Managing Your Social Media Contest Using An Online Form Builder

Written by Formstack on May 6, 2011

Posted in Form Hacks, Lead Generation

Today we have a guest post from Chris Theisen, Digital Communication and Marketing Manager at Flex-Pac on running a contest through social media outlets using an online form builder.

Social media and online marketing are growing at an exponential rate these days. One of the best uses for social media and online marketing is to run a contest. Whether you are running a promotion to current customers, a product/service giveaway to attract new customers or using a contest to generate publicity, the key to a successful campaign is data management.

Benefits of using Formstack for your social media contest:

Data Gathering

Most social media contests/promotions fail in one major area, data gathering. Whether it be a simple “comment on x” Facebook post to win or tweet something and include a hashtag, companies rarely do a good job of gathering who enters and what they enter. Using an online form builder allows a company to gather information on who is entering, the social channels they frequent, and any other data they are interested in. Instead of losing the information of who is entering and interacting with your company, an online form allows for all of the info to be saved in the form’s database, saved via a Google Docs spreadsheet, or emailed to any address you choose.

Data Sharing

Do you have an internal marketing team working on your campaign? Are you an agency or boutique running a contest for a client? How do you keep everyone informed of whats going on? Currently, they have to visit the companies’ Facebook page wall or do a search for a Twitter hashtag to see the campaign results in real time. Using Formstack allows for the data gathered to be sent directly to a Google Docs spreadsheet upon submission of the form. Share the spreadsheet with anyone involved in the contest and you have a real time way to track entries and data gathered. You can also choose to share a link of the form’s database.

Social sharing

With the new Formstack/Twitter integration you can send a tweet upon the submission of a form. Sending a tweet containing the submitters Twitter handle (filled out during form entry) along with a link to the contest upon submission is a great way to generate extra publicity for your contest.

Lead Generation

Another major flaw of most online contests is the lack of a lead generation component. Most ‘comment on this’ or ‘tweet this’ contests/giveaways may generate more likes or followers but thats the extent of it. Anyone entering your contest is a qualified lead for your business. Regardless of the prize or your type of business, people that enter will more than likely not be interested in your product or service. Use the form to ask them qualifying questions (are you interested in receiving more info on our product/service) so you can follow up appropriately during and after the contest. Formstack allows you to use their Smart Routing feature to send the qualified leads submission and contact information to the appropriate personnel.

Follow Up

What do you do to let people know who won the contest? Do you only follow up with the winner? Do you thank the others for entering? Gathering the data via an online form allows for numerous follow up methods after the fact. Use Mailchimp or Constant Contact as your email service provider? Why not create a list of email addresses from the people who entered? How great would it be to craft one email follow up about your contest and have it go out to the entire database of entrants? If you gather Twitter handles you can send follow up tweets also.


Running a contest in accordance with Facebook’s Terms of Service can get expensive. Using a 3rd party app like Wildfire will allow for some data gathering but it comes at a price much higher than a monthly Formstack account. Run a contest on FB without a 3rd party app and run the risk of getting your business page pulled.

The solution is a Formstack form housed on your blog. By using your status update to promote a link to a contest housed outside of Facebook, you get around their Terms of Service while still leveraging the platform and your fans (yes fans, I will always call them fans). You can even embed your Formstack form on a tab within your Facebook page.

Example of a Contest Using An Online Form

Hopefully the above tips lead you to think twice about how you setup your next social media contest and consider using a Formstack form. If you are curious about seeing an example of the above in use visit The Race for real, simple video brought to you by 12 Stars Media. While you are there make sure and enter your favorite not for profit in the race!



During the day Chris Theisen is the Digital Communication and Marketing Manager at Flex-Pac. In his spare time he assists companies with their online contests and promotions. You can learn more about him and how to connect with him by visiting his profile.