Being active on social media is an essential part of your marketing plan. But how do you reach users more effectively than your competitors? While creating quality content is a must, it is vital to build and engage your audience. Sweepstakes, contests and giveaways are increasingly popular among marketers who are vying for the attention of their social media audiences.

According to GMS Account Representative Marie Curren, “A social contest is valuable because it enables companies to directly engage with their customers, build brand presence, and ultimately sell more product.” Another advantage of these promotions is that they offer the opportunity to collect new content, such as testimonials or reusable fan photos that can be recycled into current content at a savings to the business. This in turn will lead the way to more interaction with your fans long after the contest has ended.

For our client Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, Caption the Coast is a popular contest in which GMS generates engagement through hashtag usage. We publish appealing beach-related photos on their social media sites, along with a caption request from the audience, and then a winner is randomly selected from captions that have included the official contest hashtag.



It’s simple to track a specific hashtag if you have the proper tools. GMS utilizes Simply Measured Software to program specific hashtags into the system. This allows us to measure the success of a particular campaign, as well as interest in a particular topic or event.

Promotion apps such as Woobox permit any size company to effectively create promotions to run on their social channels or websites. This built-in sharing tool is beneficial because participants are able to share a contest across all of their social networks. It can also garner entries from Instagram and Twitter by hashtag.

GMS uses Woobox to control and manage Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism sweepstakes such as Eat Your Way Around the Beach. This long-standing sweeps is more than just a contest. For fans of food and the beach, the main focus is on what to eat and where to dine on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Those wishing to participate can do so in three ways: 1. Submit an entry form with name and address; 2. Upload a pic of a favorite food/meal, add a caption, and fill out an entry form; and 3. Upload a recipe instead of a photo and send in an entry form.



Woobox is a tremendous help with recording names, mail and email addresses, and whether the person wants to subscribe to newsletters for future information. The program makes it possible to generate all of this data for several purposes such as indexing cities and states to further target customers, and tracking and notifying the winner.

Keep in mind that it’s easy to overlook something if you haven’t planned carefully. Optimizing your promotion with words like “giveaways,” “win” and “contest” is likely to engage users and ensure you will run a successful campaign.