Kick Off The Fall Semester With A Social Media Contest

The new semester is almost underway, and you’d love to find a way to get students more engaged with your library. Why not have a social media contest? Open up new avenues through which they can communicate with you, which you can also use to promote library events and resources throughout the year. Social Media contests are an easy way to reach a huge number of students, even on a limited (or nonexistent) budget.

Syracuse University enticed new followers with a reserved table for the last month of the semester.

Syracuse University enticed new followers with a reserved table for the last month of the semester.

Picking The Right Prize

Don’t stress thinking you need to break the bank offering an expensive prize to get students to participate. Sure you can offer up gift cards or gadgets, but you’ll probably have just as much success with any number of free things already in the building. The coolest prize we’ve come across is giving the winner their own VIP study room (usually during finals or midterms week). Get creative with services your library offers, and think about how to turn them into a prize with a little extra access or exclusivity.

Setting Up The Contest Rules

We can not overstate this: keep it simple. Remember that your goal is to get people to follow and engage with your page, so every nuance or hurdle you add is going to turn students away. Ask then to:

    1. Follow you, and
    2. Post something to your timeline or use a pre-determined hashtag

In fact, you can have an entire contest where you just select a follower at random (after making sure they’re still a student, of course). If you’re in a big crunch for time and don’t want to bother with anything else, just do that.

What they post can either be a response to a question (What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned in the library so far?), or a call for photos (Show us your favorite study nook). Have them post the pic to your timeline or tweet it with a hashtag (e.g. #UCLAlibraryselfie). We don’t recommend that you have other users “vote” for their favorite pic or answer by liking or retweeting people’s entries. It’s incredibly easy to cheat the system by setting up fake accounts, plus at various times that has been against Facebook’s terms of service. Which brings us to…

MacEwan Library allowed students to enter through FB and Twitter to maximize entrants.

MacEwan Library allowed students to enter through FB and Twitter to maximize entrants.

The Fine Print:

Here are the contest guidelines for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

This will vary based on what platform you’re using and what your contest involves, but basically, in addition to stating the prize and what students need to do to enter, make sure to say:

    • Who is or isn’t eligible (e.g. Only current students are eligible).
    • When the contest ends.
    • Absolve the platform of any future liability. Something along the lines of: This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By entering this contest entrants fully release Facebook from any liability.

Rather than trying to fit all of the above into individual tweets or posts, create an image for the contest and post that.

Good luck! And please feel free to hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with any questions!

About Author

duncan

duncan
Duncan is Credo's Social Media Specialist. He lives in Maine with his wife, daughter, and Boston terrier.

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