach a contest component to the fundraising efforts. For example, you can solicit gifts for the top five largest donors. And to encourage people to give more, you can tweet about these gifts.

And the way to extend the reach of this type of contest is to solicit partners on Twitter – and preferably partners who have their own blogs. Then each of you blog about the contest, tweet about the contest, upload videos to YouTube, and whatever other online methods you want to use to get out the word about the contest for who donates the most money to the cause.

Warning: While the variations on running a Twitter contest are many, an effective Twitter contest does take work. It requires:

- Planning – how long does the contest run for; when is the best start date
- Coordination – are your Twitter partners on board
- Consistency – a few tweets are not enough; you must continually find new ways of announcing the contest so Twitter doesn’t slam you for tweeting the same thing over and over again
- Transparency – everything you do in connection to the contest must be public with no hidden affiliate relationships

And, remember, the saying “you get what you put into it” is particularly true for running a Twitter contest.

About the Author

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant. If you liked this article, you’ll love her FREE report on “How to Become a Twitter Marketing Expert” – download the report now from

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