Take your time.  Make sure when you start your competition that you have given yourself and others enough time to find, enter and market it. Don’t forget the purpose of the competition is to market your business.

Why do you want to run the competition? Is it to grow your Facebook likes, to launch a new product or service, or simply to create a buzz about your business?You need to understand what you’re trying to achieve so you can figure out who to target.

Follow the rules on whatever platform you choose to use.  Use an app if required. Here are a few that can be used successfully.

Rafflecopter
Rafflecopter is free and makes it simple to set up and launch a giveaway promotion. With Rafflecopter, you can embed an entry form on your site that incentives users to perform tasks in exchange for entries into a sweepstakes.

Binkd
Binkd is a complete Social Media Marketing Platform. It allows you to: – Run Social Media Contests – Digitise your customer rewards program – Use Social Media to communicate to your customers via EDM and SMS – Build powerful incentive programs – Use location check ins to add social media to your marketing mix.

ShortStack– This is a great app for creating all kinds of custom tabs and they have a sweepstakes entry widget that you can add.  The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create your entry form.

Woobox – A low-cost sweepstakes application that is easy to set up yourself.

EasyPromos – Your first contest is free with EasyPromos

Create a landing page. This can be your Facebook app landing page or a blog post or page on your website. The landing page should explain what the contest is about, how people can enter and also outline the rules. Here you’ll show the Terms & Conditions.

Draw attention. You can draw attention to your competition by offering a prize, the better the prize, the better the response. Can you get a few businesses to give you products for the competition? You can then bring them into the promotion too. Remember to offer something that is targeted to your market, you don’t want a thousand entries that result in no leads.

Leverage Partners. Marketing partners or sponsors can help expand the reach of your promotion and also help their promotions too. It can also offset costs with marketing and/or prizes.

Create an experience for entrants. Getting people to go beyond the ‘enter to win’ format not only can increase interest but it can also increase people to your website or Facebook page. Ask entrants to upload a picture and then get them to ask their friends to vote for them, the most votes wins. This has to be done off Facebook of course, but you can promote it via Facebook. What about a scavenger hunt?

Keep on promoting it. Competitions can lose steam after a week, so keep promoting it through your social networks, email database and any time you send communication. Tell people who is in the lead and how many votes, if applicable, they have. Prompt them to vote and get excited!

Automate for ease. Using an automation service such as HootSuite – Social Media Management for Business or scheduling posts on Facebook can save you a heap of time and make the whole process more professional. Here’s how to automate your posts on Facebook:

Draw the winner immediately. Draw the winner as soon as the competition closes. Contact the winner via email and ask permission to use their name on your website, in your newsletter and on your social networks. Once you have their permission, promote the winner to create buzz for as long as possible.

Send the prize. Now send out the prize as quickly as you can to keep the excitement of winning alive for the recipient. Doing this will enable a positive response to your business and professionalism. If they post a photo of their prize pin it on Pinterest and congratulate them.