Molly Buccini

Industry: Finance
Content: Social media contests
Highlights:  716% follower increase within six months

People are picky about the brands they follow on social media. Most audiences want to be entertained or educated – and even after users click the “Like” or “follow” button, they always have the ability to opt out. (Research shows that one in four will.) So why the effort to build a fanbase? What’s the lead value of a Like?

For 78% of Americans, corporate social posts influence their buying decisions with organizations ranging from retail to financial consulting.

Following a debt management company probably doesn’t sound entertaining to the average Facebooker, but one client proved any brand can have success on social media with a strategy that’s focused around giving people information they want to see.


  • The company needed to build brand awareness and increase trust with prospects
  • Social media marketing efforts yielded no engagement


  • Host a Sweepstakes series with gift card giveaways to attract new followers and activate current followers.
  • BUILD on Sweepstakes activity spike for continued engagement with revised Facebook posts:
    • Educational money-saving resources and tip-driven articles
    • Share a mix of links that drive referral traffic, as well as links to (non-competing) resources


  • 50% increase in engagement, shares, impressions, and comments.
  • 716% increase in Page followers directly from sweepstakes

The tale of 3 social contests: Why two worked but one flopped

To gain new followers, we created a sweepstakes strategy where our client gave away gift cards to fans, while encouraging them to share the contest with friends. Social contests are a format we recommend because research shows they have the highest form conversion rate of any format, at 35 percent.

Not sure exactly what a social contest can entail? Here’s a quick explanation:

How the first sweepstakes missed the mark:

  • The first contest was a photo submission contest, where we asked users to submit a photo and brief explanation of it, alongside their information (name and email address).
  • This contest received responses from just 13 percent of the existing fan base, and didn’t move the needle for new followers.

We learned:

  • Your fans don’t want to put in too much effort unless there’s a big reward. Asking users to submit photos with a description was “too big” of an ask for the prize we were giving.
  • Make form fills ridiculously easy. The less information we require users to give, the more likely they are to fill out the form.

How we adapted contests for desired results:

  • For our second and third contests, we asked users to Like the Page then simply submit information through a short form fill.

This made it easier for users to enter, and it effectively got more of them to share it with friends. This chart shows how much sharing increased when contests were re-introduced at the beginning of April, and again in July:

contest sharing


Looking to launch a contest this season? Watch video: 3 back-to-school contests on social media we loved

After content victories, engagement remains high

The sweepstakes boosted Page Likes as planned, and even after the contests ended, this client has enjoyed much stronger average page engagement among their followers than before.

“Sometimes our clients worry that people will Like a Page and then immediately unlike it after a contest,” Social strategist Bob McHugh said. “But targeting the right audience and posting engaging content will prevent that from happening. It is important to build any contest you promote upon the foundation of a strong social strategy, otherwise the followers you get will not last for long.”

Check out these additional resources about social contests: