How to Self-Promote Using Social Media Contests

As part of their ongoing initiative to teach companies how to self-promote, internet marketing agency, fishbat, shares the number one reason why restaurants should run social media contests to increase engagement.

Restaurants and social media marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or white wine and fish, if your tastes run more highbrow. According to the new rules of dining out, pulling out your smartphone to snap a photo of your meal is no longer impolite, and for a sizeable population of social media users, it’s an absolute must.

If your restaurant is not currently hosting regular contests across its social media channels to increase engagement, here is the number one reason why you should be: It works. Keep reading for tips on how your restaurant can execute an engaging social media contest.

Feed Your Followers

Successful social media marketing is all about creating engaging content for your followers to consume, and promoting organically is important, since it feels genuine to viewers and establishes your brand’s credibility. Hitting that sweet spot between relevant and real not only increases awareness of your restaurant, but it drives engagement with your brand across social media platforms as well. Running regular social media contests does just that: It’s food for your followers that can also function as organic advertising.

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Do it Daily

Running a recurring social media contest does not have to be complicated. Some of the most successful social media contests in the restaurant industry were surprisingly easy to execute. Flash contests on Facebook where the winner is the first follower to respond takes the guesswork out of sorting through entries. Consider running a daily contest that asks your followers to share their favorite entrée or dessert off your menu. Utilize regularly trending hashtags such as #MondayMotivation or #ThrowbackThursday to fill out your weekly schedule and give your followers more general food-centric prompts like “What’s your favorite healthy treat?” or “Share your favorite after-school snack as a child.”

Create a Custom Hashtag

While we’re on the subject of hashtags, remember that promoting your brand is a vital component of a successful social media strategy. Create a catchy, custom hashtag that captures the spirit of your restaurant’s brand to accompany your social media contests. If you decide to run contests across Twitter, having your followers utilize a custom hashtag in their posts will make it easier to find entries. Plus, you never know when a post will go viral, and you want your restaurant’s brand messaging to make as many unique impressions as possible.

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Picture Perfect Plates

Instagram contests that encourage users to share photos of their meals are an excellent way to extend your restaurant’s social media reach far beyond your existing followers. They also serve as a form of organic advertising that showcases your restaurant’s best assets – its food and beverages. Social media users already love sharing pictures of their dining adventures – use this behavior to your advantage.

Play by the Rules

Before your restaurant moves to the execution stage of any social media contest, check each platform’s competition guidelines. Facebook and Instagram enforce strict rules regarding accurate tagging in content – you can’t encourage users to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo. Twitter’s rulebook prohibits encouraging users to post duplicate (or near duplicate) updates or links. It’s a good idea to check out the guidelines periodically for updates and changes.

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