About two weeks ago we launched an online sweepstakes via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Our Facebook presence was not significant and only few have “liked” our fan page. Twitter appears to be a more effective outlet for companies like Semify due to the line of work that we are in and the always evolving industry news. Promoting one’s company through social media outlets is not only beneficial, but viral.

Starting off an online contest can be slow, but once your contest post finds the right person, it’s smooth sailing from there. From experience, the sudden gush of online activity can be difficult to monitor, especially if you are not outsourcing to a tracking services company. A key to making sure that your contest is being well circulated throughout the social media community to re-post or re-tweet the information for winning; this will help increase the contest awareness. Social media “circles” are an extraordinary shape; the path that buzz creates is quite significant. For Facebook contests, having users both like the fan page as well as share the link both promotes the company through news feed updates. Sharing the contest link allows friends of a user to see the contest and further promote it through liking the page and sharing the link as well.

As for Twitter, the action of re-tweeting is viral in and amongst itself. If you re-tweet something on Twitter, it is considered an act of agreement and you want to share it with your followers in order to promote that idea, product, or service. Re-tweeting a post about a contest can really hit home for some online contests due to the large number of “contest followers” on Twitter. These individuals or groups are specifically on Twitter to enter contests/sweepstakes as well as encourage others to do so. Nevertheless, although you receive numerous re-tweets and followers, they may not always be relevant to your particular business. This is the part when you hope that these contest goers have connections to other professionals interested in your industry and line of business. However, there are loyal followers who will continue to tweet your subject relevant tweets as well as contest tweets.

The instant results that you receive from creating an online contest are great! You can easily increase your Facebook likes by 100% if you have a low number in the first place (low, meaning less than 100). You can have a larger fan base and more people can see what is happening at your company and information about the industry.

It is a good idea to continue to keep your followers engaged in your business; presenting followers with questions, mini contests, and interaction opportunities help encourage your followers to continue the interaction.

So remember, social media as the medium for contests is a great tactic and can substantially increase your company’s visibility and awareness amongst the world’s consumers. Oh, and you can give away great prizes like an iPad2--we’re doing it! Tweet on!