In the real estate business, drumming up exposure for your brand is the name of the game.

In the U.S. alone, real estate agents are competing in a field of over one million agents. If you want to ensure your brand stands out from the rest, you need to get creative in your marketing efforts.

This is where social media comes in.

When followers engage with one of your posts (i.e., they comment on, like, or share the post), most social media algorithms assume the followers enjoy your content and will make sure more of your future posts are seen on their news feeds. One way to build upon this engagement is by hosting contests on your social platforms.

Successful marketing campaigns often use contests on Facebook and Instagram to draw in engagements and boost brand visibility. If you want to get results with contest marketing for your real estate business, here’s what to know before you start.

The Set-Up

There are a variety of approaches to contest-based marketing. No matter what format you choose, there are steps you can take to set up your campaign for success.

Be sure to develop a well-thought-out strategy before starting any promotion. Think about what you want to accomplish from your campaign (likes, email subscribers, followers, etc.) and set your aim accordingly with a goal that’s challenging yet achievable. You can take this end goal into account when selecting a format for your contest, and after it’s finished, gauge whether your campaign was successful. When you have a detailed plan before clicking “Post,” you’ll be able to account for the most likely hiccups your contest may encounter.

You can also boost your efforts by enlisting a little help from your friends. Partnering up with another business in your community is a great way to boost credibility and exposure. Ask a respected local company to donate a prize to your giveaway and work together to score as many engagements as possible. You’ll both be increasing your fan base, and your brand will be more likely to be seen by someone looking to buy or sell a home.

Finally, consider your target audience when selecting an item to give away. Social media makes it easy to identify the likes and dislikes of your followers. If you choose a prize that your followers want or need, they’ll be more likely to throw their comments and likes into the ring.

Contest Marketing Ideas

Not sure where to start? Here are some contest ideas that regularly get results.

Basic Giveaways

It’s tough to turn down something that’s free.

There is no single right way to execute a giveaway successfully, so you can get as creative as you’d like. Facebook frowns on explicitly asking for likes or shares in exchange for entries, so you’ll need to craft your contest carefully.

You can start creating your giveaway by uploading a photo of the prize on your Facebook or Instagram page. Include details in your post like when the contest ends and how to enter. Feel free to use applicable hashtags to spread your post as far across social media as possible. Encourage your followers to share!

If you’re using Facebook to promote your giveaway, pin it to the top of your page’s timeline for maximum exposure. Click on the top right corner of your post, and select “Pin to page.” This will be the first thing seen by any visitors to your timeline until you choose to unpin it.

A popular approach to the straight-up giveaway method is to treat it like a raffle. Use a raffle tool to choose a winner (Woobox or Rafflecopter have great free options) on social media, and treat your followers to a gift certificate or local experience.

Games

Who says marketing can’t be fun?

Don’t be afraid to get a little playful on your social media page. Formatting your giveaway as a game is a great way to engage users in a way they’ll remember when the time comes to buy or sell a home.

Hashtag games are all the rage on Twitter, and you can use them on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social network that uses hashtags in its interface. The premise is similar to a caption contest combined with a word game.

To start a hashtag game, create a hashtag like #GoodReasonsToMove or #MyDreamHouseWouldHave, and select the platform that hosts most of your followers. Post an example of your own to get the ball rolling – in this case, it might be something like: “#MyDreamHouseWouldHave a retro 80’s arcade room! What would yours have?”

Instruct your followers to submit their entries with the hashtag, and include the cutoff date for submissions in your original post. Encourage your followers to get creative! The submission with the most likes wins.

Photo Contests

In contest marketing, a picture really can be worth a thousand words.

Photo contests are a consistently effective way to get your social media followers active on your page. They’re easy to host, fun to participate in, and incredibly sharable — all hallmarks of an ideal social media marketing campaign. Photo contests are a natural fit to promote activity on your Facebook and Instagram pages.

The simplest form of photo contest is a basic submissions based competition. Choose a subject for your followers to photograph, and invite them to share their own photos with a hashtag (just your brand name is fine here) for a chance at the prize. Be sure to include the rules in your post.  Let followers know when the contest ends, and clearly explain how to enter. Provide an example of your own in your post.

A few days before your contest is announced, post a photo of the chosen subject teasing something like, “Want to play a game? Check back on Friday for details!” Share this every day leading up to your contest to build hype and start your campaign off on the right foot.

Photo contests are a great fit for both Facebook and Instagram, and you can post your contest on both platforms (using the same hashtag) if you’re feeling ambitious. In the real estate business, you have the unique opportunity to treat this like a town-wide scavenger hunt by asking community members to submit photos of your business sign outside homes for sale.

No matter how you decide to format it, holding a contest on social media will increase engagements with your followers and promote your brand exposure. Your real estate business will be the real winner.