If you want to drive traffic to your website, facebook page, blog or via twitter and also create a buzz around your company, a competition is one way to go about it.  Like all Social Media Campaigns, first you need to get the marketing and content right and then run the competition. But how do you measure the ROI? After putting all the effort into a good promotion, you need to make sure that you  are getting the reach and the return.
There’s a great post in Social Media Examiner on measuring the success of your competition.  First decide what you actually want from your competition.  Is it to collect email addresses, new followers or referrals for future business or definite orders?  The Crate and Barrel example in the article shows a huge return, but if you use the same thinking and scale it down the same process can work for you.  The key is to make it engaging enough for people to want to share it around, thus driving the competitition outside the boundaries of your usual followers and customers.
In your marketing plan, make sure that you have a contingency if your competition is hijacked by a viral campaign. The clothing firm Next’s recent model competition went viral; however they have a contingency in place that a panel of judges picks the winner (and a savvy marketing team who will hopefully acknowledge the public result in one way or another.)  Work out every possible outcome and plan for it in a way that will please the viral voters (who are potential new customers) and genuine competition voters.
Take a look at how current online competitions are run. On Twitter it could be something as simple as a follow and a retweet to enter.  If that is the sort of competition you are running, make sure that the important part of the message is in capital initials (ie I’m using Saucy Horse for all my video for websites) as if your competition grabs enough entrants, the part in capitals may hit the Trending Topics box.  If you are aiming for Trending Topics via a hashtag, the hashtag must all be lower case and less that 20 characters  (#saucyhorsevideoshoot). For Facebook, it could be a like and a wall post; on your blog it could be “leave a comment”.  It doesn’t even have to be a big prize; if it’s fun and engaging it will pick up traffic. Target the prize at your required audience and customer base to ensure that you are not just picking up followers for followers sake and that the entrants are good solid leads.
Have you used competitions in this way?  Would you?